ExCom Candidate Statements 2023

Below are the candidate statements for ICEC’s Executive Committee nominees for the 2023-2025 term. ICEC’s members are asked to review the statements.

All members in good standing are eligible to vote and will receive the voting link via the November newsletter and follow-up email. If you are a current member (paid annual or Life) and did not receive the newsletter or email, please contact us exec@iowaee.org. We likely do not have a current email address for you!

Voting runs November 1 through November 30, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.

Louis Beck

LouisFrom an early age, I developed an active interest in our natural resources and the outdoors. Growing up in rural Iowa on a diversified crop and livestock farm, and vacationing like many rural families at our park systems, I developed a deep appreciation of our soils, climate, and recreational opportunities. My interest was encouraged by teachers. In particular, my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Edyth Hill, who was passionate about outdoor Iowa, often took our class to the woods behind her home and led other activities centered on natural resources.

When I began my teaching career in Agricultural Education, the majority of my recertification credits were in the area of natural resources. I developed and taught Natural Resources classes which led to involving my FFA members in Iowa Envirothon competitions.

Besides being an educator, I continue to be involved in a farming operation. with the assistance of governmental agencies such as the NRCS and FSA, Soil, water, and wildlife conservation practices are used and valued on all of the acres under my control.

I believe my experiences both as an educator and farmer along with my interest in conservation bring a unique perspective to the Executive Committee of the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition.

Heather Gamm

HeatherHi! My name is Heather Gamm. I have been in the environmental education field for 23 years. I worked in Boone County for 2.5 years as a naturalist/park ranger and I have been in Bremer County for over 21 years as the Environmental Education Coordinator/Naturalist.

I was on the Midwest Environmental Education Conference (MEEC) planning committee for Decorah in 2021. I completely enjoyed working with other members of ICEC on that committee and that is what propelled me to apply for ICEC ExCom. I have been a member of the Iowa Association of Naturalists since I became a full-time naturalist in 1999. I was on the IAN ExCom from 2004- 2007. I have been a member of the National Association for Interpretation since 2001. I have planned conferences for the 2002 national conference in Des Moines and I helped plan the regional NAI conference in Ames in 2015.

I feel like I would be a good candidate because I am willing to do a variety of things and I would love to work more closely with teachers and other naturalists. I am also very organized. Thanks for your consideration!

Clark Porter

ClarkI was honored and enthused to be nominated for a role with the ICEC Executive Committee. We have entered the Anthropocene era and the unprecedented decisions it will demand. We have to determine how to sustain ourselves without exploiting our planet and its limited resources. I am excited to have an opportunity to assist educators as they equip young people for these challenges.

I currently work on water quality projects as an Environmental Specialist for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. I also manage my family’s farm, where we employ multiple conservation methods from no-till to cover crops. However, I spent a good part of my adult life as an educator. I earned a Ph.D. In Social Foundations of Education at the University of Iowa. I have worked as a school psychologist, classroom teacher, and adjunct university instructor. As a conservation professional, practitioner, and former teacher, I believe I can bring multiple perspectives to the table.

I am willing and able to serve in a variety of capacities on the ICEC Executive Committee. I believe I would be of most assistance through evaluating curricula, writing, editing, and facilitating professional communication. I am a proponent of experiential education, and conservation education is a natural fit for this instructional philosophy. I have experience writing curricula. A friend and I published Make Up Your Mind (Prufrock Press, 2011), a curriculum book for gifted educators on intellectual dilemmas that continue to influence our thinking and our society.

I am not new to committees, managerial decisions, and leadership roles. I was the Executive Director of a nonprofit supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. I served on the Board for Exceptional Persons Inc., a nonprofit offering services for people with cognitive disabilities and mental illness. I also founded a coalition for a local watershed.

Today, we face existential threats from the consequences of our exploitive behavior. Education will play a crucial role in reshaping our relationship with the natural world, our resources, and our communities. I would enjoy sharing this message and being a part of what your organization offers.

Samuel Taylor

SamuelI am fervently passionate about educating the public on environmental issues.

I am a Master’s candidate in the Earth & Environmental Sciences department at the University of Iowa. My work focuses on wildfires in Southern California, and the debris flows that initiate due to hydrophobic soils. This research combines fluvial geomorphology, hyperspectral remote sensing, lidar, and radar precipitation data. I have also completed a project on local climate change in nine Iowa cities and Santa Barbara, California. This work included developing python programming to access NOAA’s API and processing publicly available weather data.

My work has a second essential focus, communicating scientific information to the public through storytelling. There is a divide between the general public and science. The best way to bridge it is not through more graphs, data, and scientific committees but through effective communication, education, and community building. I have presented work at academic conferences, and I have also presented the very same information at bars. To effectively conserve our planet, we must create strong interdisciplinary connections in our communities. Developing a well-informed general population drives my passion for continuing in the sciences.

I have talked to farmers about their fields and yields, worked with industry to certify a company up to ISO 9001 (good practices) & 14001 (environmental management system) spec, and now have the incredible opportunity to work under brilliant academics in the environmental & sustainability sciences. Research is necessary, but I believe that research, for its own sake, is a lost opportunity and must be communicated to the public. I wish for more chances to connect with the general population, to develop opportunities to create community, and, most importantly, to develop effective long-term change.

I am young, only twenty-five, but I believe I can effectively serve the ICEC and improve under the tutelage of experienced board members.