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Watching the Ukrainian diaspora from afar, this Iowa couple and an Oregon language testing company donated 1,500 books to Ukrainian refugee children

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

When Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukrainians, and those with strong Ukrainian ties all over the world, found themselves asking what they could do to help their families and friends affected by this war. One couple in Des Moines found a way.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to Olya Poputnikova-Santos, a Ukraine native living in Iowa, and Victor Santos, children's author and director of assessment and research forAvant Assessment, about their effort to provide books for Ukrainian children who've had to leave their homes.

Later in the podcast, we know that exercising in nature can have powerful benefits for physical and mental health. So what if your doctor wrote you a prescription for taking a walk in a beautiful natural area? That’s the idea behind Trail Rx at Hartman Reserve Nature Center in Cedar Falls. Dr. Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller joins the show to talk about this one of a kind program.


  • Victor Santos, children’s book author, director of assessment and research for Avant Assessment, a language testing company based in Eugene, Oregon
  • Olya Poputnikova-Santos, Ukraine native living in Iowa
  • Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, M.D., author, The Outdoor Adventurer's Guide to Forest Bathing
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa