Friday, May 31, 2013

Iowa's Connection to our Nation's Envioronmental Concerns

Maybe our readers are thinking that, judging by the title of this post, that I have lost my marbles!  True, I did say in my last posting that we were moving on to Omaha.  And  yesterday we did travel on through Iowa and towards Nebraska.  We are now parked in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  It is located across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska.    At one of the rest area facilities we stopped at yesterday John and I got a close-up look at the blade of a wind turbine.
Adair County, in which this rest area resides, is the site of one of the largest wind farms in our country.  As of 2010 Iowa has been the second largest wind generator in the nation.  As we learned yesterday, traveling from Cedar Falls to Council Bluff, Iowa is not all flat smooth land;  if it was there would be no wind variations.  However, we saw that Iowa not only has flat farmland, but also rolling hills, valleys, river bluffs and lakes- which creates a highly variable and complex wind regime. In case you are wondering how I became so knowledgeable all of a sudden on wind energy, I do have to admit that at the rest area there are many interpretive signs around the facility providing information on Iowa's wind farm industry.  The rest area also integrates art with science in continuation of the wind energy theme.
The picnic shelters have been constructed with a leg which recalls the grid-work of a Dutch windmill.  The "Dutch Windmill", designed centuries ago, represents a direct connection of the fan-type windmill and the current design of the wind turbine.  At this point allow me to take a bit of a detour back to the Cedar Valley Arboretum, which we visited Wednesday.  Around those gardens were interpretive signs regarding Aldo Leopold.  He was born in Burlington, Iowa in 1887 and his life's work earned him the title of "father" of wildlife management and of the U.S. wilderness systems.  He felt that the our economic well being cannot be separated from the well being of our environment.  All of us have an important role to play in caring for the health of our environment.  Wind farms provide a renewable source of energy and are non-polluting.  Before I close this off I would like to share with you a picture of the pagoda dogwood, which we saw at the arboretum.  It is a most unusual dogwood, we also saw it in some of the yards of Cedar Falls.

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