View of Raccoon River from Whiterock Conservancy. Photo: Penny Perkins.
Chris Henning is a landowner and crop-share farmer in Greene County just east of Squirrel Hollow park on the Raccoon. Since the ‘93 Floods in the Watershed, Chris and her farmer/operator have transformed her farms into examples of sustainability - incorporating prairie wetlands and stream buffers with crop rotations, cover crops and minimum tillage to protect the water and build soil. Chris is 2020 RRWA Chair, an active member of Women, Food and Ag Network, and a Cover Crop Champion for the National Wildlife Federation.
Christine Curry is a passionate advocate for animals, nature, people, art, and the environment. Christine is a committed project and product developer and a creative problem solver. Christine’s contributions include establishing internationally recognized marine and sustainable ag programs and organizations. She is currently working with others to build viable networks and coordinate strong partnerships in Iowa and beyond to achieve clean water, healthy soil, and food.
Kristen Bieret is the naturalist for Carroll County Conservation. Kristen has been an informal educator for over 10 years. She strives to create opportunities for those in her watershed to learn more about the water in their backyards both for recreation and keeping the watershed healthy.
As a boy growing up in Indiana and Michigan, Bob spent countless days on Lake May in northern lower Michigan, learning about frogs and toads - swimming and fishing. Although trained as a science/math teacher, nature grabbed him to work - 22 years as Springbrook Education Center administrator, and in his retirement travel to 50 states and 38 countries abroad with friends, his camera at hand, documenting cultures, birds, animals and activities. In his spare time during 2020, Bob logged 14,000 miles on his BMW RT motorcycle and added to thousands of photos in his collections.
Craig Fleishman is a 5th generation farmer who farms 150 acres west of Minburn. He has reduced inputs by using cover crops, ridge till and non GMO beans. He has some prairie restoration and prairie potholes on his century farm.
Elizabeth Partridge Blessington has a B.A. in Sociology. After working in the human services
field for several years she joined the family transportation company, MoveIt in Breda, IA. A
resident of Sac County, she enjoys birding and exploring along the Raccoon River and other
wild areas. She and her husband recently placed 120 acres of farmland into a prairie pollinator
program. A member of the RRWA since 2008, she is also on the Sac County Conservation
Columnist and photographer
Ray Harden, an educator by training and experience, and a writer and photographer of the birds, wildlife and natural resources in our Raccoon River Watershed.
Ray taught in the Perry Schools, and then Environmental Science at DMACC in Boone, and William Penn University in WDM after retiring from Perry. His outdoors/nature columns in the Perry Chief newspaper were always interesting and enjoyed great readership. We enjoy his observations and articles - and photos - of the Raccoon River Watershed!
Ray says: "I have always been interested in nature and outdoor activities. After I retired I took up birding in a big way. Margaret put down her garden trowel and joined me in this hobby. We both enjoy birding and photography. We have been fortunate to travel to many places around the world and the United States looking for interesting birds."
David Courard-Hauri has been at Drake since the fall of 2000, and currently serves as Director of the
Environmental Science and Policy Program. He has co-authored a series of three environmental science
textbooks, and has published modeling work in fields as diverse as carbon sequestration, butterfly
movement, cell-signaling, and the psychological drivers of overconsumption. His current research focus
is in the field of ecological economics, where he has challenged conventional metrics in benefit-cost
analysis using agent-based modeling, monte carlo simulations and survey instruments. He teaches a
range of courses at Drake, including introductory environmental science, climate change, quantitative
methods in environmental choice, environmental modeling, and ecological economics.
Mike Delaney was one of the eight founders of the North Raccoon River Watershed Association along with: Pete Harris, Mary Hays, Jim Riggs, Doug Steele, Jim Thomas, Gary Tichener, and Larry Wilson in March of 2005 in the Dallas Center Library. The name was changed to Raccoon River Watershed Association after a meeting with the Middle Raccoon River group. Mike came to Iowa to teach sociology at DMACC after serving in the Peace Corps and graduate work. He noticed degradation of the North Raccoon River as it ran through his farm in Dallas County. He joined with neighbors and friends to form the RRWA. He served the RRWA as president, board member, and lobbyist. He currently edits the RRWA newsletter and Facebook Page. He enjoys his off-grid cabin in a restored woodland overlooking 20 acres of prairie and the Raccoon River.
Robin Fortney has a BS degree in Biology and worked for MidAmerican Energy for 36 years, primarily as a senior environmental analyst. She helped found Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge & Prairie Learning Center in 1993; Central Iowa Paddlers in 1997; As a founding board member of Iowa Rivers Revival, Robin initiated IRR’s Master River Steward program and IRR’s River Rascal program to connect kids and rivers. She explores and photographs public lands in the Raccoon River watershed and across Iowa.
Michael Murphy, Treasurer. My upbringing in western Iowa instilled in me a deep respect for nature and a great love of outdoor activities such as gardening, camping, fishing and paddling. I went to college and law school in Iowa City and worked my subsequent career as a government attorney in Des Moines, primarily with the IDNR in the environmental protection programs. In my retirement for 15+ years I have stayed active in water quality issues, which led me to the RRWA.
Karen is a lifelong resident of Polk County, Iowa. She has been involved in environmental citizen advocacy for the past twenty years, most recently working with Tree Keepers to help plant and maintain trees in Polk County. Her goal is a healthy environment for generations to come.
A Greene County Native, Tanner earned his bachelor’s degree in forestry from ISU. He
served as the Conservation Manager of Boone County for several years prior to taking
on the role of Greene County Conservation Director. In his role, Tanner is passionate
about updating and improving county parks and natural resource restoration. Tanner is also participating in the RRWA “Save Squirrel Hollow” water testing using the Izaak Walton League Save Our Streams protocols in Greene County.
Jennifer is a Natural Resources Biologist in the Watershed Improvement Section of the Iowa DNR. In the past, she worked on determining the causes of biological impairments. She now coordinates the
monitoring contracts and data management for the DNR sponsored watershed improvement projects. Her area of expertise is freshwater mussels. She has worked on everything from fish host studies for several species of mussels, to surveys to determine distributions and densities of mussels, translocations of mussels, and developing new methods for tagging and recapturing mussels using Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags.
Tipton Prairie Committee Chair