After completing orientation in Washington D.C., I traveled to Dubuque, Iowa where is the place that I come here for learning and gaining fantastic experiences. When I arrived in the city, I obtained a warm welcome from host community representatives, Mrs. Phyllis lee and Mrs.Cori Burbach. So, this is a good start to live with hope and more confidence.
One week has gone, but I have acquired a plethora of useful knowledge in different subject areas. First and foremost, the introduction of the City of Dubuque is of crucial foundation for the new comers and so City manager presented city’s premal information and approaches how to organise and collaborate by and for citizens. This enabled me to know their vision that “Dubuque is a viable, livable, and equitable community because they has embraced economic prosperity, environmental integrity, and social/cultural vibrancy to create a sustainable legacy for generations to come.”
For carrying on the vision as mentioned above, they determine the 12 key principles to be a road map to pave the way for sustainable community for the future namely Regional Economy, Smart Energy Use, Resource Management, Community Design, Green Buildings, Healthy Local Foods, Community Knowledge, Reasonable Mobility, Healthy Air, Clean Water, and Native Plants & Animals. From following these key points, I got a good opportunity to study flooding mitigation through Bee Branch Project that is set to cope with flood issues of the city, represented by Mr. Deron Muehring. In the similar field area, Mr. Willie O’Brien, a Water & Resource Recovery Center manager, showed us how this center works both in the lab and site visit. Thus, this can provide me with technical experience and to clearly see the whole process to recover water quality.
Apart from that, I had a coffee meeting on community health needs assessment with Mary Rose Corrigan, a representative official from her department. Also, I gained more knowledge how her department to carry on the tasks, and how can I absorb and adapt the key methods to work in my home nation. In terms of meeting with planning services department, Mrs Laura Carstens, a Planning Services Manager, said that planning is a backbone network of the city. She shared knowledge and approaches for planning to drive the community to sustainability. I inclined to agree with this because the more the most effective plan there is, moving towards to the sustainable community is of more simplicity due to having seen a clear picture of the whole city.
In the final task of the first week, I leaved for Iowa city and met Professor, PhD students and university of Iowa’s representatives. Those smart people gave me a warm welcome and showed the model for water management in an urban area. More importantly, they shared Iowa watershed approach by using reliable integrated data from various subject areas to be grouped into informatics system. This helped broaden idea and make a mental image how to apply this excellent technique to my department’s duty of my native land, Thailand.
From where I stand, it can be stated that Dubuque has steadily driven its community to prosperous yet sustainable under carrying on the task in accordance with the 12 key principles as previously mentioned and this is why city was called that the Masterpiece on the Mississippi.
Environmental Official, Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand