Board of Directors

1000 Friends of Iowa’s Board of Directors is comprised of citizens representing a wide array of backgrounds. The size of the Board varies from nine to twenty-one members. Board members serve three-year terms, and may be re-appointed. During our Annual meeting we will elect several new members. If you would like to be considered, or know someone who might be, see our “Featured Opportunities” page for more information, and thank you for your interest!

Laura Belin, Chair (Windsor Heights)

Laura grew up in Windsor Heights and moved back to her family home in 2002 after living out of state for 15 years. “Buy Local” was the 1000 Friends of Iowa program that first caught her attention, even before she moved back to Iowa. Her grandfathers owned small businesses, and she strongly supports locally owned “main street” businesses. Other area of interests include educating citizens on the impact of current economic, transportation, and tax policies, as well as advocating for changes that would better serve our communities and protect our natural resources.. Laura joined the 1000 Friends of Iowa board in 2002 and served as board president in 2005. She also serves as the1000 Friends of Iowa representative on the Board of Directors for the Iowa Environmental Council.

Doug Adamson, Vice Chair (Des Moines)

Doug is a landscape architect with a broad base of experience in sustainable, natural resource-based landscape architecture, planning, and urban design projects. In his work he focuses on concepts of sustainability and ecological regeneration. He integrates sensitive site design with the values of sustainable and regenerative landscapes. Doug is an expert in Eco-sensitive Site Specific Design, Sustainable Urban Design, Conservation Land Planning and Design (Low Impact Development), Corridor Planning and Streetscape Design, and Community and Neo-Traditional Development Master Planning. He is the past president of the Iowa Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Doug has been instrumental in ensuring our Best Development Awards Program is a success.

Jenny Olson, Treasurer (Kelley, IA)

Jenny has lived in various regions around the country, but has resided in Iowa for the last several years. She spent 12 years working in consulting engineering field with a focus on electrical and architectural lighting design and project management. Throughout her career, her work included small historical preservation projects and multi-building research facilities in a broad range of market sectors.  She currently lives outside of Kelley, Iowa where she is raising her family and beginning an adventure in farming. Her areas of interest include sustainable agriculture, land use, soil and water conservation, smart growth and local food.


Donna Taylor, Secretary (Des Moines)

Donna is a life-long Iowa resident. She received her BA in Mathematics Secondary Education from University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, and currently lives in Des Moines where she works as the Computer Training Specialist at Des Moines University. The programs she teaches include: Microsoft Office®, Adobe Acrobat, ANGEL (Learning Management System), DMU portal, Feedback Server (survey software), Adobe Connect (online meeting application), Photoshop Elements, and Camtasia (screen capturing program). She also has experience in web development, and obtained her Web Development certificate through Simpson College.

Mike Carberry (Iowa City, IA)

Mike is a native Iowan who grew up in Newell in Benton County.  He moved to the Iowa City area in the late 70’s and went to the University of Iowa in Business Administration.  He also has a certificate in non-profit management from Iowa State University. He founded Green States Solutions, an environmental advocacy organization in the 1990’s and still runs it today. Currently, he serves as a Johnson County  Supervisor and has pushed for better land use policies in the county, including helping to write an pass the Johnson County Wind Turbine ordinance.

Rebecca Kauten (Cedar Falls)

Rebecca is a life-long Iowan who grew up on a family farm in Northeast Iowa and has dedicated herself to soil and water conservation. Currently finishing her Doctorate at the University of Iowa, Rebecca serves as adjunct faculty at both University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa. Her work since 2004 has focused on  natural resource management with extensive, field-based urban stormwater management projects; assessing and measuring performance and engaging with local stakeholders intent on watersheds and localized water quality improvement.

Carolyn Uhlenhake-Walker (Des Moines)

Carolyn is a long time Des Moines resident and a retired school teacher. Carolyn still volunteers to work with students and is a mentor and tutor. A life-long activist, Carolyn is active in a number of organizations and is the Co-Chair of the Des Moines Citizens Taskforce on Sustainability.

Mary Brubaker (Des Moines)

Mary is a life-long resident of Des Moines, and has been a familiar face on Iowa televisions for 40 years. From 1967-1995 she worked as Producer, News Reporter, and Talk Show Host at KCCI-TV (CBS affiliate) in Des Moines. Her work included the shows Midday, Timecapsule, and Straight Talk, as well as 25 years with the MDA Telethons. A dedicated community activist, she has served on more than two dozen civic boards and commissions. Her work has garnered her numerous civic awards, including the YWCA Woman of Achievement (1988), Muscular Dystrophy Assoc. Hall of Fame, Drake University Community Service Award, and the VSA Arts Iowa Volunteer Award.

Drake Larsen (Ames)

Drake is a recent graduate of ISU with a MS in Sustainable Agriculture. He is currently working as a research associate in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at ISU examining Iowa farmers’ perspectives on strategic placement of perennial conservation practices. A native of central Iowa, Drake was active in FFA and has a deep interest in waterfowl biology and wetlands conservation. He operated a successful guide business resulting in thousands of hours spent on Iowa’s landscape where he witnessed the impact of our vast corn monoculture on wildlife and the consequences of “irresponsible” agricultural practices. Drake and his wife, Sarah, currently live in Ames.

Elizabeth I. Holland, J.D. Ex-Officio (Chicago)

Elizabeth is the Chief Executive Officer of Abbell Credit Corporation, whose properties include Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines. Abbell Credit Corporation is a 60-year old private real estate investment, development, and management company with an approximately 2 million/sf portfolio, comprised of shopping center, office, and enclosed mall properties. She is responsible for overseeing all business and legal matters, including development, management, financing, leasing, capital improvements, and investor and tenant relations. Ms. Holland is active in the International Council of Shopping Centers, currently serving as a member of the Board of Trustees, chair of the Economic Sub-Committee, and the Central States Government Relations chair. In addition, Ms. Holland represents the ICSC on the Campaign for Sensible Growth Steering Committee and has served on the board of directors of the Uptown Redevelopment Corporation for the past five years.

People United for Responsible Land Use