Profiles in Conservation

Building Community Through Education and Engagement


Founder, Iowa Rivers Revival

IRR co-founder and chair of the River Town of the Year Committee, Robin Fortney talks about how Iowa Rivers Revival got its start as she embarks on a journey to Dyersville – our recipient of the 2023 River Town of the Year Award! 


Polk Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner

Lee’s story highlights land conservation best practices on Tesdell Century Farm. Lee employs a variety of practices including no-till, cover crops, grass waterways, and a bioreactor.

Over the years, Lee has led efforts with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to implement environmentally friendly conservation practices that improve water quality and decrease flooding.


President, Drake Environmental Action League

Jenna is the President of the Drake Environmental Action League (DEAL) at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Jenna is passionate about environmental justice and leads her student organization to do engagement events during Earth Week to bring awareness to issues relating to water quality.


President, Des Moines Rowing Club

Jeff highlights the critical impact organizations like the Des Moines Rowing Club can play in raising awareness of conservation efforts in Iowa.


Board Member, Iowa Environmental Council

IEC Board Member and longtime paddle leader in Iowa, Justyn has attended an ACA LEAD Program here in Iowa that IRR has hosted and is stepping up to showcase how water trails positively impact mental health in Iowa.


Owner of Beyer’s Bees

Jamie Beyer, owner of Beyer’s Bees, has lived in central Iowa all his life. Growing up in Jefferson Iowa, Jamie then moved to Ames and attended Iowa State University and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Fish and Wildlife Biology. Jamie has paddled the Racoon River his whole life and even made his own canoe by hand.


Easter Lake Watershed Coordinator

Cody is the Easter Lake Watershed Coordinator and is passionate about water quality, especially relating to thinking upstream at Easter Lake. Cody was inspired to create the first BMP Fair and clean up this Spring that highlights the environmentally friendly way we can work to improve water quality with contractors.


Polk County Water Resources Supervisor

John is the Water Resources Supervisor for Polk County. John is instrumental in Polk County’s ‘batch & build’ program that he created and has walked almost every stream in the county. John is a champion for the Service Squad program and has been heavily engaged in water quality issues for over 10 years in Iowa.


Conservation Ecologist at Polk County Conservation

Amanda is a Conservation Ecologist at Polk County Conservation. She was also the previous Watershed Coordinator for Fourmile Creek. Amanda is a driven conservation professional with over 6 years of experience working towards restoring and protecting our natural resources.


Director of River Programs, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Nate is the Director of River Programs for the Iowa DNR, and is a founding member of IRR. As a team leader, Nate oversees diverse efforts, including river science, survey, construction, grant administration, data and mapping services, and program planning. Nate is the author of The Guidebook, Paddling Iowa.


Member, Clive City Council

Susan Judkins is on the Clive City Council and currently works as Client Development Director for RDG Planning and Design, a firm with expertise in architecture, landscape architecture, planning, interiors, art, and water resources. She launched the state’s successful Vision Iowa program, advising communities on project financing, and guiding the passage of critical legislation following Iowa’s 2008 floods.


Director of Philanthropy, Des Moines Playhouse

Ryan is the past president of the board of Polk County Conservation and the Director of Philanthropy at the Des Moines Playhouse. Ryan was instrumental in helping get the 2021 Polk County Water & Land Legacy bond passed that raised $65M for conservation and water quality over the next 10 years.


Water Resources Outreach Coordinator, Polk County Public Works

Cassie is the Water Resources Outreach Coordinator for Polk County Public Works. Cassie is also the new manager of the Rain Campaign. The Rain Campaign was launched in 2019 as a localized effort across the Des Moines metro to inspire residents, businesses, and municipalities to manage stormwater runoff in a better way.

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