Ribbon Cutting to Honor Green Legacy at Honey Creek Resort State Park
MORAVIA, Iowa – Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds is helping to launch Honey Creek Resort State Park as “Iowa’s Greenest Resort” at a special event here on Friday, June 8 at 10 a.m. The event will give special recognition to the Chris Desjardins Memorial Fund, which provided a generous contribution for renewable energy technologies.
Chris Desjardins, a lifelong employee of Pella Corp., was passionate about renewable energy and had a deep environmental ethic. When he passed away at the age of 47 in 2009, his family decided the best way to honor his memory would be to create a fund for renewable energy projects.
“We are very appreciative the Desjardins family chose Honey Creek Resort State Park for this legacy,” said Chuck Gipp, DNR Director. “Protecting natural resources is a gift that can be appreciated by thousands of visitors to Honey Creek each year.”
The memorial fund established a 10 kW wind turbine, solar thermal heating panels for the resort’s main lodge, solar electricity panels for five cottages, two solar-powered light poles, and an educational kiosk. Funding was still available for solar electricity panels on nature centers at Mines of Spain State Park, Dubuque, and Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa, along with solar light poles at other parks around the state.
Pete Desjardins, Chris’ brother, said, “We want Chris’s legacy to stand for renewable energy and educating people about how to make their own homes and lifestyles more sustainable and energy-efficient. That’s what he would have wanted.”
The Iowa Office of Energy Independence (currently the Iowa Economic Development Authority) also helped fund the Honey Creek project as a technology demonstration project using the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds under the State Energy Program. Additional funding came from Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection Fund.
Along with honoring the Desjardins family, the June 8 event and ribbon cutting will recognize the numerous green initiatives at Honey Creek Resort State Park. In 2012, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources received LEED certification for the resort’s sustainable design. Examples of green technologies include: geothermal heating and cooling systems; recycled content in building materials, furnishings and the resort playground; native prairie landscaping, low-flow toilets and showerheads, and much more. The Preserve, an 18-hole championship golf course at the resort, has reduced its chemical use, expanded habitat areas, and implemented numerous water-saving strategies.
“Our goal at Honey Creek is to find as many ways as possible to decrease our environmental footprint,” said Andy Woodrick, the resort’s general manager. “We are continually challenging ourselves to make green choices – from the regional food we purchase in the restaurant to the eco-friendly soap in the guest rooms.”
Also in 2012, Honey Creek Resort opened a new Activity Center, designed by Iowa State University students for a national sustainable design competition. As a net-zero energy building, it creates as much energy as it uses. Passive solar design, insulation, innovative day lighting and highly efficient appliances all contribute to the energy efficient construction. Honey Creek Resort’s naturalist staff is headquartered in the Activities Center where they coordinate nature activities.
Guests who stay at Honey Creek Resort can be part of the environmental experience. According to Woodrick, guests can decrease their energy and water use by participating in resort recycling efforts, a linen reuse program, and by using electronic receipts and check-in materials. Honey Creek offers bike rentals, and even has designated parking spots for hybrid vehicles.
“Best of all,” said Woodrick, “Guests can participate in dozens of planned recreational opportunities including bird watching, geocaching, night hikes, and naturalist programs on habitat and ecosystems.”
The June 8 event will take place from 10 a.m. until noon with a presentation on the resort’s back terrace. The event will include tours of the activity center, lodge, cottages and grounds. Media and the public are welcome to attend.