October 12, 2021 | By:

Rewilding Earth Podcast Episode 78: Iowa Rewilding and Big River Connectivity With Mark Edwards

mark edwards waubonsie

Mark Edwards in a Paw Paw Patch* at Waubonsie State Park in the Loess Hills of Iowa Photo (c) Jack Humphrey


Mark is a leader in BeWildReWild and its Big River Connectivity project. He was raised a self-described military brat, a nomad bouncing back and forth across the oceans searching for a home. After college, his Thoreau experiment of living in a shack with no running water by the river continued for 17 years. He retired after 30 years leading restoration efforts within the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and is still pursuing being naturalized while maintaining his river residency for 60 years.

  • Rewilding issues in Iowa
  • How to rewild a greatly altered landscape with few public protected areas
  • Where to find connectivity in mostly flat private ag lands
  • Hands and knees conservation
  • What is BeWild ReWild?
waubonsie state park

Sunset from Ridgeline Trail in Waubonsie State Park, Iowa. Photo (c) Jack Humphrey

Extra Credit

We are almost ready to launch a new page on Big River Connectivity, funded by BeWild ReWild, which focuses mapping and storytelling work on Loess Hills, The Driftless, and Ozark Plateau regions of the Mississippi River Watershed. Watch this space and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to be updated when the page is live!

*The pawpaw is a patch-forming (clonal) understory tree found in well-drained, deep, fertile bottomland and hilly upland habitat, with large, simple leaves. The fruit taste a bit like mango.

Correction from podcast recording: Jack mentions no farming above 9 degrees. The goal is no farming on slopes greater than 9%.

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