Common Ground Project

Common Ground LogoThank you for your interest in Common Ground! We are excited to help you find ways to share the experiences and memories that explain your love for and connection to the natural world.

Common Ground is a statewide project that brings together people of all generations, ages, backgrounds, knowledge bases, places of residence, and political persuasions to give voice in their own words to the important role that the natural world plays in their lives. The project aims to help people not only acknowledge their own connections to the natural world, but also build relationships with others who feel the same. We hope to show that—despite perceived differences—our common (though unique) experiences in nature are fertile ground for building relationships and coming together to work toward a collective goal: the protection of our natural resources.

 We will be collecting stories and photos from across the state and creating a public archive and exhibit. You have full control over your submissions to Common Ground and can elect how you wish to have your story and image shared publicly, if at all. We will post more information here as that part of the project progresses.

Join In

  • Record your own conversation with a friend or family member!
    • Download the Interview Guide to help prepare for your conversation. It includes project information, tips on creating an interview space, guidance on creating your interview questions, and more.
    • Follow instructions below for submitting files. 
  • Attend a scheduled recording session in the Rotary Room at the Ames Public Library. To reserve a 30-minute time slot, email rbeall@storycountyiowa.gov. Drop-ins are also welcome, as time permits: 
    • Friday, January 10, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    • Wednesday, January 15, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    • Wednesday, February 12, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, February 13, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
    • Monday, March 9, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, March 12, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
  • Additional opportunities will allow participants to record a ten-minute story on a first-come, first-served basis in response to presentations at the Ames Public Library:
    • Wednesday, January 8, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. (study room, after Izaak Walton League: Iowa Rivers presentation)
    • Wednesday January 22, 8:00 - 8:45 p.m. (study room, after Outdoor Alliance: Our Changing Climate)
    • Wednesday, February 19, 8:00 - 8:45 p.m. (study room, after Outdoor Alliance: Winter and Wildlife)
    • Sunday, March 8, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. (study room, throughout Ames Reads Leopold)
  • We're looking for volunteers to help facilitate spontaneous interviews at community events. Read more about what that role looks like and sign up here. 
  • Listen in to some of the recordings that have already been uploaded: https://www.iowanaturalists.org/common-ground-audio-library

Submitting Files

If you have recorded a story and are ready to share with Common Ground, please submit the files and documents listed below. We have created an Uploader that allows you to submit large files directly to a Google Drive folder accessible only to the project coordinator.

  • An Audio File of your recorded conversation (Use the Uploader)
  • A Photo of you and your interview partner, the place you talked about, or another illustration/photo of something relating to your conversation. Please use as high a resolution as possible. (Use the Uploader)
  • Participant Information: Complete the Online Form

  • Participant Releases. These ensure we save and/or use the files according to your wishes; we recommend filling it after you have completed your conversation: Complete the Online Form


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