Support an INHF intern

hannahgivingtuesday-emailVERTThis Giving Tuesday,
support an INHF intern.
Each summer, an INHF land stewardship intern devotes
440 hours to Iowa’s land.
Along with a crew of their peers, they remove invasive species that threaten native ecosystems. They restore habitat for Iowa’s pollinators, birds and other wildlife. Most importantly, they make meaningful, lasting change for the future of Iowa’s natural resources.

They are the next generation

of Iowa conservationists, and they wouldn’t be able to do such great work without your support.

On Dec. 1, help INHF ensure the future of our internship program. Make a gift to support an INHF intern, and help foster the next generation of Iowa’s land stewards.

Where will you #optoutside in Iowa this Friday?


In recent years, retailers have started opening their doors for Black Friday shopping before the pumpkin pie has even been served. But in a refreshing contrast, REI announced  a few weeks ago that they were closing on Black Friday, urging consumers to ditch the mall and instead #OptOutside.

INHF wants to hear about your post-Thanksgiving adventures. Will you be waking up from a food coma and exploring a local park? Or are you working up another appetite by hiking the trails? Find a new spot to adventure or add your own on our interactive Iowa map — let us know where you’re going to #OptOutside.

Find out how to add your own pin here.


Hagie Heritage Award presented in Decorah


On Friday, Nov. 13, INHF presented the annual Lawrence & Eula Hagie Heritage Award to Mary Lewis and Beth Lynch at Phelps Park in Decorah, Iowa.

The Hagie award recognizes Iowans who devote outstanding personal service to Iowa’s natural heritage and who encourage others to do the same. This year’s recipients showed a dedication to conservation with their efforts to remove invasive garlic mustard from Decorah-area parks.

The ceremony began at 4 p.m. with over 60 people in attendance. A reception was then held at T-Bock’s Sports Bar and Grill.

“It was a chance for people of similar passion for the environment to connect, get excited, exchange ideas,” said Mary Lewis. “It’s so good to have the work recognized and let people know it really is possible to restore our woodlands. This is a huge honor for me and Beth, and rightfully belongs also to all the people who have helped over the years in this effort.”

Lynch and Lewis are current and former Luther College biology instructors, respectively, and have dedicated their time inside and outside the classroom to many causes, including the removal of garlic mustard from Decorah parks.

“The Hagie Award often recognizes volunteers, but it can also go to conservation professionals who are going above and beyond their professional duties,” said Brian Fankhauser, INHF’s blufflands program director. “Beth and Mary are a perfect example of that. Not only do they teach students about biology, ecology and other conservation subjects, they also saw a need in the community and took it upon themselves to do something about it. And they’ve inspired others to do something as well.”


INHF projects receive REAP funding

Every year, REAP funding benefits Iowa’s great outdoors. This fall, a handful of REAP grants were awarded to INHF projects. Many of these projects are adjacent to rivers and waterways, and their protection will help to improve water quality in these areas. The INHF projects that received REAP grants are:


An Oak tree on the Doyle addition in Guthrie County.

Springbrook Wildlife Management Area, Doyle addition
Guthrie County

An added 48 acres of land adjacent to Springbrook State Park and Springbrook Wildlife Management Area, the Doyle addition brings the entire complex up to 1,413 acres of protected land. The area is known for its wildlife habitat and contiguous oak/hickory wood. Continue reading

Meet Jodi Baker


Help us give a big, warm welcome to INHF’s new Finance Director, Jodi Baker!

Baker grew up on a rural farm and attended Iowa State University. She graduated with a degree in accounting and then made her way to Des Moines. For the past couple of years she’s been working on her own with temporary contract control jobs, but was eager to get back into the nonprofit world.

In the past, Baker has worked for school districts and has extensive nonprofit experience. When she saw INHF’s mission statement, she wanted to help.

“Honestly,” she said, “when I saw the advertisement it was the mission.” Land and water protection are the things that Baker is most excited about in coming to work for INHF. She says, “I’m ready to do my small part, get used to things, and get in on the ground.”

Welcome to the INHF family, Jodi! We’re excited too!

2016 calendars have arrived!


Each year, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation releases a calendar that highlights Iowa’s beautiful, natural landscapes. The 2016 calendars have arrived!

The calendar is filled with fun: 60 dates of Iowa events like RAGBRAI and the Iowa State Fair, plus lots of nature events for all ages taking place throughout Iowa. The calendar is always designed by a Robert R. Buckmaster graphic design intern. This years designer is Phong Doung, a Drake University recent graduate.

Calendars are $12 and can be purchased online. Members: Use the discount code “acornlove” for 10% off your order!

If you are one of our 7,000+ members and have given $25 or more this year, you will receive your calendar in the mail soon! Continue reading

Where do you get outdoors in Iowa?

IMG_2570INHF celebrated the grand opening of REI in West Des Moines by inviting Iowans to share their favorite places to get outdoors. We combined their picks with a few of our own, but now we want to hear from you! Pin a favorite trail, park, lake or other location to our interactive online map here:

To get started, click “Edit.” Next, type the name of your favorite spot into the search bar, and Google will find the location. Select the correct location, and click “Add to Map.” You can also add a pin manually by zooming in and selecting the “Add Marker” button underneath the search bar. Type in the location’s name and you’re good to go!

We can’t wait to see your top picks!


REAP In Your Region: High Trestle Trail, Gray’s Lake, Chichaqua Bottoms and more

For the next six weeks, INHF will be sharing the impact Iowa’s REAP program has in communities throughout the state. The Iowa DNR is hosting regional REAP Assemblies until Nov. 5, local meetings that allow residents to learn more about REAP and play a role in the programs policies and projects.


Region 11
Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Marion, Polk, Story, Warren

REAP Assembly – Bondurant
Nov. 5, 2015 | Open house: 6-6:30 p.m., Assembly: 6:30-8 p.m.
Bondurant Public Library (104 2nd St. NE, Bondurant, IA 50035)



Chichaqua Bottoms

Located just east of Ankeny, the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt has been expanded and protected for decades. It is home to various types of wildlife, including migrating waterfowl and several rare and declining species. Straddling Polk and Jasper counties along the Skunk River, the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt now contains more than 9,100 acres of wetlands and associated uplands. The wetlands slowly filter out runoff and remove contaminants, producing clean and clear water. Truly, Chichaqua’s benefits to Iowa’s land and water go beyond outdoor recreation.

REAP funding for this project: $104,875

Region 11
Region REAP Support (total): $32,142,517


Seed harvesting by moonlight

On Oct. 24, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the Polk County Conservation Board hosted their first ever moonlight seed harvest. On a slightly spooky night, the nearly-full moon peaked out of the clouds, leaving only dancing headlamps visible (and seeds, of course).

About 25 volunteers and a few Boy Scout troops came out to Chichaqua Bottoms, armed with headlamps and glow sticks. The group was ready to collect roundhead bush clover by moonlight.


At the end of the night volunteers were treated to a cozy bonfire, complete with s’mores and apple cider.

It was a great event for children and adults alike, and INHF hopes to host more night harvests. “It was a first-of-its-kind event for us,” said Mary Runkel, INHF volunteer coordinator. “The event seemed appropriate for the time of year, and it was a fun way to get kids onto the prairie and learn about species and the prairie habitat.”

Look for more volunteer opportunities on our website, and stay up to date by checking our volunteer schedule!


REAP In Your Region: Hitchcock Nature Area, Loess Hills and more

For the next six weeks, INHF will be sharing the impact Iowa’s REAP program has in communities throughout the state. The Iowa DNR is hosting regional REAP Assemblies until Nov. 5, local meetings that allow residents to learn more about REAP and play a role in the programs policies and projects.


Region 17
Pottawattamie, Harrison, Shelby, Cass

REAP Assembly – Council Bluffs
Nov. 4, 2015 | Open house: 6-6:30 p.m., Assembly: 6:30-8 p.m.
Breezy Lodge (39357 310th Street, Neola, IA 51559)

HNC fall sky SMALL


Hitchcock Nature Area

From hiking trails to the Missouri River floodplain, the Hitchcock Nature Area offers a variety of landscapes that many migrating species call home. Located 15 miles outside of Council Bluffs, the park has grown to 830 acres of trails, campgrounds, educational programs, and much more. The preserve is one of the best areas to view hawks and other raptors during the migrating season. Many Iowans come to enjoy the view from the lodge’s porch and walk the boardwalk. The Hitchcock Nature Area is only a success because of the constant stewardship and care Iowans put into the land.

REAP funding for this project: $770,800

Region 17
Region REAP Support (total): $17,797,659