Iowa Child Newsletter
A Vision for Iowa’s Future
August 31, 2001
Over the past several weeks, much work has gone into further development of this exciting Iowa project. We want to keep you current on our progress and this monthly electronic newsletter will do that. Your comments and suggestions are important. To contact us, simply visit our web site at www.iowachild.org or call our Coralville office at 319-351-4400.
This is a very busy summer for our project. We have been revisiting every aspect of our vision to ensure that we “get it right.” We have been examining such aspects as the project’s size, scale, cost and content. This has been a comprehensive and substantial review and it will conclude in late August.
Over the past several months we have been talking to hundreds of area residents and civic leaders. People have shared great ideas for bringing this project to life. It has become apparent that we need a means for interested individuals to become local participants to this vision. We are in the process of creating an Iowa Child Community Advisory Council.
The purpose of this board will be to involve local leadership in the overall development of the project. These advisors will provide input concerning a wide range of issues as they relate to the project. Additionally, they will assist in furthering awareness of the project on the local and regional basis.
Some financial milestones of note have been achieved during the past few weeks.
Most notable were the announcements by Senator Harkin and Representative Ganske concerning the award of a grant of nearly $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to develop the educational component of the Iowa Child. The Iowa Child Educational Design Team has been tasked to further develop the overall curriculum objectives. This team of nationally known educational leaders, including Tom Switzer and Sandra Damico, Deans of the University of Northern Iowa and University of Iowa Colleges of Education, will meet in the near future to develop a comprehensive educational curriculum for our project. We greatly appreciate the active support of for this grant by Senator Harkin and Senator Grassley.
In late June, the City of Coralville and the Iowa Child officials confirmed that they are jointly developing application for the Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) fund for immediate financing of some of the project’s development costs. Since the project is undergoing extensive review and development, we are not in a position to apply for Vision Iowa funds at this time. We will aggressively pursue such funding in the future.
Learning from other projects
“Look at how others have turned visionary dreams into reality.” We have heard messages like that from a number of our project’s supporters. Over the past six weeks members of the team have made three visits to projects of similar nature to the Iowa Child.
In June, a group visited the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. Those on the trip included, Iowa Child board Chairman Governor Robert Ray, directors David Oman and Ted Townsend, and Iowa Child staffer Sheila Boyd. Also on the trip were Coralville Mayor Jim Fausett and Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth.
The Tennessee Aquarium is the largest freshwater aquarium in the world. Built with private contributions and some state dollars, this non-profit educational organization is dedicated to the understanding, conservation and celebration of aquatic habitats. Created by the same architectural team that is developing the Iowa Child, the success and impact of this project is a source of inspiration to our project. You can find out more about the Tennessee Aquarium by visiting their web site at www.tennis.org.
Additionally, Governor Ray, David Oman, Ted Townsend and Kelly Hayworth visited EPCOT at Walt Disney World in Orlando in late May. As a direct result of this visit, a representative from Disney will be joining our Educational Design Team, bringing both scientific and the educational attraction experience that has been pioneered by Disney.
In early July, Iowa Child Institute Vice Chairman, David Oman visited The Eden Project in Cornwall, in Southeast England, while on a family vacation. With a vision to introduce visitors to 4,000 plant species from around the world, the Eden Project has dramatically achieved its mission to “promote the understanding and responsible management of the vital relationship between plants, people and resources, leading towards a sustainable future for all.” The project attempts to instill an overpowering environmental ethic among all who spend time at their site.
The project showcases a variety of plants including cocoa, coffee and rubber from the rainforest, demonstrating man’s reliance on that natural wonder for a many essentials of modern living. The Washington Post called the Eden Project ” the Eighth wonder of the world.” It was profiled in the Sunday New Your Times on July 22.
The Eden Project includes a 3.7-acre rainforest dome or biome. It was built for approximately $120 million U.S. dollars. The project was constructed with the active support of the British government. Funding from the British Lottery provided 50% of the cost of the project. The project was expected to draw 750,000 visitors annually. Since opening in March of this year, the project is on pace to attract 1.2 million visitors in its first year of operations.
The results have been spectacular and the project is an overwhelming early success. According to David Oman, “The Eden Project makes a dramatic and bold statement about our relationship with the natural environment. Importantly, it provides another positive indication that our project, done correctly, can have similar impact. The Iowa Child project will be able to gain significant knowledge by studying the path the Eden Project took for its development.”
Explore The Eden Project by visiting their web site www.edenproject.com.
Work has been continuing on the development of our project “footprint” and the further refinement of the look, atmosphere and internal workings of the Iowa Child facility. We have been examining multiple “eco-systems” being a part of our project inside and out. We will present our revised plans to the community in late August. A significant part of our project review has been analysis of the comments received from the community and project supporters across Iowa. Your input is valuable to us. Please continue to send us your ideas.
A Vision for Our Future
With the goal of creating a major, educationally enriching attraction, the Iowa Child project envisions the world’s largest environmentally-oriented learning environment. At its heart, the Iowa Child project is about learning created via the learning environment. By using a number of natural environments, the project will develop a learning laboratory for visitors, students, researchers and teachers. It will not be like any other botanical attraction or museum because it will be designed for “participatory” interaction, not passive viewing. This learning environment will bring the rainforest, the aquatic world and all the natural wonders of the earth to anyone within its walls.
June 26, 2002 >| March 14, 2002 >| January 25, 2002 >| December 5, 2001 >
November 1, 2001 >| October 8, 2001 >| August 31, 2001 >
The Institute is a non-profit development group established to further the goals of the environmental learning project. The Board of the Institute includes 18 prominent business, civic and educational leaders.
Iowa Child Board Members
Robert D. Ray, Chairman; Steve Alford; Thomas Aller; Robert Burnett; Richard Canella; Ronald S. Fielder; Jolene Franken; Hayden Fry; B.J. Furgerson; Joe Hladky; Dr. Stanley R. Johnson; Dr. Norm Nielson; David Oman; Merlin Plagge; Robert D. Ray; W. Ward Reynoldson; Richard M. Ryan, Jr.; David J. Skorton; Dr. Thomas J. Switzer; Ted Townsend; Paula Vincent.
Iowa Child Staff
David Oman, Vice Chairman
Jane VanVoorhis, Director of Grant Development
Sheila Boyd, Director of Community Relations
Irv Jensen, Communications Consultant
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