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ICEC holding Winter Workshop in Marshalltown

Focusing on natural phenomena

The Winter Workshop for the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition takes place Jan. 24-25. The theme is “Iowa’s PHENOMENAL Natural Resources” — focusing on the natural phenomena in the state and how it can be used to help environmental education.

The ICEC is an educational organization which endeavors to help educators teach Iowa’s youth about the environment and provide space for educators to “learn, build relationships, and creatively collaborate” according to its website.

The workshop will be held at the Marshalltown Community College, and will bring in educators from all over the state at every level from pre-K to grade 12. This year’s keynote speaker is Tiffany Morgan of Iowa Public Television.

Iowa Valley Community College District Business Outreach/Conference Center Coordinator Val Ruff said it was an honor for the ICEC to make Marshalltown its home this year.

“The IVCE is thrilled the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition chose to host this two-day Winter Workshop here in Marshalltown,” Ruff said. “We know we can provide the statewide attendees with a great facility that is centrally located with a conference center and break out rooms, state of the art audiovisual equipment, ample restrooms and parking at no charge.”

The program will also bring a focus to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiatives, Ruff said, with event instructors getting continuing education credits at the event.

According to an agenda for the event, it will be split into two days with multiple morning and afternoon sessions on Friday the 24th and morning sessions on Saturday the 25th.

Barb Gigar, a planning committee member for the workshop and Department of Natural Resources employee, said the planning for the event began in August.

She said there’ll be a fun finale to a long Friday of teaching at the conference.

“It’s all about the notion of phenomena,” Gigar said. “We’ll be doing a field investigation [Friday] afternoon to develop observation skills and then we’ll use what we’ve learned to make a game.”

Gigar added that Saturday morning will include the ICEC’s annual conference and the results of a study looking at the status of conservation education in the state. She said it involves so many different areas, and there are challenges to it but there’s also “great opportunity.”

Andrew Potter, the Marshalltown Director of Tourism, said it was important for Marshalltown to host events like this.

“We always like to draw in visitors to Marshalltown,” he said.

Potter said making Marshalltown “a center for learning” is important to the city’s impact in Central Iowa.

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Contact Noah Rohlfing at 641-753-6611 or nrohlfing@timesrepublican.com