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Breaking bad in Iowa: An immigrant urges Iowans to become native to Iowa


Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Education, Kamyar Enshayan, will present on Thursday, October 25, at 6:00 p.m. in the Musco Technology Center (MTC) on William Penn University’s Oskaloosa campus. Enshayan’s presentation will be about Iowa, and how it is not being treated very well under our watch. He will challenge the audience to take on the responsibility of becoming native to this region and protect it for future Iowans.

William Penn University Assistant Professor of Biology, Peter Eyherald, said he is looking forward to Enshayan’s talk. “Sustainability of our agriculture system is extremely important for the future of Iowa’s economy. I often see bumper stickers and t-shirts that proudly proclaim the owner to be an ‘Iowa Native,’ but how many of us really have an understanding of the biodiversity above and below ground that supports the biggest driver in Iowa’s economy?”


Enshayan’s challenge to become native to this region reminds Eyherald of the Lakota Sioux phrase “Maka Ochante,” which means “to have a sense of place – knowing the plants, the animals, the geology, the history of your home – to put down roots and engage with the environment around you with respect and reverence for what it offers.”


About the Speaker

Kamyar Enshayan was born in Iran and has lived in the U.S. for 40 years. Iowa has been his home the last 25 years.  He has graduate degrees in agriculture, solar energy, thermodynamics and climatology. In addition to being the director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Education, he teaches environmental studies at the University of Northern Iowa.

Notable Achievements:

  • Recipient of the Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award, 2008
  • Started the UNI Local Food Program, 1997
  • Served on the boards of FoodRoutes Network, the Iowa Association for Energy Efficiency, and the National Farm to School Network
  • Served as a member of the technical review committee for USDA North Central Region for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.


The Leaders Speak Series is an annual initiative that reaches out to the community with diverse leadership-based themes. The 2018–19 series is supported by MidWestOne Bank and has expanded on the theme “Voices,” which aims at bringing in speakers to give voice to societal issues and concerns. The event is free and open to the public. It is also streamed online at:

Center for Energy and Environmental Education

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