Renewed Funding from Humanities Iowa!
Humanities Iowa, the state affiliate of the
National Endowment for the Humanities, awarded $7,000 to the
Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation for a project to collect and
preserve the stories of the Louisa Resource Area. The grant was
one of 17 totaling more than $160,000 awarded at the recent HI
board meeting in Ames.
This is the second major grant in three
years for the Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation for the
project, known as “Reflections of Louisa Resource Area
Outreach.” Two years ago, the organization received a grant to
collect, process and share the stories of residents of the
Louisa Resource Area, a region that covers 15,000 acres at the
confluence of the Cedar, Iowa and Mississippi rivers.
So far, 17 stories have been collected,
recorded and edited. They also have been transformed into a
PowerPoint presentation that the conservation foundation or
Tri-Rivers has presented to area groups. Kathy Vance, who has
conducted many of those interviews, said that she has learned a
lot about the history of the area as well as its geography.
“I learned that when you fly over the place
where the Iowa and Cedar Rivers come together, you can tell
which is which for miles downstream,” Vance said. “One is
muddier than the other, so there is a distinct line. I was also
amazed to learn about how many birds, plants and trees are
indigenous to this area.”
The second grant to the LRA will help
collect more of those stories. It also will help with the
collection of photos and the digitization of the project.
Project director Mallory Smith said that will help them reach
more people by getting “Reflections” online. “This is such an
emotional project,” Smith said. “Many of these stories are about
family history and family traditions.” Smith added that getting
these stories online will help those stories reach more people.
HI executive director Christopher Rossi
said that oral history projects are a terrific way to preserve
the stories of the past. “Oral histories present a very personal
perspective on the past,” Rossi said. “It is important to
collect as many of those stories while we can.”
of Humanities Iowa is to promote understanding and appreciation
of the people, communities, cultures, and stories of importance
to Iowa and the nation.
Through this endeavor we seek to document the emotional and
historical connections people have to the Louisa Resource Area. We
will do this by collecting and sharing interviews, photographs,
prose and poetry that document the social significance of the
beautiful natural areas in Louisa County. Our goal is broad
community participation. As a volunteer or interviewee, you
might fulfill a vital role in the success of this project by
helping with interviews, serving as a translator, helping with
presentations or completing clerical tasks. Please contact us if
you are interested in being involved.
County Conservation Board (LCCB)
Louisa County Extension
Louisa County Historical Society (LCHS)
Louisa County Historic
Preservation Commission (LCHPC)
Bill Aspelmeier, retired Iowa DNR
Frank Best, LCHS
Julie Ohde, LCCB
Kathy Vance, Audio recorder and editor
Verl Lekwa, Project Scholar
Mallory Smith, Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation
Executive Director, Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation
Project Scholar, Reflections of Louisa Resource Area