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Conservation interns helping make changes

Dallas Cupples and Ethan Vander Pol are interning for the Jasper County Conservation Office this summer and are helping the office accomplish a few new things this year.
Dallas Cupples and Ethan Vander Pol are interning for the Jasper County Conservation Office this summer and are helping the office accomplish a few new things this year.

LYNNVILLE- Thanks to its internship study program, the Jasper County Conservation Office is going to be able to expand operation hours at the Wagaman Mill and give dove hunters a place to go within the county to hunt.

From now until Aug. 8, Wagaman Mill, located in Lynnville, will have expanded summer operating hours. The mill will now be open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tuesdays from 1 to 4 p.m., Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The mill will remain open on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

This idea was thought up by JCCO intern Dallas Cupples. Cupples, a first year intern, is a student at Iowa State University and is majoring in child, adult and family services. She said JCCO Director Keri Van Zante reached out to her for this internship opportunity and she spoke about why she accepted it.

“They said that it would have to do with working in the community with people and gathering historical information and that just sparked an interest,” Cupples said. “I just love interacting with people in the community and just being in a position to always learn more.”

While she’s only been interning there for a few weeks now, Cupples has been very eager to learn about the mills history and significance.

“I’ve learned like a lot of history about the mill, Teddy Roosevelt stayed here at the mill. That was interesting to learn,” she said. “The Wagaman Mill is one of 108 partner sites in the area designed to interpret and preserve different stories of American agriculture — ranging from dairy farms and museums to vineyards and tractor assembly plants.”

Cupples said that she is hoping by expanding the operating hours, it gives more people an opportunity to check out what the mill has to offer and that during her time there, she wants to help make it more appealing to young people.

“I’m getting ready to film a video with the current board members from the Lynnville Historical Society about the mill, and so, I wanted to be able to have that play as new people came in to view the mill,” Cupples said. “I also have a kayak and canoeing trip planned on July 1 from Kellogg to the mill.”

She would also like to extend an invitation to Wagaman Mill 15th Anniversary Celebration taking place on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served and free-will donations will be accepted.

Dove Hunting

Ethan Vander Pol is entering his third year interning for JCCO and is helping the county develop its new dove hunting area.

“My internship is called a ‘park technician’ so I go around to all the different parks in the county, and do some of the maintenance, and this summer, we’re doing a couple of special things like the food plot for one,” Vander Pol said.

The flood plot is going to be used to attract doves to the county’s Bell property south of Reasnor for dove hunting.

“The dove plot is made up of sunflowers, millet and sorghum. We are going to plant about two to three acres, and hopefully we can get it in the next week,” Vander Pol said. “That’ll grow until about August, and then, I’ll go through with the mower and the disc and disc up some strips for the bare ground.

“The doves like the bare ground in the fall and they also like seeds in the fall from the sunflowers and the millet and stuff. We’ll go through and disc it up, knock all that stuff down. It also gives the hunters a good place to hide with what’s left standing.”

Vander Pol is entering its final year of college and attends ISU as well. He is majoring in animal ecology with a wildlife option and hopes his experience with the JCCO can lead to a career opportunity.

“I would like to work for a county conservation (office) or the (Iowa Department of Natural Resources), I really like doing the maintenance and the hands on work,” Vander Pol said. “I’d really like to get a job doing that kind of stuff. It’s a great job for the summer, great experience and I really appreciate the job.”

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