acorn illustration
what we do

BeWildReWild is a special fund within Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to be used for the purpose of asking three questions:

  1. What do you/we mean by wild?
  2. What changes are needed for us to live within the bounds of sustainability?
  3. How can we create a wilder, more beautiful, more biologically diverse, and a more enduring Mississippi River Watershed?

“It is a universal maxim, that the more liberty is given to everything which is in a state of growth, the more perfect it will become.”

Joseph Priestly

The following are recipients of Community Art Gathering grants from the BeWildReWild Fund.

Website and logo development for BeWildReWild and BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY.

A thought-provoking 7-minute film about a small but important creek in Jefferson County, Iowa and what happened when it was altered. 
Written and directed by award-winning documentarian Dick DeAngelis.

Artwork produced by Lance Foster, Reuben Ironhorse-Kent, Kayla ‘WhiteKnife’ Kent, Sydney Pursel and Philip Pursel. To be displayed at Effigy Mounds National Monument visitor’s center August 31-October 31, 2019.

Developed by Mary Young Bear. Workshops on basket making, twined bags, cattail mats, bone dice and wooden bowl/spoon carving. Held at the powwow grounds September 21-22, 2019.

A KHOI Radio Series developed by Mark Edwards and Ursula Ruedenberg. Three, hour-long programs covering the themes of BeWildReWild. To be aired in December 2020.

Coordinated by Leland Searles. Theme of Cores – Corridors – Communities. Resulting in computerized mapping of the Iowa River Corridor. Ready to display in September 2019.

Produced by Sydney Pursel. Focus on the benefits of TRUSTING WILDNESS. Two large paintings illustrating BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY. Ready for display in December 2019.

Produced by Autumn Rozario Hall. Resulting in the production of paintings and art showing Connectivity to Iowa Lands, a seed starting and planting workshop, and an artist talk. Will be completed by Summer 2020.

Produced by Nitin Gadia. Resulting in a large vision map of the entire Mississippi River Watershed, a Midwest map connecting the Driftless, the Ozarks, and the Loess Hills, plus a third map connecting the Ozarks with South Central Iowa via the Chariton and Missouri Rivers. Will be completed by November 2019.

Produced by Courtney Chandrea. Resulting in an illustrated ebook guide about exploring, understanding, and TRUSTING WILDNESS. Illustrated by Erica Wilson. Ready in February 2020.

Coordinated by Leland Searles. What began as an effort to create maps of a few watersheds in Iowa has become a full-blown mapping that links the entire Mississippi-Missouri basin from north to south and east to west. A vital part of this is the online digital map of Iowa, developed over months of effort by Nitin Gadia. Ready to display in December 2019.

Poet and artist, Joseph S. Plum, will create a series of seven paintings with quotes from his Bardic poetry. The series will explore how the concepts of wildness, sustainability, and biological diversity work together to create a communal artistic space. Ready in 2020.

Award-winning artist and writer, Emily Lupita, will create a series of watercolor paintings that depict her childhood living off the grid in the natural world. The paintings will be the basis for a children’s book that will teach today’s youth about the lifestyle of sustainable natural living. Ready to display in 2020.

Living History Farms, located on a 1700 Ioway site, will hold an annual loway Culture Day on July 11, 2020. This day will explore loway history and culture. In conjunction, an loway Artist Exhibition will include at least six pieces of artwork and continue through Oct 16. Artist Sydney Pursel will speak at the exhibition opening.

The grant-funded work under this proposal has resulted in a PowerPoint presentation and several spinoff efforts to make its content public. As we establish new forms of activity and communication (in part because of public health concerns over COVID-19), our methods of presentation also adapt. In the same way, natural systems must adapt to change, and that flexibility is a natural requirement. The first presentation was in February at the Sustainable Living Coalition's Ecobarn in Fairfield, Jefferson County, and a second talk occurred on Sept. 15 at the Des Moines Izaak Walton League.

See our Events page for details about upcoming presentations, wildlife crossing events, and more.

A three-month grant to Nitin Gadia and Leland Searles extends their mapping efforts to major river systems throughout the central river basins of the U.S. The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are the “backbones” of this 32-state plan.

Fourth Wall Films will create “Over & Under: Wildlife Crossings”, a broadcast-quality 7-10 minute short film, depicting the need for wildlife crossings in Iowa and the Mississippi River Watershed. The film will showcase a small number of successful crossings projects in Iowa and the immediate region. Ready for display in October 2020.

Effigy Mounds National Monument announces a series of special events celebrating the American Indian tradition of storytelling in winter. Winter Stories will occur on Saturday and Sunday afternoons beginning February 22, 2020 through the end of March.

The Sustainable Living Coalition received a grant to plan the first BeWildReWild conference of 2020 to be held at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center Sondheim Theater on Saturday, April 11; however, due to COVID-19, it became evident that this project had to change focus. They requested a change to the grant as to have Dick DeAngelis create two videos to support the Wildlife Crossings Project and also produce a short film to support the discussion surrounding the concept of BeWildReWild.

This second grant to The Sustainable Living Coalition sponsors the formation of a Southeast Iowa group to review and improve our Cores-Corridors-Crossings mapping with boots on the ground input. And they will become additional Storytellers for the BeWildReWild/BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY movement.

A 20-minute film about how Iowa can create a wilder, more beautiful, more biologically diverse state. Written and directed by award-winning documentarian Dick DeAngelis. Ready to view March 2021.

Autumn Rozario Hall will create a series of constellation based paintings intended to accompany the KHOI grant project audio clips for the BeWild ReWild website. Part 1: Ready to view Fall 2020. Part 2: ready Fall 2021.

Award-winning artist and writer, Emily Lupita, will create a series of watercolor paintings that depict her childhood living off the grid in the natural world. The paintings will be the basis for a children’s book that will teach today’s youth about the lifestyle of sustainable natural living. Ready to display in 2021.

The Midwest Environment Education Conference (MEEC) is being held at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa July 26-29, 2021, with a backup plan to move to a virtual format if needed. The theme is “Exploring Community: Land, Water, People” and will feature keynote speaker Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass. The keynote and sessions will focus on the ideas of re-defining community to include all land, water, and people, and building healthy, resilient, vibrant communities for all.

Fourth Wall Films will create a broadcast-quality 10-12 minute short film that will profile a successful partnership between a land-owner and the permanent Wetlands Reserve Program. The film will also illustrate how this program addresses the concept of Cores and Corridors, and show how rewilding benefits people and the environment. Ready for viewing June 2021.

In this three-month grant, Kelly Madigan will use the LoHi Trail and its hundred + identifiable stakeholders to work toward common goals, including preservation of the Loess Hills, conservation and access easements, increase public awareness and a growing public will toward protection, and increased economic opportunity for the poverty-stricken towns along the spine of the LoHi. Initial framework ready March 2021.

“There are enough mild dull eyes of domestic brutes that we have bred from bird and beast to make them part alive and partly dead. A thousand generations in a cage makes a helpless thing.”

Michael McClure