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Learn About Resources Available from Silos & Smokestacks at Annual Conference

Northeastern, IA— Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) will showcase resources available during their annual conference, Living Landscape–Iowa’s Hidden Treasure, on March 21-22, 2006 in Decorah, Iowa, at Hotel Winneshiek. Topics covered will focus on skills for heritage development and resources available from SSNHA and other organizations.

Through a variety of programs, SSNHA provides assistance to sites and attractions, community volunteers and leaders, tourism professionals, local and state governments, regional organizations, and preservationists. Participants at the conference will receive a toolkit of resources in addition to learning about several opportunities from staff.

During the two-day conference, participants will also have the opportunity to acquire skills for heritage development by attending various educational sessions. Topics covered will focus on collecting oral histories and learning how visitor data collection can prove beneficial to marketing plans. Speakers will discuss developing and coordinating strong volunteer programs and a case study of preserving an historic site using volunteer efforts. The conference also includes information on the educational website CampSilos, and preparing for group travelers. Off-site activities, including field trips to The Dairy Center and Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, are also planned.

In addition, two keynote speakers will be featured throughout the conference. The first day will begin with Chuck Offenburger reflecting on his 40 years of writing experience based on the people, places and events of Iowa. Offenburger will also suggest ways in which we can attract more visitors to Iowa. The following day will spotlight KGAN Channel 2’s Iowa Traveler, Cary J. Hahn. He will share a few highlights of his travels through Iowa and answer any questions related to the Iowa Traveler.
“We are pleased to offer these educational sessions,” said Don Short, SSNHA Executive Director. “Heritage and cultural tourism is a growing market, and we want to assist in keeping Iowa at the forefront of this field.”

Registration for the two-day event is $100, due by March 10. Additional organization members or spouses will be charged $75.

A pre-conference workshop, “Navigating the Landscape of Grant Funding”, will be held on Monday, March 20, at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. The workshop will focus on identifying grant opportunities and writing successful proposals. The cost for the pre-conference workshop is $49 with conference registration and $59 without.

For more information about this conference and how to register, visit www.silosandsmokestacks.org or call 319.234.4567.

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area is one of 27 federally designated heritage areas in the nation and is an Affiliated Area of the National Park Service. The Heritage Area covers 37 counties in the northeast quadrant of Iowa. Interstate 80 borders it on the south and Interstate 35 borders it on the west. Through a network of sites, programs and events, SSNHA interprets farm life, agribusiness, and rural communities – past and present.

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