Common Ground

Logo - GreenWhite Transparent


Thank 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 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 publically, if at all. We will post more information here as that part of the project progresses.


Examples of stories collected from across Iowa - Coming Soon!

Join In

  • Start by registering. This will help us know who is participating and how we can support you!
  • 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.


Ready to Go?

If you are comfortable working with the resources provided here and recording your conversation on your smartphone or computer, go for it! Contact us if you need help.

See below for more options on how and where to record conversations if you'd like more assistance.


Submitting Files
When you are done and 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 project contact Lilly Jensen. If your files are small, you can also email them directly to Lilly Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • 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
  • 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


Equipment and Material Kit Rental

Decorah Public Library is generously serving as a distribution point for equipment and material kits for checkout that may help you in your prepartions. Ask at the front desk. Each kit contains:

  • Interview Guide (to help you prepare for your conversation)
  • Plug-in lapel microphones and splitter for smartphones and computers and instructions (to ensure higher sound quality)
  • Participant Information and Release forms
  • Instructions and guidance for submitting your files to Common Ground


Public Recording Hours

We have scheduled numerous public recording hours when we will be available with equipment and guidance. All you need to do is show up with your partners ready to have your conversation.

View the Public Recording Hours Calendar.

To ensure you have support during your desired timeframe, we highly recommend making a reservation, though walk-ins are welcome as time and space allows.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (563) 534-7145 to reserve a timeslot.

Group Recording Sessions

We are happy to work with organizations and groups--churches, residential facilities, youth organizations, schools, businesses, civic groups--to bring Common Ground to you! Contact us to discuss how we can set up recording sessions to build community and connection within your group by sharing and capturing their voices and stories.


Project Contact

Lilly Jensen
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(563) 534-7145
Project Supporters
Common Ground is a project of the Iowa Association of Naturalists. It is brought to Northeast Iowa by Winneshiek County Conservation with the assistance of the Decorah Public Library and other organizations.


2018-I-A-N-Small                   WCCBLogo Small

Decorah Public Library

Joomla templates by a4joomla