The main goal is to educate the public on how our local environment has an impact on human health this includes projects related to the following areas: air quality, energy, water quality and conservation, land usage and solid waste issues.

A Practical Backyard Tour: Sustainability in Action!

Saturday, June 19th, 2021
The Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition and community partners will present A Practical Backyard Tour of Waterloo and Cedar Falls on Saturday, June 19th from 10 AM - 1 PM!
Homeowners and organizations will be opening up their green spaces and backyards to share various sustainable and Earth-friendly practices. Visit 6 creative, sustainable backyards and green spaces at your own pace and in any order. Tour locations will highlight topics such as: rain gardens, solar panels, pollinator gardens, seed saving, raised beds, composting, vegetable production, pesticide-free lawns, edible garden weeds, bird friendly conservation, rain barrels, swift towers, and beekeeping!
This public educational event is FREE and will take place rain or shine! (However a $3 donation to the Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition is suggested and greatly appreciated).
The Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition is a large group of community organizations and individuals that have come together to improve the health of our community through outreach and education. 'A Practical Backyard Tour' is sponsored by the Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition's Sustainability Theme Group in partnership with Black Hawk County Master Gardeners, Dry Run Creek Watershed Improvement Project, Green Iowa AmeriCorps, North Cedar Neighborhood Association, Prairie Rapids Audubon Society, Cedar Falls Seed Library, City of Waterloo, City of Cedar Falls, Good Neighbor Iowa, Waste Trac Education Team, Black Hawk County Conservation, Wapsie Pines Lawn Care & Landscaping and SingleSpeed Brewing.
For questions or more information, please contact the Waste Trac Education Team at 319-266-8722.
Before the Tour:
Print a brochure
Participants should print a backyard tour brochure with event details, tour addresses, location map, brief site descriptions, and the list of prizes. The brochure can also be found on the Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition Facebook page .
Enter the Registration Drawing
Although pre-registration is not required, participants can be entered into a special Facebook registration drawing. To be entered, log into Facebook before 3:00 PM on June 17th and click 'Going' or 'Interested' on the Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition's Facebook event: 'A Practical Backyard Tour' . A special thank you to SingleSpeed Brewing for providing the $20 gift certificate for this drawing. This drawing will take place on Monday, June 21 during the LIVE Virtual Prize Drawing at 3:00 PM on the Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition's Facebook Page.
Follow HCVC on Facebook
For tour updates or to view the LIVE Prize Drawing on June 21st, Like or Follow the Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition on Facebook .
On the Day of the Event:
Sign a waiver
Start at any location you want. Check in with the site greeter at the welcome table. At your first stop, you will sign your participation waiver for the day. Visit other locations in any order that you choose. We suggest you pick your 3-4 favorite sites, as you will not be able to make it to all of the sites on the tour.
Get a ticket for the drawing
At each site you visit on June 19, you'll receive a ticket for the prize drawing. Write your name AND phone number on your ticket. Put that ticket in the prize jars at that location. Repeat at each tour site you visit for more chances to win. The virtual prize drawing will be held on June 21.
Fill out a survey
Let the committee know about your experiences during the tour! Fill out and return your survey at your last tour location. Everyone that turns in a completed survey will be entered into a survey drawing for a $20 SingleSpeed Brewing gift certificate.
Visit any of these 'A Practical Backyard Tour' locations:
Orange Goes Green!
Orange Elementary, 5805 Kimball Avenue, Waterloo

-- In 8 short years, this elementary has added a wide assortment of conservation projects to their outdoor spaces. Visit the raised garden beds and prairie patch. Look for trees and shrubs with QR code name stakes that give species details and student generated information. Check out the bat house, birdhouses, bird feeding stations, and two chimney swift towers.
-- In 2015, Orange Elementary School was awarded grant money by Prairie Rapids Audubon Society and the Iowa Ornithologists' Union (IOU) to build two Chimney Swift towers for an established colony of birds who were going to lose their homes when the chimney of the old Orange schoolhouse was demolished. The two towers have been erected in the reconstructed prairie/wetland area on the new school grounds. Both towers have had successful nests and have been used as roosts for chimney swifts.
-- Two special challenges:
1) Find the Geocache that students placed on the school grounds
2) See if you can find Iowa's first 100% Solar-powered school crosswalk/signal light near the parking lot entrance.
Good Neighbor Lawn
414 Sunset Road, Waterloo

-- Good Neighbor Iowa is an initiative coordinated by the UNI's Center for Energy and Environmental Education. It aims to reduce unnecessary urban pesticide use and to transform lawn culture to encourage appreciation of diverse lawns as a way to protect child health, water quality, pets, pollinators, and biodiversity. See how this Good Neighbor maintains a gorgeous yard without herbicides or insecticides, and how you can go pesticide-free, too! Learn about edible garden weeds and take home dandelion root tea and recipe cards from the Cedar Falls Seed Library!
Earth, Water, Sun: An Elemental Home in Harmony
1712 Rainbow Drive, Waterloo

-- This home harnesses the power of the elements by using the sun to charge solar panels powering the home and electric car, rain water is collected in rain barrels and drains to a rain garden, a backyard composter helps to reduce waste and aid in soil fertility, and native prairie for our pollinators all abound. Find your Zen here!
Gardens Galore
3617 Dallas Drive, Cedar Falls

-- Visit this Master Gardener's property full of pollinator gardens, fruit trees, and heirloom vegetable varieties. See how the homeowner uses water from rain barrels and homemade compost to invigorate the garden. Vertical gardening is used to maximize space and cold frames are used to extend the gardening season. Pick up backyard composting tips from the Waste Trac Education Team and gardening handouts from ISU Extension.
-- BONUS: 408 Bonita Blvd, Cedar Falls Visit the backyard neighbor to see even more pollinator patches, rain gardens, and the homeowner's creative use of worm castings in their garden!
-- Suggested parking: Southdale Elementary is half a block away with plenty of nice parking spots.
Seeds & Tools to Go!
Cedar Falls Public Library, 524 Main Street, Cedar Falls

-- Why buy when you can borrow? The Cedar Falls Public Library has something for everyone. The library is no longer just books. There are many things for the environmentally curious, the outdoor enthusiasts, and even gardening novices. There is a seed library, garden tool lending library, raised bed learning garden, and a library of things with everything from tech items to musical instruments. Come check us out and talk to the seed librarian to have your questions answered.
Birds, Bees, & Prairie Please!
North Cedar Natural Resource Project, corner of Cedar Street and Woodlawn Avenue, Cedar Falls

-- Check out this 16 acre green space and see how a flood-ravaged neighborhood has created a bird and wildlife sanctuary. Not only does the site have wetland, savanna, tall grass prairie, and woodland habitat, it also features walking trails, a chimney swift tower, and an outdoor learning classroom.
-- The North Cedar Natural Resource Project was developed in 2013 and was built and maintained by the volunteers of the North Cedar Neighborhood Association on City of Cedar Falls property. The Black Hawk County Conservation Board provided the project outline. All plantings were completed with the help of North Cedar School students and staff. Over 250 sapling trees have been planted in the project. Over 1,000 shrubs of various native Iowa species have also been planted on the outside borders of the space. While at the park, be sure to also check out 'The Nest', an art sculpture installed by the Cedar Falls Public Art Committee.
-- Come see for yourself the quality wildlife habitat and learn how to make your yard and neighborhoods more attractive to our bird and pollinator friends. The North Cedar Neighborhood Association will have guides stationed in various locations throughout the property to talk about the habitats and the steps they have taken to transform the area into a neighborhood nature area. Members of the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society will be on hand with information about backyard habitats, birding, and ways you can help protect our feathered friends. Be sure to also pick up handouts from the Bird Friendly Iowa program.
-- BONUS: 407 Longview Street, Cedar Falls
Walk on over to the neighbors to view their newly established native prairie and ask questions about how they maintain bee hives! 'Bee' sure to pick up materials about the best native plants for pollinators!
Monday, June 21 - Virtual Facebook LIVE Prize Drawing:
Virtual Prize Drawing
Join the HCVC for a Facebook LIVE event at 3pm on June 21 as door prize winners are announced. Tune in LIVE on the HCVC's Facebook page (or watch later) at .
Prizes include
- A 55-gallon Systern rain barrel from the Waste Trac Education Team
- $50 gift certificate from Wapsie Pines Lawn Care and Landscaping
- Rain garden plant package from the City of Waterloo Engineering Department
- DIY Energy & Water Eco Pack
- Energy Saver Kit from Green Iowa AmeriCorps
- Umbrella clothesline from Green Iowa AmeriCorps
- Rain barrel convertor kit from the City of Cedar Falls Engineering Department
Registration Drawing
Although pre-registration is not required, participants that indicate they are attending 'A Practical Backyard Tour' before the event will be entered into this registration drawing. To enter, click 'Going' or 'Interested' on the Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition's Facebook event by 3:00 PM on June 17 to be entered into a drawing for a $20 SingleSpeed Brewing gift certificate.
Survey Drawing
Let the committee know about your experiences during the tour! Fill out and return your survey at your last tour location. Everyone that turns in a completed survey will be entered into a drawing for a $20 SingleSpeed Brewing gift certificate.