Now accepting nominations for the 2016 Hagie Heritage Award


Mary Lewis (left) and Beth Lynch (center), were our 2015 Hagie Heritage Award recipients. Lewis and Lynch were recognized for their extensive conservation efforts, including the removal of garlic mustard from area parks.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation invites you, your agency, partners or friends to nominate an outstanding Iowa conservationist for the 2016 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award.

The nomination process is easy and a great way to bring deserved recognition for your nominee and for the nominating organization(s). Nominations are due Friday, August 5, 2016.

The annual Hagie Award recognizes Iowans “who have demonstrated an extraordinary personal service and commitment to improving the quality of Iowa’s natural environment and who encourage others to do the same.” The award generally goes to volunteers, but professional nominees are eligible if their efforts clearly go well beyond their job duties.

For more information on the Hagie Heritage Award and nomination process, visit the INHF website at or call 515-288-1846 for a printed copy. Please send all correspondence and questions to Katie Bandurski, INHF communications intern, via e-mail at or by mail to:

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Attn: Katie Bandurski
505 Fifth Ave, Suite 444
Des Moines, IA 50309-2321

All nominations must be received by August 5, 2016.

Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award

Recognizes Iowans who devote outstanding voluntary, personal service and commitment to improving the quality of Iowa’s natural environment and who encourage others to do the same.

Winners receive $1,000 cash and a hand-carved acorn sculpture. The Hagie grandchildren inherited a farm in Henry County and income from this farm was used by Janice Hagie Shindel of Florida and Ila Jeanne Hagie Logan of Moville, Iowa, to create an endowment for this award in memory of their parents, Lawrence and Eula Hagie.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Only individuals are eligible — group nominations will not be considered.
  • Nominees must show dedication and commitment to the environment.
  • Letters of recommendation for deceased persons will not be considered.
  • Nominees do not seek recognition as motivation for their work in the environment, but simply believe in what they are doing.
  • Nominees are selected for their personal conservation/environmental accomplishments instead of (or in addition to) professional conservation/environmental accomplishments.
  • Nominees must show a long-term commitment to conservation/environmental projects (issues). Financial contributions are not sufficient basis for nomination.
  • Nominees must be Iowans, but their accomplishments need not be limited to Iowa and can be of regional or national significance.
  • Nominees’ activities and accomplishments must be in line with INHF’s mission: building partnerships and educating Iowans to protect, preserve and enhance Iowa’s natural resources for future generations.

Nomination process:

  • INHF must receive two letters of recommendation for each nominee no later than August 5, 2016.
  • Nominators should coordinate their letters so as to present a well-rounded overview of the nominee’s contributions to the environment/conservation.
  • Nominators must clearly state whom they are nominating. If they are nominating a couple, both letters of recommendation must identify both nominees by name.
  • Letters of recommendation should include the name(s), address and telephone number(s) of both the nominee and the nominator.
  • Letters of recommendation should include a resume of the nominee’s voluntary conservation/environmental accomplishments.
  • Letters of recommendation may be resubmitted in future years if the nominee is not selected.
  • INHF staff are not eligible to be nominated and may not nominate others.

Selection and announcement process overview:

  • All nominators receive a letter confirming receipt of their letters and the validity of the nomination.
  • All nominees receive a letter of congratulations announcing their nomination and the names of the people who nominated them.
  • The names of the nominators will not be revealed to the public, only to the respective nominee.
  • A three-person selection committee comprised of INHF board members and/or advisors is appointed each year by the Chairman of the Board. It is preferable that the committee includes one board member or advisor who has previously served on the selection committee, to provide experience and continuity to the selection process.
  • The committee members review the nominations and meet once to choose the winner.
  • During the informal selection discussion, the committee will remain nonpolitical and no pressure will be applied in the course of choosing the winner. The format of nomination materials should not bias the selection process, as this is a grassroots campaign.
  • The winner and their nominators are notified, and arrangements are made to present the award at a time and place that is convenient and meaningful to them. The award nominators and winner will take the lead on an event. If they do not want to take the lead in hosting, the award will be presented at an INHF Board meeting or other convenient event, such as an Iowa Association of County Conservation Board event.
  • All decisions and conversations of the selection committee are kept confidential until the selection and event plans are announced to the public.
  • INHF arranges for local and statewide publicity when announcing the winner and presenting the award.
  • Nominees who are not chosen are notified.


Acorn cookies to spice up your Thanksgiving

Here at INHF, we’re getting into the Thanksgiving spirit! Learn how to make these acorn-shaped cookies for any holiday gathering!


1 package oreos, crushed
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
Pecans, finely crushed
Pretzel sticks, broken into thirds


1. Mix oreos and cream cheese together. Blend well.
2. Take 1 Tbsp. of the mixture and form into an oval, then pinch the end to create a tapered, acorn shape. 
3. Place the acorns on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour or until hard.
4. Melt 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips in the microwave. Take chilled acorns and dip in chocolate. Use a fork to move the acorn around as the mixture will be hot. Once thoroughly coated, remove and place on a new wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Use a toothpick to smoothly transfer the acorn to the baking sheet.
5. Repeat step 4 until all acorns are coated. Let them harden at room temperature.
6. Melt the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Take the hardened acorns and dip the wide end in chocolate again, then roll in crushed pecans.
7. Dip one end of a pretzel stick in chocolate, then press onto the top of the acorn.
8. Allow pretzels and nuts to set, then serve and enjoy!


DIY Thanksgiving Table Accessories

Table decorations that will impress your guests this Thanksgiving don’t need to be expensive or store bought. Instead of heading to the store, walk around your nearest oak tree and gather some acorns to make cute and easy napkin rings and center pieces!

napkin ringsNapkin Rings

What you’ll need:

  • 9 – 10 acorns per ring
  • Thin wire
  • Drill with small bit
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters


Drill tiny holes through the center of each acorn. Carefully thread the wire through each hole alternating which direction the top of the acorn is facing. Use the wire cutters to snip the wire to size, leaving a bit extra on either side of the last acorns. Twist the ends of the wire together with the pliers to complete the ring. Slide them over napkins and when conversation gets dull, use them as a talking point!

candles with attribution

Photo courtesy of Little Birdie Secrets

Acorn and candle centerpiece

What you’ll need:

  • Clear glass vase
  • Acorns
  • Candle(s)
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Scissors


Fill the vase ¾ of the way full with acorns. Insert the candle(s) and re-situate the acorns to position the candle(s) upright. To add a bit of embellishment, wrap twine around the center of the vase and use a piece of clear tape to keep it in place. If you prefer more exciting embellishment, you can also use a ribbon to make a bow.

To make sure the acorns you use for both of these projects are bug free, you may want to clean them first. One acorn crafter recommends soaking the acorns in water, lying them flat in a single layer on foil covered cookie sheet and baking them at 200 – 250 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. Check periodically to make sure they do not burn.

Show your INHF pride!

The newest official INHF swag has arrived! We’re excited to offer all of our new and renewing members Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation window clings, perfect for sporting your acorn pride around town.

Check them out!


If you love Iowa, you belong with us. To learn more about INHF membership, or how to renew your current membership, visit our website or call 515-288-1846.

Why an acorn?

All Rights Reserved INHF“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.” – English Proverb

At the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, we’ve learned firsthand that great things can grow from small beginnings. Just as Iowa’s state tree, the oak, grows to be a towering natural marvel from a tiny acorn.

Much like the oak tree, INHF grew from a small group of dedicated individuals to the 7,000-member organization we are today. Continue reading