In 1955, the State of Iowa authorized each county in Iowa the ability to form a County Conservation Board with some revenues from property taxes to be dedicated to the conservation of natural areas and for the education and recreation of the public. The Pottawattamie County Conservation Board (PCCB) was established in 1960. The first county park, Arrowhead Park, was purchased in 1962.
The PCCB currently has a five member board appointed by the Pottawattamie Board of Supervisors.
(From left: Carmen Thomson, Joyce Isaacson, Paul Koch, Chris Ruhaak, and Rick Saar)
Paul Koch, President, Appointed February 2008
Paul Koch is the primary creative artist and produces all of the works for Pottery by the Creek and teaches pottery classes at the Corning Center for the Fine Arts. From 1989 to 2002 Paul was the Executive Director at the Siena/Francis House, a homeless shelter for men and women located in Omaha, Nebraska. Paul also sits on the Credit Advisors Foundation and has previously been on the boards of Visiting Nurses Association, NCADD and Greater Omaha Community Action Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory.
Carmen Thomson, Vice President, Appointed February 2010
Carmen is a native of Gering, Nebraska, but has been a resident of Council Bluffs since 2004. Carmen holds a B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a M.S. in Fisheries Management from South Dakota State University. Carmen is a 10 year veteran of the National Park Service. She served for four years as the Resource Management Specialist at Niobrara National Scenic River near Valentine, NE and is currently serving as the Midwest Region Inventory and Monitoring Program Manager- a position she has held for six years and is duty-stationed out of Omaha. Carmen is the mother of two children;a son, Ty, and a daughter, Ashten.
Rick Saar, Secretary, Appointed February 2011
Rick Saar grew up on a farm on the west side of Treynor, graduated from Treynor High School, attended Iowa State University and received a B.S. in Agricultural Business. For nearly 28 years he worked in banking, focusing on ag, consumer and residential lending. He now works with Midwest Insurance Associates/Agriland Insurance Agency in Treynor. Rick has sat on the boards of the Bethany Lutheran Home Foundation and Home Boards as well as Finance Committee. Rick enjoys traditional archery and bow hunting and belongs to the Nebraska Traditional Archers and the Pottawattamie Bowhunters and serves as treasurer for both clubs. Rick and his wife Deb have two kids, son Dan and daughter Laura.
Chris Ruhaak, Member, Appointed July 2008
Chris Ruhaak owns and operates a photography and design studio in Council Bluffs, Iowa. A life-long avid outdoorsman, Chris shares his love of the outdoors with his wife Melanie and two boys Alexander and Jackson. Chris is active in the community, and due to the nature of his business interacts with thousands of people every year. Chris believes that it's important to stress environmental education and expansion of Pottawattamie County Parks.
Joyce Issacson, Member, Appointed March 2013
Joyce has worked for the East Pottawattamie County Farm Bureau for the past 15 years as an administrative assistant. She served on the East Pottawattamie County Extension Board in the early 1990’s and is an active volunteer for community organizations including the Macedonia Museum, Magic in Motion, and Pottawattamie community schools. Joyce’s passion for nature keeps her outdoors and translates into her hope to see parks and nature preserved for future generations. After spending her entire life living in town, Joyce and her husband moved to the country in 2006 and raise a variety of animals. They have two children and three grandchildren, Caeden, Teagan, and McCoy.