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Reflections Materials
Project Update 8.17.07

Project Update 9.16.07

Project Update 1.1.08

Memorable Quotes

Interview Summaries

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.”

The mission 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.


    Louisa 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 


Mallory Smith

Executive Director, Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation


Verl Lekwa

Project Scholar, Reflections of Louisa Resource Area

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.