Upper Iowa University alumni Zac ’11 and Isaac Sedlmayr ‘15 appear to have been born to protect the things that surround them. Growing up near Green Valley State Park in southwest Iowa, the siblings shared an undying love for nature and all it has to offer. Their fondest childhood memories are the ones they created together outdoors and this led to them enrolling in UIU’s conservation management program.
“Our dad was employed with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (retiring as its bureau chief of law enforcement in April 2017), so conservation was always a part of my life since I was a small boy,” Isaac said. “It is what I still have a passion for, and I guess that is why Zac and I both pursued conservation careers.”
“Nature is definitely where our love is,” Zac agreed. “The best times we spent together growing up were out in the field, chasing deer or squirrels together. I was there when Isaac shot his first goose. That was pretty awesome. Those type of moments in life are experiences that many people never forget.”
Although the two Creston (Iowa) High School graduates did not attend UIU at the same time, Isaac still instilled a little academic rivalry into his enrollment − a competition that his older brother admits was probably a little one-sided.
“Let’s just say, I was not a model student,” Zac said with a grin. “I would skip a class to go turkey hunting on the season’s opening day.”
While explaining their UIU educational experience, Isaac said, “I did not want a million people in my classes and did not want to be just a number on a computer. All the professors knew me by name and that was why I came here.”
“This is a great university, with small classes and knowledgeable faculty who are very connected to their field of studies,” Zac added. “You are not learning things here that you are not going to apply later in life.”
Before graduating, Isaac left something for future Peacocks to benefit from. As part of his senior project, he restored a 3.5-acre prairie near the Churbuck Prairie at Fayette Campus. The project was completed with the assistance of Associate Professor of Biology Jennifer Stoffel, Robert L. Fox Chair of Science Scott Figdore and Fayette County Conservation. The local conservation department also secured most of the funding for the space through a Pheasants Forever grant. The prairie area now complements UIU’s other existing outdoor classroom spaces that most field science students utilize in their coursework.
Protecting nature and country for future generations
Fast forward to the present, Zac is a senior conservation officer with the Idaho
Fish and Game, and Isaac has remained close to Fayette Campus while working with Fayette County Conservation’s Gilbertson Conservation Education Area near Elgin, Iowa. In addition, Technical Sergeant Zac Sedlmayr is an A-10 mechanic with the U.S. Air National Guard, and Specialist Isaac Sedlmayr is a Chinook mechanic with the U.S. Army National Guard.
Sharing a strong brotherhood, Zac tries to return to Iowa and visit Isaac and the entire family as often as he can. Not surprisingly, when Isaac was recently scheduled to be deployed, Zac returned to northeast Iowa and spent a couple weeks with his younger brother. During this time together they even returned to Fayette Campus and provided a conservation presentation as part of UIU’s Field Sciences Speaker/Activity Series.
“I think as we grew up, Isaac and I were always protectors and defenders of people, animals and the land,” said Zac. “I would say it is the way we were raised. The bottom line is that we are educators and that is why we do it. It becomes part of your life and it consumes you.”