Inman says goodbye to INHF

HannahIowa Natural Heritage Foundation Director of Communications Hannah Inman announced May 4 that she was leaving INHF at the end of the month to spend more time with her family and help with their family business. Inman had been with INHF since 2011, and she has become an integral part of the Iowa conservation community over the last four years. Her work with the foundation included overseeing a redesign of Iowa Natural Heritage magazine and the launch of the first-of-its-kind Iowa By Trail app. Inman wrote the following about her departure:

In my first few weeks of working at Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, I took a trip to one of our properties in northeast Iowa. As I hiked the property with Brian Fankhauser, our Blufflands Director, the mission of INHF moved from words said to words felt.

As I stood up on the bluff overlooking the winding Upper Iowa River, deer ran through the newly restored woodland while an immature bald eagle and its parent flew below me. A deep peace came over me and it was in that moment that I knew my purpose was to help protect these places for the voiceless — for those that long ago loved this place, for those that will love this land and for the many other species that call this place home. I needed to be a voice and steward for our home — for our land, water, wildlife and future generations.

Over the last four years, working at INHF, I have been able to do that. I am incredibly proud and humbled with the work we have done together. We redesigned Iowa Natural Heritage magazine, launched the Iowa by Trail app, witnessed an inspiring transition between foundation presidents, celebrated 35 great years of impactful work, passed the Polk County Water and Land Legacy Bond and have made great strides in funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. But probably the most inspiring part of this work was being part of a team of the most dedicated, caring, hardworking, passionate people I have ever met.

The decision to leave was not an easy one. But this transition is made easier knowing that because of INHF, I can continue to fulfill my purpose through supporting their work. So as I move from employee to volunteer, I want to say thank you to all the members, donors, board and staff for letting me be a small part of the tremendous legacy we are building together through the Foundation.

Hannah Inman

Inman’s last day was May 31. Effective today, June 1, Joe Jayjack will be interim director of communications. Jayjack has been a communications specialist with INHF for the last six months.

Why young professionals care

Iowa is the most developed state in the nation.  Due to expanded agricultural and urban development, the pressure on our land in Iowa is about as intense as all the political ads come October in an election year.  Yet, it seems like traditional establishments care less and less about conservation issues.  You hear less about it political rhetoric, and a tired manufactured empirically disproven jobs vs. environment myth is rolled out.

Yet, young professionals inherently understand conservation is an important value that speaks to our generation and the life we want to live. Look at San Francisco and Austin – vibrant economies that attract young people centered around rich natural resources and a community that values them.  We understand that conservation is good for our economy and attracts members of the start-ups and tech class to not only begin their companies here in Iowa but to stay.  Iowa is a good place to do business, raise a family and has a good quality of life that is due to conservation and community building trails.

The generations that came before laid a good foundation in conservation.  Now is the crucial time to not only maintain and prevent a loss in the advancement of these values we hold dear, but to move it forward.

The Polk County Water and Land Legacy Bond will be an interesting test of not only these values, but our generation’s place in affecting an election.  This bond, which is on the general election ballot in Polk County, provides funding for already well planned out conservation projects by Polk County Conservation Board.  This non-partisan, $50 million bond over 20 years would cost the average Polk County homeowner less than $9 a year.  Projects would help improve water quality, expand habitat and green space for flood prevention and wildlife, and parks and trails.

A group of young professionals in Polk County feels passionate about this bond and the values it brings to the community, so they have organized in this generation’s iconic fashion.  You can learn a little more formally about them here, but if you really want to know more about them, come by tonight at Sbrocco, where Scott Siepker of Iowa Nice fame will be talking about the bond, where donations will be taken with Dwolla and some of the young leaders will be sharing in real-time both face to face and through social media channels, why conservation matters not just to us, but to all Iowans.

For our generation understands that the question is not if we should care for our environment, but how.  And it is clear that now is the time to take a stand for our land, water and wildlife. We have the rare opportunity to define our generation’s legacy, not just for today, or tomorrow, but for our children’s children.  For long after we are gone, we will not be defined by the money we have made or the buildings we have built, but by the water our grandchildren drink, play and bathe in.