Big Trees Innovation Fund

Planting the seeds of conservation education

The Iowa Conservation Education Coalition has a long history of advancing excellence in conservation education in Iowa. Our success is due in no small part to the work and commitment of a long list of passionate educators and advocates that have made incredible impact through the power of conservation education. We think of these leaders as our “Big Trees,” whose work and encouragement “plant” new leaders and inspire action, just as big oaks nurture new generations of trees.

In light of Duane Toomsen’s passing in November of 2017, ICEC developed the Big Trees Innovation Fund. Duane’s impact on conservation education in Iowa cannot be overstated. As the Environmental Education Consultant at the Department of Education for 34 years, Duane was a pillar of our community and directly impacted the lives of thousands of educators and students. He was instrumental to the passage of the Resource Protection and Enhancement Act (REAP) and, in 1998, was the first recipient of the IAN-ICEC Aldo Leopold Award for Lifetime Achievement in Environmental Education Excellence and Leadership.

The purpose of the Big Trees Innovation Fund is to honor the legacy of the Big Trees, such as Duane, while providing for the future of conservation education in our state. In that spirit, the fund will be used to expand and enhance conservation education across Iowa, fostering new growth through innovative projects and outreach efforts. If you are honoring a Big Tree with your donation, please share who it is when you make your donation and we will add them to the list on the right!

The Big Trees of our past have grown ICEC into what it is today. Now, through contributions in their honor, we will plant the seeds that will become the future of conservation education in Iowa. Thank you for supporting our efforts.

ICEC Fundraising to Support Teachers on Vimeo.

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