OSKALOOSA — Following five years of planning, the dream of a learning opportunity for the youth of Mahaska County came to fruition Wednesday, Sept. 25 when club members presented the Friends of Mahaska County Conservation with a check for $15,000.
“This project began a long time ago as we sat down and discussed how they could be a part of the center,” said Mahaska County Conservation Director Dave Sedivec. “The dig table was an idea the Optimists were very interested in.”
Optimist Club President R.D. Keep said the work of the members was what brought the table to be a reality.
“Our mission as Friend of Youth is epitomized with this table,” said Keep. “Our members have worked projects and fundraisers to be able to provide this to our community. The Environmental Learning Center will serve the youth and citizens of Mahaska County for years to come.”
Iowa District Governor for Optimists Mark Feilman said he has talked about this project as he has travelled the state this year.
“When R.D. told me about this I could not believe there were mammoths in Iowa, but to be here today to see the bones and how Hazel (Foster) enjoys the dig table is very rewarding,” said Feilman. “It is a tribute to the work Oskaloosa has done.”
Club member Daniel Foster and his daughter Hazel were on hand. Hazel immediately went to work uncovering the bones and showed those in attendance where each of them were.
“This is one of our most popular activities,” said Smith. “Kids really like this and the fish tank.”
“We could not be more pleased with the way the project has worked out,” said Keep. “Our members work very diligently on our fundraising projects with this focus in mind. Youth means so much to us and to see how Hazel enjoys the table we know the ELC staff will continue to provide quality education programs to our kids. We are just glad to have a small part in this beautiful facility.”
This news release was sent to the Herald