Apply Now: INHF’s fall communications internship

Kerri-Lois-cropped-2-239x300Test the waters in all aspects of communications — magazine writing, press releases, photography, social media, websites, blogs and more — with Iowa’s leading natural conservation organization.

Join Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation this fall as a communications intern. You’ll be working on media projects to help promote INHF’s work and mission. Applications are due Friday, August 5. 

Job description
The communications intern writes news releases and magazine articles about INHF projects, assists with special events (like our annual Hagie Heritage Award), writes blog posts, updates our website and social media, and much more. Depending on organizational needs and intern skills, he/she may also assist with public events, photography and occasional graphic design. Continue reading

Duane Sand: A career of unlocking conservation possibilities


Thirty-two years ago, Duane Sand asked me to help him with some summer communication about a concept he hoped would become part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It would give farmers an incentive to put their most erosive acres into grassland cover for ten years. Today you know it as CRP – the Conservation Reserve Program.

In his quiet, behind-the-scenes way, Duane has always been on the forefront of fresh concepts to protect land and water. He would be the last one to draw attention to his 40-year conservation career. But I believe his story can help to inspire a new generation of conservation thinkers who might follow their own paths of innovation for the good of the cause. Continue reading

Apply for INHF’s summer land stewardship internship

Looking for a summer internship? Want to help restore Iowa’s natural beauty while learning about ecology, land management, and wildlife? Then apply to be an INHF Land Stewardship intern!

Check out Matt’s story here  and read the description below to get a taste of what exactly the internship entails. Applications for the 2016 summer crew are due Sunday, January 24, 2016.

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!

Job Opening: Coalition Coordinator for Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy


Are you a team leader who has a passion for protecting Iowa’s great outdoors? Then apply for the Coalition Coordinator position for Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition!

The coordinator must be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, be flexible to change and possess strong organization skills. Among other duties, the Coalition Coordinator is responsible for organizing information and events, communicating effectively and conducting outreach programs.

Please visit the link here for a more detailed job description and to apply by October 21.

This is a temporary position, and the employment term is 8 months. If you have questions about the position, contact Kristen Aschenbrenner, external affairs manager at The Nature Conservancy in Iowa, at

From Iowa to Montana

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This week, INHF Land Stewardship Specialist Ryan Schmidt was called to western Montana to battle wildfires blazing in the state. Ryan completed National Wildland Fire Academy training in 2013, taking online courses and in-person sessions in Iowa and Missouri. Interested parties can earn Red Card certification all across the country at local training centers to become wildfire certified. Iowa is in the Eastern/Great Rivers Region.

This is the first time he’s been called to duty for the US Forest Service, but Ryan is no stranger to fire. As one-fourth of the Stewardship team, he manages INHF’s burn program, creating burn plans for INHF and partner properties throughout the spring season. In Iowa and other prairie states, fire is used as a management tool to create healthy habitat and ensure the diversity of prairies.

A dedicated conservationist, fighting wildfires has always been a dream for Ryan. “It’s something that’s been in my heart for a long time. I’m excited to see the action,” he said.

He’ll be working with a hand crew of 19 other conservation employees and firefighters from Iowa and Missouri. The 14-day shift will be located near Missoula, MT, stretching to Glacier National Park.

“Ryan will learn fire management skills in Montana that he’ll be able to bring back to Iowa and apply to his work with INHF,” said Joe McGovern, INHF president.

Melanie Louis, INHF land stewardship assistant, is also Red Card certified.

Please join us in wishing Ryan good luck and a safe journey!


Now Hiring: Finance Director


Combine your skill for finance and love of the outdoors into a new position open at Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation!

The Finance Director for Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation will be a nature enthusiast who is passionate about protecting Iowa’s beautiful natural areas for all Iowans to love and appreciate, and is prepared to invest her/his professional expertise and energy in the role of Finance Director to help us deliver on our mission.

Please submit a cover letter and resume by Sept. 4, 2015.

The next Finance Director will ideally bring:

  • A high level of technical competence in non-profit accounting.
  • The ability to successfully perform finance, accounting and reporting activity and problem-solving related to large, complex land acquisitions and grants.
  • Insight and analysis to equip leaders to set direction and make informed decisions that serve INHF well today and into the future.
  • A commitment to good stewardship of financial resources and to add value by finding opportunities to improve what we do and how we do it.
  • High integrity and a great reputation.


  • Bachelors degree in accounting or finance
  • Ten years of related experience including 5 years of experience with a nonprofit organization

Click here for a more detailed job description.


Submit a cover letter & resume to:

Kari Walker
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
505 5th Avenue, Suite 444
Des Moines, IA 50309


The future for floodplains


When rivers rise, the water can cut new channels in a process known as scour, which removes fertile topsoil. The damage shown above occurred on a property along the Upper Iowa River in Allamakee County.

So, what’s the deal with floodplains? Landowners with significant acres of cropland in high-risk areas on floodplains face the potential for significant crop loss and other property damage. There’s also a chance for scour, which occurs when flooded rivers begin to cut new channels, removing fertile topsoil.

What can be done? Good news! New technology has allowed mapping to predict flood risk and relative scour potential in Iowa. Since 2009, scientists at the University of Iowa Flood Center have partnered with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to map accurately flood predication throughout the state, watershed by watershed. Continue reading

Lending a hand to the land

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(All photos by Lexi Ruskell)

Over 70 people lent a hand to the land on July 15 at Cedar Hills Sand Prairie in Black Hawk County. The event was a collaboration between six Iowa land trusts, including INHF, and the University of Northern Iowa’s Tallgrass Prairie Center, which hosted the Iowa Prairie Conference. The Nature Conservancy’s land stewardship team led the slightly overcast volunteer day, though the weather conditions ended up being perfect for working in the open space of the prairie. Continue reading

Picture perfect prairies

A tour participant photographs a wood lily at the Stinson Prairie State Preserve.

A tour participant photographs a wood lily at Stinson Prairie State Preserve.

On Saturday, June 27, INHF president Joe McGovern led tours of three prairies in Kossuth County, co-sponsored by INHF, the Iowa Native Plant Society and the Iowa Prairie Network.

INHF vice president and development director Anita O’Gara and land stewardship director Erin Van Waus also attended the tours. “The neat thing about the day is that we had a variety of attendees – people who know prairie really well, those that enjoy photography and those that haven’t ever set foot on a prairie,” Van Waus said. “So it was a nice mix of attendees of all ages.” Continue reading