Learn BannerSpeakers Bureau

Iowa IPL has a corps of skilled speakers whose environmental work is rooted in their faith tradition, and passionate environmental educators who know how to enthusiastically share green skills with diverse religious groups. We offer speakers and teachers who are ready to offer guest sermons, text studies, adult forum presentations, youth group programming and skills workshops on environmental themes in local congregations.

Unless otherwise noted, honorarium for a guest sermon or 1-hour workshop will be $150 (including $50 deposit to confirm date). To schedule one of these speakers for your congregation, email programs@iowaipl.org.

Browse our Speakers list:

Name                                                    Religious Tradition                    Location Availability

Bill Cox                                                     Catholic                                               Des Moines area, will consider other areas of state

Kamyar Enshayan                                  Quaker                                                Northeast quadrant of Iowa

Janet S. Everhart                                    United Methodist                             Des Moines area, willing to consider other areas

Marc Franke                                            N/A, raised Methodist                    Within 35 mi radius of Cedar Rapids. More below

Susan Guy                                                Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)      Will consider invitations on case-by-case basis

Rob Hogg                                                 Episcopal                                           Will consider invitations on case-by-case basis

Laura Jackson                                         Unitarian                                           Cedar Falls area, will consider other areas

Scott Koepke                                            N/A                                                    Des Moines area and Eastern Iowa, see below

Jim Martin-Schramm                            Lutheran (ELCA)                            Within 50 miles radius of Decorah

Wendy Vandewalle                                 Lutheran (ELCA)                            NE Iowa, will consider other parts of state

Sarah Paulos                                             Episcopal                                          All of Iowa

Jenny Quiner                                            Christian                                           Des Moines area


Grandpa CoxName: Bill Cox

Religious Tradition: Catholic

Programs offered: Adult Education, Youth Group

Program suitable for: Any congregation

Lives in: Des Moines

Geographic availability: Des Moines area, will consider other areas of the state







Program description:  Global climate change is an issue that impacts all of our lives, and will have increasingly dramatic effects for our children and grandchildren.

This presentation will focus on the underlying principles of global climate change. The scientific evidence of global climate change, our stewardship responsibilities as persons of faith, and suggestions for prudent action to reach sustainability will be addressed. Dialogue throughout the session is encouraged.

Bill Cox started his educational career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa. He is an experienced educator, recently retired from teaching physics at Dowling High School in Des Moines, with a Masters degree in Physics. He is concerned about the moral interactions with our fellow humans and our environment. Bill is a board member of Iowa IPL, serves on the Social Justice committee of his church, volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, and is president of the Urbandale Tree Board. He has presented this program over sixty times to a wide variety of groups.


Kamyar's photoName: Kamyar Enshayan

Religious Tradition: Quaker

Programs Offered: Adult Education

Program suitable for: Any congregation

Lives in: Cedar Falls, Iowa

Geographic availability: NE quadrant of Iowa



Program Description:  “Energy Wise” As we teeter on the peak of global oil supplies, and as troubles of fossil energy have become more obvious, there are claims of better energy sources just around corner: hydrogen fuel, next generation biofuels, clean coal, energy from algae, this is renewable, that will last forever, etc.  What questions could ordinary citizens ask that would reveal/clarify whether a proposed energy source will help humanity in the long run?  Join us to learn what these questions might be.

Kamyar Enshayan was trained in mechanical engineering, energy conservation, solar energy and climatology.  He directs University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy & Environmental Education. http://www.uni.edu/ceee/resources/staff


photoName: Janet S. Everhart

Religious Tradition: United Methodist (ordained elder)

Programs offered: Guest preaching, Adult or Youth Bible study focused on reading the Bible from an ecological lens

Program suitable for: any Jewish or Christian congregation

Lives in: Indianola, Iowa (September – May)

Geographic availability: Des Moines area, willing to consider other areas on a case by case basis






Program description: A single sermon, or a single or multi-session Bible study focused on ecological readings. In spring 2014 she lead a four-week ecumenical Bible study sponsored by Indianola’s Green Team.

Janet Everhart is an ordained United Methodist elder who served as a parish pastor for 17 years before earning a Ph.D. in Biblical Interpretation. She now teaches (since 2003) at Simpson College in Indianola. Her interest in connecting the Bible to the environment was sparked when she taught a summer seminary class and realized how much the Hebrew Bible prophets connect the health of the divine-human relationship to the well-being of Earth. In 2012, Jan compiled an extensive annotated bibliography of resources related to religion and ecology during a sabbatical semester and has developed teaching and preaching materials suitable for college classrooms and local congregations.


image001Name: Marc Franke

Religious Tradition: Raised Methodist, Church camp counselor, attended Bible Study through college.

Programs offered: Adult Education

Program suitable for: any congregation

Lives in: Cedar Rapids

Geographic availability: Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area. Within a 35 mile radius of Cedar Rapids. Will consider other locations on a case by case basis.

Program description: 

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a new opportunity to use clean, renewable energy for our transportation needs. Cars like the Nissan LEAF or Chevy Volt are so new that many are unaware of their operating economy, low maintenance and high reliability. Coupled with solar panels, EVs provide the ability to simply and easily create your own, local, electric “car fuel”. “Fuel” that will never go up in price prior to a holiday weekend or after a hurricane or upon rumors of unrest in faraway places.marc-testimonial-text-box

Marc will share what it is like on a practical basis to drive on electric power including questions of sustainability and how to navigate the federal and state incentives for both electric vehicles and solar panels for your home or business.

We are only “lifetime tenants” on the Earth. Our choices shape the world we will leave to all of God’s children.

Marc Franke: Marc is an engineer and worked for General Motors for 17 years. He served on the Board of Directors for the Iowa Renewable Energy Association for 5 years. Marc advocates clean, renewable energy and now drives an electric Nissan LEAF powered by solar panels from his property south of Cedar Rapids.


Susan Guy 3

Name: Rev. Susan Guy

Religious Tradition: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Programs offered: Adult Education

Program suitable for: Any Congregation

Lives in: Des Moines

Geographic availability: will consider invitations on a case-by-case basis






Program description:  “People of Faith Responding to the Call to Climate Action” As people of faith, why is it our concern, our responsibility to take action to bring about a more stable climate? And what can we do about it? This presentation on the religious response to climate change will include a peek at what our faith traditions have to say to us about this responsibility, a brief review of climate change impacts and solutions, and a chance to sharpen your own persuasive argument – your own personal story about why you care to do something about climate change as a person of faith.

Rev. Susan Guy Susan has served as the Executive Director at Iowa IPL since 2010.  She is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with an M. Div. from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, a B.A. from Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia, and a certificate in Spiritual Direction.  Prior to Iowa IPL, Susan served as a pastor in both Disciples of Christ and United Methodist congregations, focusing on social justice ministries.  Currently Susan serves on the Campaigns Committee for the national Interfaith Power & Light organization and as the Iowa leader on the Carbon Pollutions Rule campaign for the RE-AMP network. She has given presentations and served on panels throughout Iowa and the Midwest. Susan believes that climate change is a moral issue, disproportionately impacting those who are most vulnerable in our world. She gets her motivation and inspiration from her two sons.


Name: Rob HoHogg-Robertgg

Religious Tradition: Episcopal

Programs offered: Adult Education, Guest Sermon

Program suitable for: Any congregation

Lives in: Cedar Rapids

Geographic availability: Will consider invitations on case-by-case basis






Program description: Rob Hogg calls the movement for climate action and sustainability the defining moral challenge of this century. Having represented Cedar Rapids during the unprecedented flood of 2008, he speaks with “a dose of reality” about climate change.

Rob Hogg is a leading advocate for climate action in Iowa. He serves as an Iowa state senator from Cedar Rapids. He is the author of America’s Climate Century:  What Climate Change Means for America in the 21st Century and What Americans Can Do About It. (2013) He previously served on the Iowa Interfaith Power & Light Board of Directors and as a global warming project coordinator for Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa in 1999-2000.


LJackson-photoName: Laura Jackson

Religious Tradition: Unitarian

Programs offered: Adult Education

Programs suitable for: Any congregation

Lives in: Cedar Falls

Geographic availability: Within 50 mile radius of Cedar Falls, will consider other invitations on case-by-case basis



Program description: Building resilience for a warming world. Participants will explore how we create resilience in our personal lives and then apply this to the question of building resilience to climate change in our society. We can also go over some of the science of climate change if that is helpful. Examples of agricultural practices and food systems that support ecosystem resilience will be discussed.

Laura Jackson is Director of the Tallgrass Prairie Center and Professor of Biology at the University of Northern Iowa. She received her bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. She has been a faculty member of the University of Northern Iowa since 1993, teaching courses in conservation biology, ecology and environmental studies. Her scholarship has focused on the restoration of biological diversity in agriculture landscapes, and the dynamics of seeds and seedlings in tallgrass prairie restoration. She is the coeditor with Dana Jackson of The Farm as Natural Habitat: Reconnecting Food Systems with Ecosystems (2002).


ICPL-Garden-with-LeoName: Scott Koepke

Religious Tradition: N/A

Programs offered: Adult education, garden skills workshop for all ages

Programs suitable for: Any congregation

Lives in: Iowa City

Geographic availability: Des Moines and Eastern Iowa. Will consider invitations on case-by-case basis.



Program descriptions:

For Adults:

Life Skill Garden: This presentation answers the question, “Why should we grow a vegetable garden?” If you are considering planting a vegetable garden on your congregation’s grounds, this presentation will help you persuade your congregation to support the idea. This presentation will also cover the basic considerations of a garden project. Besides the obvious benefit of growing food for the needy, the edible landscape is a natural classroom where all curricula can be integrated. Beginning with learning the connection between soil health to healthy plants, to healthy food, and to healthy people.  Gardening can also offering social healing of individuals, and of their communities – especially at-risk communities. Learning the link between biodiversity and balance necessary for a healthy garden can foster empathy and tolerance for peaceful conflict resolution in human relations. Join Soilmates founder Scott Koepke as we “walk” through the garden and learn balance, respect, patience, nurturance, resilence, healthy choices, trust, humility and listening!

51%:  This adult education presentation will examine the question of why most of what we eat today is not grown in Iowa, and most of what we throw away today could be composted.  In this presentation we examine some of the economic, cultural and policy reasons why we import most of our food in an agricultural state, why we bury resources for potential plant food at the rate we do, and the encouraging steps being taken to reverse those trends.  Let’s “close the food loop”: as we increase food security by producing and procuring more food locally, we need to know that if it isn’t consumed, it need not be wasted but can be transformed in the ingredients to build soil, food and communities!

Let’s Eat:  This is Soilmates’ one hour Gardening 101 course, from seed to harvest. Scott walks through the whole process of growing a garden to raise food for hunger relief. Including soil prep (the foundational key!), seed selection, goals, mapping or placements, designs, companions, tools, water options, windbreaks, mulch, thinning, weeding, organic controls, season extensions, compost systems design, and more. For beginners, but also a useful brush-up for veteran gardeners.

Can be delivered as a talk (illustrated with props) to reinforce some basics before the group commits to a project, or as on-site consultation once a congregation has decided to break ground. Logistics of presentation can be flexible to suit requesting congregation.

Scott has worked with four congregations in Iowa already who are successfully growing for their local food pantries.

For Children and Youth:

Let’s Eat, instruction in basic nutrition and good production, (for Primary grades.)

Food For The Food, composting education, what Scott calls “closing the food loop”: what is grown and not consumed is not wasted but transformed into the organic matter that becomes the nutrients for the next cycle of plants, (for Primary Grades.)

Soil First, combines both gardening and compost management with a prominent theme of biodiversity. (for Middle schoolers)

Where the Soil Meets the Root, the biology and chemistry of soil science. (for High Schoolers)

Let’s Grow It Here, the economics and politics of local food systems (for High Schoolers).

Lifeskill Garden covers the eight lifeskills of Balance, Respect, Patience, Nurturance, Resilience, Healthy Choices, Trust and Listening, all of which are learned in the context of nature’s classroom, the garden. (for at-risk students.)

Fun, engaging props abound in all Soilmates gatherings: compost corrals, red wiggler worms, seeds, transplants, roots, garden tools, microscopes, living walls, mudshakes, crafts, and a newly-added aquaponics demo.

Children and youth programs are well suited for Sunday school, VBS, or other educational settings.


SoilmatesScott Koepke Following his service in the Peace Corps, Scott Koepke founded Soilmates, an interactive, organic garden education and compost service for children sponsored by New Pioneer Food Co-op.  He teaches seven classes, primarily in the public school districts, focusing on the content areas of gardening, nutrition, compost, soil science, local food economics and life skills.  He also administers the Seed Money Initiative, a grant for school & community garden clubs, consults on designs, and assists cafeterias on food waste diversion for compost.  Scott serves on the board of directors for the Free Lunch Program, and is a member of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors’ Food Policy Council.  He is a graduate of Iowa State University.


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Name: Jim Martin-Schramm

Religious Tradition: Lutheran (ELCA)

Programs offered: Adult Education

Program suitable for: Any Congregation

Lives in: Decorah, IA

Geographic availability: Within 50 mi radius of Decorah



Program Description: “People of Faith Responding to Climate Change” This presentation is an overview of the work of Iowa Interfaith Power and Light (Iowa IPL). It begins with a survey of key facts related to global climate change and them explores Iowa IPL’s response via educational programs and public policy advocacy. The presentation concludes with practical responses to the question, “What can we do?”


Jim Martin-Schramm joined the Religion faculty of Luther College in 1993. He is an ordained member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and holds a doctorate in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Most of his scholarship has focused on ethics and public policy. Jim recently completed a term of service on the board of the Iowa Wind Energy Association and is currently chair of the board of Iowa IPL and the Winneshiek Energy District. He also serves as President of Luther College Wind Energy Project, LLC and coordinates energy and climate programming for Luther’s Center for Sustainable Communities. He is the author of Climate Justice published by Fortress Press.


W VanDeWalle PhotoName: Wendy Vandewalle

Religious Tradition: Lutheran (ELCA)

Programs offered: Adult Education, Temple Talks

Program suitable for: Any congregation

Lives in: Brandon, Iowa

Geographic availability: NE Iowa, will consider other locations in the state







Program description: Wendy is offering a PowerPoint program that explains how climate change is caused by humans and how it affects everyone both as a citizen of this earth and of the state of Iowa. In this talk Wendy also speaks about how our faith traditions require us to care for the poor and climate change is going to unjustly affect them the most. When Moses crossed into the Promised Land, God said “Chose life and follow my decrees or disobey and chose death and destruction.” Which path have we chosen? As part of her talk, Wendy provides action items and encourages you to have a conversation with your neighbor and your governmental representatives.

Wendy Vandewalle is married with two teenage girls. Her faith and love of nature have recently combined to instill a passion for speaking up about climate change. This has led to her step out of her comfort zone and she highly recommends it! She has met many great people with the same passion and has attended the Climate Reality Leadership Training program. Wendy majored in Biology at Luther College and now works part-time for Blue Sky Solar. Her home has geothermal and solar pv panels. She has started a group called “Sustainable Independence” to work on climate change locally.


SarahName: Sarah Paulos

Religious Tradition: Episcopal

Programs offered: Adult Education, Training workshops for Green Teams

Program suitable for: Any Congregation

Lives in: Cedar Falls

Geographic Availability: All of Iowa




Program descriptions:

Cool Congregations is a program for people of faith across Iowa to reduce climate change in our own homes. This Iowa IPL program has garnered national recognition for inspiring and educating people to be faithful stewards of Earth. We encourage action by teaching participants about simple ways to conserve energy, be more energy efficient, and utilize renewable energy.

As a participant in a Cool Congregations program you attend a series of small groups by a trained leader to measure your carbon footprint, explore ways to reduce your footprint, make a faith- based pledge to reduce your footprint, and meet to celebrate your successes and build community. Together, these steps help you save money while reducing climate change.

We offer a 3-hour training program for Green Teams (or newly forming Green Teams) to prepare them to offer this Cool Congregations program to their own congregational members. So far we have facilitated about 30 workshops and have trained representatives from more than 250 Iowa congregations! Inquire about pricing. Read more here.

Food • Faith • Climate: Connecting the Dots  This program provides education on how our “foodprint”—or the carbon emissions resulting from our food practices—contributes to climate change. It also explores how our faith traditions call us to respond with practical solutions.

How was my food produced? How was it packaged? How was it processed? These are important questions, because as much as one third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are connected to our food choices!

This 90-minute workshop focuses on solutions to the climate crisis that can be found at the end of our fork. As a participant, you will examine your household’s food practices and create a plan to make more climate-friendly choices. Inquire about pricing. Read more here. 

People of Faith Responding to the Call to Climate Action  As people of faith, why is it our concern, our responsibility to take action to bring about a more stable climate? And what can we do about it? This presentation on the religious response to climate change will include a peek at what our faith traditions have to say to us about this responsibility, a brief review of climate change impacts and solutions, and a chance to sharpen your own persuasive argument – your own personal story about why you care to do something about climate change as a person of faith.

Description of Speaker: Sarah is the creator of the Cool Congregations program, which she brought to over 400 congregations in 6 years in Iowa and 15 other states. It is now a program of the national Interfaith Power and Light organization. Among other programs she developed for Iowa IPL is Food, Faith, Climate: Connecting the Dots. Sarah helped design and deliver Cool Neighbors, a neighborhood energy reduction challenge between historic neighborhood associations, and worked with Yards for Kids, a neighborhood toxics reduction program, both based out of the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa.


jenny-quiner-1Name: Jenny Quiner

Religious Tradition: Christian

Programs offered: Adult Education, skills workshop

Program suitable for: Any Congregation

Lives in: Des Moines

Geographic Availability: Des Moines area





Program Description: “Grow Foods Not Lawns” is a movement across the US which helps people convert their lawns into usable grow space for food. Jenny’s presentation describes her experiences starting an urban farm in Des Moines, and will help others create and manage a home garden. While lawns can be beautiful, they are monocrops that are not enriching our environment. Converting lawns to food gardens have many positive impacts on our food systems, the environment, and personal health.


Jenny Quiner is the owner of Dogpatch Urban Gardens,  a for-profit urban farm in Des Moines. fall-produce-dugShe was a science teacher at Dowling Catholic High School for 6 years, but decided to follow her life passion and started the urban farm in the spring of 2016. She has a passion for nature, the environment, health, and local food systems. She is married and a mother of three young boys (Oliver – 5, Walter – 3, and Lewis – 1) and loves being able to raise her children in an environment knowing where their food comes from.


Editors note: Jenny was recently chosen the “Partner of the Year” at the Des Moines Urban Ambassadors FriendRaiser event. The Urban Ambassadors mission is to, “Help you clarify your sustainability goals, connect you with local resources, and make a positive impact in your community for a healthier planet.”