Photo Credit: Wilford Yoder, 1st place winner, Iowans in Action category. 
November 2021 Newsletter
Keep Iowa Beautiful to Award Annual Scholarships 
Keep Iowa Beautiful will award three $1,000 scholarships to Iowa high school seniors in 2022 who plan to enroll in an Iowa college or universityThe scholarships are in honor of three pioneers in Keep Iowa Beautiful’s 21-year history—Bob Byers, William Fultz, and Gerald Schnepf.
The Byers Scholarship is supporting high school students who plan to enroll and study environmental science, community development, landscape architecture or architecture (historical emphasis) or community planning and sustainability.
The Schnepf Scholarship will be awarded to a senior who has a record of community service and a desire to continue to support and contribute to the enhancement of the place they live and work.  College programs could include community & regional planning and volunteer management.
The Fultz Scholarship will be awarded to a senior planning on studying communications, public relations and/or marketing.  
“KIB seeks to foster positive values in younger generations and reinforce them in older generations. We encourage respect for home, neighborhood, community and state,” said Kevin Techau, Keep Iowa Beautiful Executive Director.
Since the founding of the scholarship program, Keep Iowa Beautiful has awarded $51,000 to 61 students. Applications are due February 11, 2022 with notification in March.
Governor Reynolds Declares November 15th Iowa Recycles Day
As part of a nationwide push to encourage more sustainable living, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation today declaring Monday, November 15th Iowa Recycles Day. Pictured on the left are Kevin Techau KIB Executive Director, Bill Jackson KIB Staffer, Mike Richardson KIB Board Vice-Chair, and Nate Westre KIB Board Member joining the Iowa Recycling Association.

In her proclamation, the governor noted that reducing, reusing, and recycling waste are important to “ensure a cleaner, greener state for future generations.” Building on that theme, she wrote “on this day we renew our commitment to making environmentally conscious changes in our lives so that our children and grandchildren can live that better, cleaner future.”

With the proclamation, Iowa joins other states across the country encouraging sustainability initiatives in honor of America Recycles Day, which is also on November 15th.This is the only day nationally recognized to celebrating and promoting recycling in the country.

Governor Reynolds further recognized the Iowa Recycling Association and Keep Iowa Beautiful for playing leading roles in promoting the protection of Iowa’s natural resources and quality of life. Both groups applauded the governor for promoting recycling statewide.

“The Iowa Recycling Association strives to advance effective recycling by sharing resources, education, and advocacy opportunities,” said Iowa Recycling Association President Elizabeth Mackenzie. “Iowa Recycles Day moves us closer to achieving our vision where every material in the state can be reused by recycled and is put to its best use!”

“Joining the nationwide movement to boost recycling enhances efforts closer to home,” said Keep Iowa Beautiful Executive Director Kevin Techau. “Iowa Recycles Day is an opportunity to renew our commitment to meet our obligations to our planet and future generations,” he added. “Keep Iowa Beautiful is determined to end littering, improve recycling, reduce waste, educate the public on sustainability issues, and make Iowa’s communities better places to live.”
Keep Iowa Beautiful’s 12th Annual Photography Contest
Enter Your Photos Today!
The seasons are changing and it is a great time to grab your camera, or phone, and enter Keep Iowa Beautiful’s 12thAnnual Photography Contest!

“This is a great way for Iowans to share what you like about Iowa,” said Kevin Techau, Keep Iowa Beautiful Executive Director.  “There are five categories to enter your favorite photo of what makes you proud to be an Iowan and captures the beauty and spirit of Iowa,” added Techau.  “Again, this year our contest will feature over $2,000 in cash awards.”

The deadline to enter your photos for this year’s contest is December 18, 2021. Each of the five categories will be awarded 1st place: $100, 2nd place: $75, and 3rd place: $50. 

From January 17th -31st, 2022, the five first-place winners will be featured on Keep Iowa Beautiful social media for voting and selection of the Public Favorite Photo.  The Public Favorite Photo winner will receive an additional $100.  The Robert D. Ray Best of Show Awards, determined by a distinguished panel, will also be announced at that time.  The Robert D. Ray Best of Show award amounts are as follows; 1st place: $500, 2nd place: $250 and 3rd place: $100.

The five categories are:
  • Iowa Landscape: Capture Iowa’s beauty through depictions of Iowa’s landscape, including but not limited to: farm fields, rolling hills, and wooded forests.
  • Iowa Water: Feature Iowa’s beautiful water systems with depictions of Iowa rivers, streams, ponds and lakes.
  • Iowa Cities: Iowa’s urban centers are hubs of history, culture, and beauty. This category features depictions of Iowa’s cities, street scenes, and urban landmarks.
  • Iowans in Action: This category aims to capture the spirit of Iowa through depictions of the people that live, work, and play in Iowa.  All means of action that can be captured: biking, running, fishing, hunting and hiking are but a few. 
  • Iowa Wildlife: Iowa is home to a variety of beautiful critters. This category aims to showcase Iowa’s beauty through depictions of Iowa’s wildlife animals: mammals, fish, birds, bugs and more!

A $5 fee is required for each photo entered. Contest rules and entry guidelines can be found on our website
Mahaska YMCA Gets Fresh Coat of Paint
Thanks to the Paint Iowa Beautiful Grant Program, a long-standing partnership between Keep Iowa Beautiful and Diamond Vogel Paints, volunteers gave the Mahaska County YMCA a much-needed makeover! Volunteers were able to stain the entire exterior of our summer camp cabin shelter so that they can continue to serve our community by offering a fun and enriching summer program for elementary aged students in the area. The YMCA partnered with Central College’s Day of Service and had students come to the site and complete the painting! 
Warren County Hometown Pride Partners to Lead Indianola Cultural Walk Project 
Excerpt from an article previously published in the Indianola Independent Advocate. To read the full article, click here.
Warren County Hometown Pride is working on a project to create connections between the Indianola Square and Simpson College with a cultural walk along North Buxton Street from Ashland to Clinton Avenues.
In 2020, Indianola was named an Iowa Great Places city. Ditzler said as part of the application process, they had to formulate a Vision Plan. “That Vision Plan, which came out in spring 2020, was something Hometown Pride led but we had about 30 different organizations and residents participate in coming up with goals and objectives, and this cultural walk was one of those objectives,” Ditzler said.
Hometown Pride member Heidi Levine, Ph.D. serves as vice president for Student Development and Planning at Simpson College. She said this two-block stretch of space was selected because of how well it served the city when it was an overnight stop during RAGBRAI 2019. Because construction was going on at the courthouse, the area was selected instead as the place to set up vendors.
“We needed to be creative about how we were going to create this space and what we did was use Buxton Avenue coming off the square heading onto campus, and having vendors lining that and some things onto campus, creating kind of this bridge that was just wonderful,” Levine said.
Ditzler said she wants people to know there are no plans to close streets, eliminate parking, or infringe on property owners in any way. Everyone who owns land along the proposed route has been consulted.
Community partners include: Simpson College, the Des Moines Metro Opera, Warren County, the Indianola Chamber of Commerce, the City of Indianola and the Indianola Fine Arts Commission.
“We want to strengthen both physically and otherwise that connection between the City of Indianola and Simpson,” Levine said.
Fundraising, design work and additional outreach is ongoing now through spring 2022. Install Phase I (small art piece or light pole art) would likely take place in the summer and fall of 2022, followed by additional phases in early 2023.
The project is not yet funded. Ditzler said the plan is to obtain funding through a combination of state and regional grants, sponsorships from organizations and businesses and contributions from individuals, be it through fundraising events or online campaigns.
Estimated costs:
  • Sculptures: $10,000-$100,000 each, depending on size of piece and the artist
  • Light pole banners: $2,500-$6,500 depending on number and material (vinyl or metal)
  • Murals: $3,000-$15,000 each, depending on size and artist
  • Monument signs and/or archway: $15,000-$50,000 each, depending on size and materials
  • Sidewalk imprints or inlays: $20,000-$40,000, depending on number and style
  • Furnishings for gathering space: benches/seating: $800-$2000 each; trash cans: $400-$600 each; bike racks: $100-$350 each; lighting, landscaping and paving (costs vary widely)

The ballpark budget is $300,000-$500,000.
“Our big picture goal is we’re hoping this adds a new attraction to the community — something that would be enjoyable for people who live here, for all ages and a place people would go and feel connected,” Ditzler said.
Happy Fourth Birthday to Warren County Hometown Pride!
In celebration of their upcoming fourth birthday, Warren County Hometown Pride shared their top 50 PROJECTS of the past four years! Thank you for all of the amazing work you have done to improve communities in Warren County! Check out a couple highlights below: 
Cumming Water Tower Mural (2020)
Brought to you by: Cumming Hometown pride and the City of Cumming, with additional funding by Warren County Philanthropic Partnership and warren County Economic Development Co. 
Milo Welcome Sign (2020)
Brought to you by: Milo Hometown Pride, with support for the City of Milo and funding from Warren County Philathropic Partnership and warren County Economic Development Co. 
Indianola Clean-Up Days (Various dates 2018 – 2021)
Brought to you by: Indianola Hometown Pride and local volunteers 
To see the rest of Warren County Hometown Pride’s top 50 projects of the last four years, check out their Facebook!
Paint Iowa Beautiful Grant Program Open for 2022 Application
Paint Iowa Beautiful
Keep Iowa Beautiful and Diamond Vogel Paint are pleased to announce the 2022 Paint Iowa Beautiful program. The program provides free paint to a wide variety of community projects throughout Iowa. Administered through Keep Iowa Beautiful with the paint provided by the Diamond Vogel Paint Company.

“The partnership with Keep Iowa Beautiful allows Diamond Vogel to assist and work with many local volunteers that help build communities, making Iowa a great place to live,” said Doug Vogel, Vice President, Marketing, of the Iowa based company. “This is a great opportunity for Iowans to improve the attractiveness of their community.”

Kevin Techau, Executive Director of Keep Iowa Beautiful added, “The Paint Iowa Beautiful program helps increase our assistance to communities, neighborhoods, historic projects and volunteer organizations improve attractiveness and beauty across Iowa.”  

In the 19-year partnership with Keep Iowa Beautiful, Diamond Vogel has awarded over 11,860 gallons of paint for 1,132 community projects in Iowa.

The online grant application is now open to Iowans and can be completed and submitted by February 14, 2022.
Montrose Riverfront, Inc. Participates in River & Rail Weekend
Montrose Riverfront, Inc. recently participated in the first River & Rail Weekend, initiated by Lake Cooper Loop, a group of communities bordering on Lake Cooper above Lock & Dam 19 on the Mississippi River.

Communities involved were Fort Madison, Montrose, and Keokuk on the Iowa side of the river, and Hamilton and Nauvoo on the Illinois side. This was a great example of communities along both side of the Mississippi, and in two different states, coming together to promote their individual communities as part of a greater whole.

Montrose is the smallest of those communities and had no tourism dollars to help provide activities for the weekend. But, they didn’t let that stop them! Montrose Riverfront Inc. pulled together resources and ideas utilizing volunteers to showcase our community.

The wide variety of activities provided glimpses into both the river and rail history of Montrose. Focusing on the river history were the cutting of buttons from mussel shells on an antique button cutting lathe; a display of “pearl” buttons, buckles, and other artifacts; antique steamboat whistles powered by a commercial compressor loaned by a local construction company, a local chainsaw artist carving a bust of along ago Montrose steamboat captain, and the availability of a viewing scope on an observation deck looking out across the river to the City of Nauvoo on the Illinois side.

Rail history was shared by a local collector of railroad memorabilia, the opportunity to have a photo taken while “riding the train” photo board, and a display in the Hunold Heritage Center museum of railroad related artifacts and photos including the mail cart used to transport mail between the post office and the depot, numerous photos of trains at the Montrose depot, and a 1911 blueprint showing the proposed relocation of the railroad between Montrose and Keokuk at the time of the building of the dam at Keokuk.

The Riverfront Landing building was bustling with vendors for the Fall Farmer’s Market featuring fresh garden produce, watercolor paintings, and a wide variety of home baked Amish goodies, complete with homemade ice cream. A local musician played his guitar and sang from the Front Porch of the Landing, entertaining shoppers and those dining. Meanwhile Montrose Riverfront volunteers were serving up a meal of tenderloins, cheesy potatoes, broccoli salad, fall desserts, and drinks to approximately 250 visitors stopping in Montrose for the River & Rail weekend.

Thank you to Montrose Riverfront Inc. for sharing this highlight! It’s awesome to see so much community pride!
Derelict Building Program
Pioneered by Keep Iowa Beautiful, the Derelict Building Program is now sponsored by the Iowa DNR and offers Iowa communities of 5,000 or fewer residents’ financial assistance to address neglected structures that have sat vacant for at least six months.

The application deadline for FY 2023 is Friday, February 25, 2022 for applicants who are seeking funding assistance with conducting asbestos inspections, asbestos abatement, structural engineering analysis, phase I and phase II site assessments, building deconstruction and building renovation expenses.

To learn more and to submit an application for FY23, visit our website.
You Can Stop Litter!
When you see litter happening on Iowa’s roadways from a vehicle, Call 1-888-665-4887
Please provide as much detail about the incident as possible:
  • License plate number 
  • Time and specific location (street & city)
  • What was thrown from the vehicle
  • A vehicle description (color, make and model)

Call 1.888.NOLITTR (1-888-665-4887) to report littering from a vehicle.
Social Media Submissions
Keep Iowa Beautiful wants to share your community’s good news!
Are you proud of a completed project in your town? Do you want to show off a new mural in your downtown? Did you host a fun, exciting event for your community? We want to know about it!

Click on the button below to share short descriptions of events, projects, or news from your town! You can include pictures and captions as well. Keep Iowa Beautiful will share your post on our social media!
Your Support Matters!

Keep Iowa Beautiful is a non-profit organization and, as such, relies on your support to ensure the success of our environmental education and community outreach programs.

Donations will help KIB's efforts to support our community. Any amount is valued and appreciated. 

Donations can be made online or checks can be mailed to our office:
Keep Iowa Beautiful
2910 Westown Pkwy #302,
West Des Moines, IA 50266
2910 Westown Parkway, Suite 302 | West Des Moines, IA 50266