Summer 2013 Youth Bike Camp

What? A fun and safe opportunity for youth to learn about road safety and bike mechanics!

Lesson topics:

Learning bike parts and basic mechanics, changing a flat tire, using brakes and gears efficiently, adjusting the fit of a helmet and seat, recognizing traffic signs, and discussing right of way, intersections, crashes, and road conditions

There will be themed rides to attractions around the town of Grinnell that are accessible via the Grinnell Area Recreational Trail.

Who? Youth entering into 4th grade to 7th grade

When? July 8-12 & 15-17; from 9am-11am

Where? The Foundation Offices at Ahrens Park, 1510 Penrose Street

Led by Executive Director Sarah Smith & Grinnell College Apprentice in Nonprofit Management Ellyn Ochs ’13 and in collaboration with Bikes To You

To register, click here. Registration is free of charge. Participants will receive a new helmet.

Many thanks to a Poweshiek County Alliance grant for allowing this camp to be free of charge and include a bike helmet. 

First Annual Little Bear Creek Clean Up

Come and enjoy some clean up fun at Jaycees Park!

Organized by Imagine Grinnell and Poweshiek County Soil & Water Conservation District

When: Saturday, June 15, 2013 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. (Rain Date June 22)

Where: Jaycees Park, 720 Summer Street, Grinnell IA 50112

Check-in and parking: Jaycees Park at the pavilion (park along Summer Street, not a lot of parking so carpooling is encouraged)

Dress: Be prepared to get dirty! Depending on water level in the creek, you may want to bring waders or boots if you have them. Wear old clothes and tennis shoes to climb in and out of the creek and/or walk in the woods. Other items you may want are sunscreen, bug repellent, gardening gloves or rubber cleaning gloves.

Supplies: Garbage bags, latex gloves, bottled water, and first aid will be available. If you have refillable water bottles, feel free to bring those! A few shovels will be available to dig out tires and other large debris, but if you have other tools and shovels, feel free to label and bring. Also, bring along buckets if you have them because garbage bags tend to get caught on tree branches and tear.

Sign Up here or email Sarah Smith at

New Grinnell Community Garden blog!

Check out our new Grinnell Community Garden blog here!  It has updates, pictures, and info on our Community Garden.

Solar Panel Incentives for Businesses

Dear Business members,

At Imagine Grinnell, energy efficiency and renewable energy is near to our hearts.  We believe that there are countless positive effects of using less fossil fuel on both our local community and the larger world. With the continuously increasing demand for electric energy, the significantly high price of oil and the growing concern for the environment, many businesses are choosing to use alternative sources of energy. Among the renewable energy sources, solar energy is an environmentally and economically sustainable choice and one that can be used in various applications.  Many businesses are now tapping into this alternative source of energy, hoping to benefit from its numerous advantages as well.  If your business has ever been interested in renewable energy, now is the time.  For entities with a tax burden, solar even makes more sense. In addition to the Federal and State Tax Credits, Alliant has a rebate available up to 25K which expires at the end of this year.  With the rebate and tax incentives, plus depreciation, the payback could be as low as 4-6 years.

I have attached the brochure for Ideal Energy.  If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at 641-236-5518 because you may be leaving 25K on the table that won’t be available next year.  Additionally, feel free to contact Ideal Energy, Troy Van Beek, directly at 641-919-2269 for a free consultation.


Fruit Tree Workshop is almost here!

Fruit Tree Imagine Grinnell’s Community Garden is presenting a Fruit Tree Workshop and Info session on Friday, April 12, 2013, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Ahrens Foundation Building.

Dr. Patrick O’Malley will explain and demonstrate the fine points of fruit tree pruning and training techniques. In other words, how to get the most fruit off your fruit trees. Register by calling 641-236-5518, ext. 227, or using our Contact Us form.

Putting Locally-Grown Food on Our Tables

FarmersMarketThe Grinnell Area Local Foods Alliance (GALFA) continues its efforts to stimulate awareness and use of locally produced food by individuals and institutions in the Grinnell area. “We see numerous benefits to the consumption of locally produced food, including freshness and superior taste, strengthening the local economy, fostering community ties, increasing food security, and saving the energy used to bring in food from elsewhere,” says Jon Andelson, and Imagine Grinnell board member who leads this effort.

GALFA helps to coordinate and promote the work of the Grinnell Farmers Market, the Compass Plant Community Supported Agriculture program, the Grinnell chapter of the Plant-a-Row for the Hungry program, and the Grinnell College campus garden. It also is collaborating with other organizations to seek funding to develop a computer-based system that could be used by individuals and institutions to order produce and other foods from cooperating area farmers. “A prototype of such a system is being used successfully in the Postville area. We hope to further develop and refine it. Grinnell College’s dining services and other institutions in the community have expressed interest in this kind of ording system,” Andelson says.

GALFA presently is seeking funding for a project to create a regional food system that would link several local systems and develop a cold-storage and simple processing facility for use by local produce growers. The idea of linking local food systems in eastern Iowa is being promoted by a new magazine, Edible Iowa River Valley, which is published in Iowa City. The premiere issue of Edible Iowa River Valley and GALFA’s directory of local food producers are available free of charge at selection locations in Grinnell.

Grinnell Youth Conservation Corps Cares for Arbor Lake

rifflepoolThe Grinnell Youth Conservation Corps (GYCC) began in 2006 when five energetic Grinnell youth participated in the program for eight weeks. First led by college student coordinator, Alicia Sellon, the group learned about water quality and conservation at Arbor Lake Park. The GYCC program is a collaboration between the Grinnell College Center for Prairie Studies and the City of Grinnell, with planning and oversight support by Imagine Grinnell.  Supplies and equipment were purchased for the first program in part through a $1500 grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, with a match by the City of Grinnell.

Since that first summer, the GYCC has accomplished an impressive amount of restoration work. They have removed invasive trees and shrubs along the west shoreline or the lake, planted over around the lake and in the new wetland basins, and assisted IOWATER with a macroinvertebrate survey of Hazel and Wood Creeks, the north tributaries of Arbor Lake. The youth have also conducted wildlife surveys of the wetland basins.  The college student coordinator for the summer of 2011 is Chris Gallo.

2nd Saturdays are coming


Hey, it’s time to get ready for 2nd Saturdays! Walk, run, or bike, we guarantee that you’ll have a good time. We welcome all ages and ability levels. The main goal is to get outside, get moving, and enjoy the Grinnell Area Recreation Trail.

First event will be in May. Check out the details here.

The 2012 Annual Report is out!


Imagine Grinnell’s 2012 annual report is out – and this year we tried something a little different! Using a web-based presentation tool, we’ve turned our new logo into a full-fledged slideshow of what we’ve done over the past year. We think you’ll like it. Take a look –Click here.