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Rain Forest for Science

Gary Frost

Daily Iowan

September 7, 2005

[Note: This material is copyright by the Daily Iowan, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Daily Iowan.]

A proposed environmental education center for Coralville could still work if shifted in focus to present the vast variety and importance of ecological transitions that distinguish Iowa. From tropical rain forest to inland ocean and from glacial ice fields to rolling prairies, Iowa is one long ecological adventure. And a giant ground sloth has just been discovered in Iowa!

These dramatic ecological transitions continue in Iowa. The proposed learning center could focus on the recently discovered first Iowa farm site and its immense importance for the advent of agriculture and global economies. Students could learn of the contrasts between sustainability and use of our natural resources. They could navigate the online world of Iowa discoveries in the natural sciences and archaeology, walk the long walk of Iowa prehistory with Native Americans, and learn the skills of early Iowa settlers. Students could then step outside into an Iowa prairie restoration and listen to the rumble of 18-wheelers on nearby I-80 as Iowa truck drivers sustain our contemporary economies.

This all-Iowa learning center has potential both for education and tourism. But, another momentum for such a center would be the enthusiasm and advisory skills of experts and their research collections at the UI.

Gary Frost

UI employee