Rain forest right for Iowa

Chris Koeppel

Letters, The Daily Iowan

September 24, 2004, p. 6A

Growing up in Iowa, the state slogan was, "Iowa: A place to grow." As a kid I didn't think much of it, dismissing it as something related to the many farmers here. In reality, it can mean many things.

I was born and raised in Iowa. I enjoyed a good education, a strong sense of community, and vast amounts of beautiful land that seemed untouched by overpopulation and big-city living. We breathe fresh air, have fertile land, and everything around us is green.

Not long ago, I heard about plans to build a world-class rain forest and aquarium in Coralville. Of course, this project has sparked my interest, and I have been watching the progress on this project with excitement. Until now, I figured that I would never live in Iowa again after moving away. My children would not experience the same wonderful childhood I had experienced growing up here. I am excited that I have the opportunity to move back to Iowa and still be able to pursue my career, but more importantly, have the opportunity to share my passion and knowledge about reptiles and amphibians with my fellow Iowans.

Still, there are some Iowans who don't understand why we should build a rain forest here. I say to them, how could you not? Iowa has some of the most fertile land in America. We are the top producers in the United States of soybeans, eggs, corn, and hogs. We thrive off of our land. So what better place to educate people about different ecosystems than here? Not only is this project going to educate people about the importance of rain forests, it will also have interactive galleries about the indigenous Iowa prairie, geology, and food production of the world.

Iowa's new slogan is "Fields of Opportunity." This rain forest will not only bring people such as me back to Iowa, but millions of people will come to Iowa to visit the rain forest and spend their money here.

Chris Koeppel
Carter Lake, Iowa, resident