Indoor rain forest will be boon for region

Mehmet Serdaroglu


Daily Iowan

September 13, 2004

An indoor rain forest known as the Iowa Environmental Project will soon be constructed in Coralville. This unique facility will not only be a tourist attraction, it will also be a center for education, culture, and research activities and will have positive economical and social effects on the daily lives of Iowans. The project will especially offer great opportunities to students and researchers in the environmental sciences and related disciplines.

Before I joined the community advisory board of the project, I met with David Oman, the director, and Peter Sollogub, the chief architect, to learn more about it. After our discussion, they gave a presentation to the faculty and students at the UI College of Engineering. I was impressed with the presentation and convinced that this project would create many opportunities for both college students and researchers. When completed, students will gather from all over the country to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for a greener environment. Academic conferences and symposiums will be organized on environmental topics. In a short time, Iowa will have a historic opportunity to be the capital of the green design, renewable energy, and environmental studies.

The Eden Project in England, which has concepts similar to Coralville project, has made significant contributions to the academic world by supporting educational and environmental studies. The Iowa Environmental Project will have the same huge effect on the region, making remarkable contributions to science and education. I am optimistic about the future of this project and tremendously excited for the grand opening day. When a visitor asks me if this is heaven after seeing the indoor rain forest, I will reply, "No. It's Iowa."

Mehmet Serdaroglu
UI doctoral student