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Conservation workshop focuses on backyard habitats, rain gardens, home energy efficiency
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Conservation workshop focuses on backyard habitats, rain gardens, home energy efficiency

rain harvesting

A rain barrel captures water from a roof and holds it for later use, a way to conserve water to use in your landscape.

WATERLOO – It just got a little easier to be green.

Homeowners interested in conservation and saving a few bucks in and around their home by being more energy and resource efficient will find a “one-stop shop” at the annual Cedar Valley Community Conservation Workshop, said Josh Balk from the Black Hawk Soil and Water Conservation District.

This year’s free workshop is a virtual event beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday. The program ends at 8:30 p.m. Preregistration is required.

“We all have a role to play in the community. There are small steps that folks can take at home to have a positive impact on the community, and this workshop provides some of the tools and resources to make that happen,” Balk explained. “Offering the virtual workshop means that people can learn about conservation from the comfort of their couch with a warm cup of tea.”

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Balk will focus on rain gardens and permeable pavement as options for home storm water management during the event. Other topics will include climate resiliency presented by Maria Perez and Thomas Weintraut from the city of Cedar Falls; rainwater harvesting and citizen storm water involvement from Sarah Kempen, city of Waterloo; and home energy efficiency from Shelby Weaver, Green Iowa AmeriCorps.

Also Gardening Initiative/Good Neighbor Iowa, Leah Baethke, Green Iowa AmeriCorps; backyard wildlife habitat including bat boxes and bee hotels, Jordan Evans from Land and Water Stewards AmeriCorp; native landscaping and plant selection, Laura Fischer Walter from the Tallgrass Prairie Center; and minimizing waste and backyard composting, Tammy Turner from the Waste Trac Education Team. Steven Eilers, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardeners will discuss sustainable gardening.

“We want to impact more people. Each year we’ve seen a steady increase in attendance. Last year, we were able to have the workshop in person because it took place before the pandemic. It’s taken a bit of different planning to make it virtual, and we’re thankful for our partners. They recognize the need to connect with the community and offer education to citizens,” Balk said.

Attendees at the virtual workshop can ask questions and talk with local experts. There will also be prize drawings.

To preregister, go to


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