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PEOSTA - Chronic Wasting Disease Ambassadors is a collaborative education program between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach that seeks to help Iowans address the challenge of chronic wasting disease.
Registration is open for a course in March at the Swiss Valley Nature Center, in Dubuque County. Classes are scheduled for March 15, 22, and 29, from 6-8 p.m. There is a link to the online registration at https://naturalresources.extension.iastate.edu/programs/chronic-wasting-disease-ambassadors. Class size is between 12-25 participants.
The goal of the program is to develop a small, connected, and well-educated network of local leaders to effectively communicate about the management and mitigation of chronic wasting disease.
Graduates of the three-week training program become “ambassadors” for the science-based management of chronic wasting disease. Ambassadors are knowledgeable in the management, prevention, and testing for the disease and equipped with communication skills and resources to help educate others within their community.
Participants can include hunters and non-hunters, community members, and anyone interested in white-tailed deer conservation and management.
Jordan Koos, of Decorah, is a deer hunter who took the course offered in Waukon in November 2021.
“It was a well-developed program, and having only a handful of participants, helped to carry it,” he said. “I learned a lot; didn’t realize the number of counties it was in or the number of positives. I would recommend it.”
The course is taught through in-person instructions, demonstration, and networking, and short online lessons between class sessions that allow ambassadors to learn at their own pace. It covers everything from the basics of chronic wasting disease ecology to the science of effective communication. The program comprises about eight hours of learning and networking with ISU and DNR educators and other concerned community members.