AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Every Day. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.

Profile: Barb Gigar (State Education Unit)

BACKGROUND:

Barb Gigar is a Training Specialist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. She is responsible for aquatic education for her region and she is based out of Cold Springs State Park in Lewis, Iowa. She seeks to get more Iowans involved in outdoor fishing and teaches about preservation and stewardship, especially to young Iowans.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: 4-H, GUTHRIE COUNTY EXTENSION COUNCIL, AND GUTHRIE CENTER ELEMENTARY OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

Barb has been involved in 4-H since her son joined Clover Kids in 1st grade in 2009. She has been her 4-H group’s leader since 2011. Both her son and daughter are active in 4-H with her daughter being the 4-H club’s president and her son its vice president. The club has twelve members from the Guthrie Center and Panora area. They work on static exhibits, animal showing, and three or four service projects each year. Some of the club's service projects include improving the fairgrounds, activities at the local nursing home such as Bingo, and a pop can drive that raised funds that were used to purchase gifts for a Christmas toy drive. The group has been very successful with their static exhibits, with one third of the kids advancing to last year’s State Fair.

Barb was recruited to run for the Guthrie County Extension Council on the basis of her experience with 4-H and youth. She was elected in 2012. The Extension Council oversees the Iowa State Extension program for Guthrie County, including the county staff working for the extension. The extension conducts agricultural projects, farmer education, community development programs, and VITA Tax Assistance.

Barb became involved with the Guthrie Center Elementary Outdoor Classroom in 2010. This 6-acre classroom seeks to teach students about nature through experiencing nature. However, it needed an extensive renovation. Barb wrote several grants and organized volunteers to clear invasive trees, build trails and a viewing deck, plant native grasses and flowers, and construct a rain garden.

WHY SHE VOLUNTEERS—IN HER OWN WORDS:

“In order to truly experience nature, children need to spend some time outside. My volunteer activities help promote learning and stewardship by our kids.”

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