Wonder and water – reflections on my second Father’s Day

By Adam Sodders, Communications Specialist

Adam Sodders

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (IAWA) – Central Iowa has been the place my great grandpa, grandpa, dad, I have all called home over the last century or so, and in 2022 a fifth name was added tothe list: Milo.

As a young father, it’s impossible not to think about my own childhood as I guide Milo through his. My wife, Mady, and I continue to adapt to our bright, energetic, adorable (and sometimes mischievous) nearly-2-year-old, and we’ve learned that outdoor time, especially by the water, is a win-win for everyone.

Whether we pud around the yard or walk to a local park, I’ve learned that many things I take for granted are deeply interesting to Milo. Distant dog barks, the wind rustling tree branches, cold raindrops and the sidewalk puddles they create – Milo seems in tune with all of it.

As we’ve ventured outside more this spring, I’ve found myself thinking more about the natural resources we enjoy. As an avid fisherman, a less-avid hunter and, of course, a member of the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance team, I’ve gained much insight about the water quality successes, efforts, and challenges of great import to families across Iowa.

Time outside is time well spent with a toddler.

I’m inspired by the data and efforts I’ve seen in just the past several months, like the news that nearly 4 million cover crop acres were planted statewide in 2022 (compared to some thousands just 10 years prior), or the continued expansion of the Batch & Build approach, which adds edge-of-field water quality practices in high-impact spots.

It’s also critical to be realistic about the work yet to be done. We need to see more cover crop acres, more fields in no-till or reduced tillage, more edge-of-field practices and wetlands. A key to getting there will be working with farmers – supporting them in finding the practices that work best on their farm – and making the “conservation” practices” of today just regular old “practices.”

As a communications specialist, I play a small role helping connect farmers, landowners, and other key folks to the info they need to make those decisions. I’m not out there in the field every day, but I hope I’m helping those who are.

Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy the precious outdoor time with my little one this year and beyond – the sudden sprints and slow moments alike. And when our outside adventures bring us, as they often do, to the lakeside or creekbank, I will continue encouraging Milo’s curiosity and connection with his environment.

It’s not glamorous, but I do what I can to encourage stewardship in my son. After all, in a matter of decades it will be Milo and his peers who must care for those lakes, streams, farm fields and forests.

That vision is what fuels me – in my role as a father and in my work every day.

Published June 14, 2024