DES MOINES, IA (April 22, 2021) – In celebration of Earth Day, the Great Outdoors Foundation is launching its newest way to live sustainably — the Conservation Credit. Developed following traditional carbon offsetting standards, the Conservation Credit program is meant to aid in neutralizing everyday practices like driving, shopping and water usage. Once purchased, Conservation Credits are reinvested in local spaces, focusing on carbon, water and pollinator initiatives.

The program is simple to understand and completely voluntary. Participants are invited to consider their carbon footprint, select a preferred investment level, and match with a project. Because all of the credits are dedicated to local initiatives, participants can actually visit the location where their investments are being utilized. Currently, the Great Outdoors Foundation is partnering with Polk County Conservation on three different Conservation Credit projects: Fourmile Creek Greenway, Crane Meadows and Easter Lake Park.

The projects include conservation practices that focus on restoring native environments, improving water quality and protecting pollinator habitats. These methods include:

  • Wetland, prairie and savanna restoration.
  • Oxbow excavation.
  • Sediment and nutrient mitigation.
  • Native wildflower propagation.
  • “Rewilding” — utility and infrastructure eradication.

“Our supporters are proactive and conscientious in nature, and they prioritize sustainable conservation practices in their daily lives,” Hannah Inman, Chief Executive Officer at the Great Outdoors Foundation, said. “As leaders in the conservation space, we at the Great Outdoors Foundation realized that there was a need to provide a service that would allow an everyday Iowan to mitigate their carbon footprint and reinvest in the local environment.”

The concept of a simplified carbon offset program gained traction under Great Outdoors Foundation intern, Emily Durbala. Durbala is a Waukee High School student and brought with her a wealth of knowledge in environmental science gleaned from her time in the WHS Aspiring Professional Experience program (APEX). After the initial proposal and program concept, Durbala went to work researching the most effective and concise way to implement the Great Outdoors Foundation’s own ‘carbon credit.’

Durbala and Great Outdoors Foundation staff worked diligently to develop a model that mirrored the traditional carbon credit approach while simultaneously offering participants the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on their local environment. The resulting Conservation Credit program provides a direct to consumer method for creating sustainable, eco-friendly habits, ultimately providing a pathway forward for Iowans to live carbon neutrally.

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About Great Outdoors Foundation

The Great Outdoors Foundation is a non-profit that provides funding for outdoor recreation and conservation projects in Central Iowa. The Great Outdoors Foundation is Central Iowa’s pathway to sustainable, healthy environments.  We are a regional conservation leader and catalyst for high-impact, environmental projects. We convene partners with a shared vision, drive collaboration and raise awareness and funds. Driven by our clear purpose, we challenge ourselves to seek and take on partner projects offering exceptional and long-term impact requiring a regional approach and creative funding.

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