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Iowa DNR seeking chronic wasting disease ambassadors in southern Iowa

  • 5/21/2024 3:32:00 PM
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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. Hunters, landowners, and conservationists interested in learning more about chronic wasting disease are encouraged to attend a course offering June 11, 18, and 25 at the Rathbun Fish Hatchery, in Appanoose County.

The course will cover best practices for preventing spread of the disease, how to collect tissue samples for testing, and how to educate others within their community, all in an effort to better educate Iowans on how to manage a healthy deer herd and slow the spread of the disease. 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.

“Partnerships are key to the effective management of chronic wasting disease,” said Tyler Harms, biometrician for the Iowa DNR and co-organizer of the course. “We need hunters, landowners, and interested conservationists working together to slow the spread of this disease.”

The course includes three in-person meetings from 6-9 p.m. and two online lessons completed between the in-person sessions. In-person sessions will include instruction and hands-on exercises related to the ecology of chronic wasting disease, sampling for the disease, and effective communication strategies. Participants will also have the opportunity to network with area wildlife biologists. Graduates of the course will be given resources to help spread the word regarding effective chronic wasting disease management in their communities.

Registration is available at or by contacting course facilitator, Adam Janke, at or 515-294-7429 and is open until the week before the course starts, or until the class is filled (25 participants). There is no cost to participate. A light meal and refreshments will be served at each of the three sessions.

Chronic wasting disease is always fatal to deer and has been found in wild deer in 23 Iowa counties. To learn more about the disease and its management in Iowa, including ways to help slow the spread of the disease, go to