October 20, 2023

Stephanie Oppel looks to her family for inspiration when it comes to helping ICON Water Trails reach its full potential as a recreation and placemaking attraction that can help the region attract and retain talent, and improve water quality throughout Central Iowa. She started as ICON’s new executive director on Sept. 25. Oppel grew up spending time outdoors picnicking and birdwatching at Big Creek. Her parents and grandparents went fossil hunting on Sundays, and she recalls getting up at 5 a.m. with her oldest child when he was little and watching the sunrise at Jester State Park near Granger. “Iowa’s spaces have provided such meaning for me personally that I am so thrilled to be here and start to contribute to advance this for the next generation of people,” she said.

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