Apply Now: INHF Blufflands Land Stewardship summer internship

Looking for a summer internship but don’t want to sit at a desk all day? Get outside and come work with INHF in northeastern Iowa!

We’re looking for four motivated individuals with a passion for preserving and protecting Iowa’s landscape. Have what it takes? Check out a recap from last year and read the description below. Applications for the 2016 summer crew are due Friday, Feb. 12.

Job description
Blufflands Land Stewardship interns work hard to maintain and restore native landscapes in extreme northeast Iowa. Interns will conduct needed land management and restoration on remnant and reconstructed prairies, woodlands, oak savannas and other natural areas owned or protected by INHF. Interns will use a variety of hand tools and chainsaws to help accomplish restoration goals.

Students selected for INHF’s Blufflands internship will learn from and work closely with landowners and working professionals in the field. Educational opportunities beyond the daily work experiences will be provided, including participation in regional natural resources conferences, which will expose interns to several conservationists and organizations in a concentrated setting. First aid, CPR and harassment training will be provided at the beginning of the internship.

The internship will give interns vital skills and experience for a career in conservation or land management, as well as a greater appreciation for the importance of our natural areas. This is a physically demanding, yet very rewarding internship!


Work examples
Much of the work will focus on prairie, oak savanna and woodland restoration with an emphasis on invasive species control. Control of species is by chainsaw, hand saw, digging, pulling and herbicide treatment. Removing Eastern Red Cedars from hill prairies, thinning oak woodlands of fire-intolerant tree species and pulling Wild Parsnip from reconstructed prairies are examples of some of the important restoration work that will be performed. Stream bank stabilization, fire break construction and prairie seed collection are other possible intern activities.

This internship is physically demanding, requiring fit, motivated individuals. Those with a positive attitude, eagerness to learn and desire to make our natural areas healthier are well-suited for this position. Interns will work exclusively outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions including heat, humidity and rain. Driving to various work sites (mostly in Winneshiek and Allamakee counties) is required, so interns must have a working vehicle. Carpooling is highly encouraged. Prior land management experience or a farm IMG_6334background is desirable, but not required. College students of any grade level, even freshmen, are eligible for this internship. Compatible majors to this internship include, but are not limited to: Animal Ecology, Botany, Biology, Forestry, Environmental Studies or Environmental Science.

NOTE: This internship does not supply lodging or meals.

Four full-time interns will be hired and work together as a crew. The internship begins May 23 and ends August 11. Interns will work a total of 11 weeks within that period. The work week will consist of 10 hour days, Monday through Thursday. Pay is $9.75/hr.

Application info
To apply, please send Brian Fankhauser, Blufflands Program Director, the following:

  • A cover letter outlining your qualifications and why you want this position
  • Resume
  • Your college transcripts (official or unofficial)
  • Two letters of recommendation, with at least one being written by a professor in your major. The letters may be included in your application or sent separately by the writer. Include reference contact information.

Mail or email your application to the address below.  Feel free to call or email in advance if you have questions.

Our internships are sponsored by the Richard “Sandy” Rhodes Internship Program, the Svare Family Internship fund, the Robert R. Buckmaster Internship, funded by the R.J. McElroy Trust and many other idividual donors.

Brian Fankhauser, Blufflands Program Director
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
1111 S. Paine St., Suite E
Decorah, Iowa 52101

Phone:  563-382-2008


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.”


REAP In Your Region: Trout Run Trail, Yellow River State Forest 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.

REAP Banner- Region 1

Region 1
Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, Winneshiek

REAP Assembly – Decorah
Oct. 28, 2015 | Open house: 6-6:30 p.m., Assembly: 6:30-8 p.m.
Luther College – Olin Building, Room 102 (700 College Dr., Decorah, IA 52101)             Park in library lot.

Yellow River State Forest


Yellow River State Forest

In the far northeast corner of Iowa lies the Yellow River State Forest, a haven for many different types of flora, fauna and landscapes. Located within the Effigy Mountains National Monument, the Yellow River State Forest is near the confluence of the Yellow River and the Mississippi. Because of the running water, many animals flock to the area. Deer, ducks, game fish, beavers, mink, hawks and even bald eagles may be seen at any time. The birds make their homes in the rich, dense forest among the maple, oak and ash trees. Several state-endangered species have been found in the Yellow River State Forest, making the land uniquely worthy of protection. The Heritage Addition, a 1,045-acre plot, connects the forest to the Effigy Mountains National Monument. Together, the Yellow River State Forest Unit, Heritage Addition and Effigy Mounds National Monument protect 7.8 miles of this river, along with critical migratory bird habitat along the Upper Mississippi River flyway.

REAP funding for this project: $1,374,003

Region 1
Region REAP Support (total): $17,875,013


Allamakee Clayton Fayette Howard Winneshiek

Decorah women win 2015 Hagie Heritage conservation award


2015 Hagie Heritage Award winner Beth Lynch

Two residents of Decorah will receive a statewide award for their extensive conservation efforts, including the removal of garlic mustard from area parks.

Beth Lynch and Mary Lewis will receive the 2015 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award given by Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF).


2015 Hagie Heritage Award winner Mary Lewis with INHF Blufflands Director Brian Fankhauser

The Hagie Heritage Award, endowed by the family of Lawrence and Eula Hagie, is given annually by INHF, a statewide conservation organization that protects and restores Iowa’s land, water and wildlife. INHF’s work in Winneshiek County includes South Pine Creek protection, the Canoe Creek Wildlife Area and River Access, and several others. Continue reading

Up in the Blufflands

Limestone bluffs along the Upper Iowa River in Winneshiek County (Photo by Clint Farlinger)

Limestone bluffs line the Upper Iowa River in Winneshiek County. (Photo by Clint Farlinger)

In passing, the split-level building in Decorah seems nondescript. The only sign indicating INHF’s presence was hurriedly printed and taped to the door. But this minimalism is by design. “We’re just not there all the time,” says INHF Blufflands Director Brian Fankhauser of the new INHF blufflands office. Instead, Fankhauser and his new assistant, Jered Bourquin, are out in the field more often than not. Continue reading

Trail Tuesday: Trout Run Trail

Every Tuesday, look for a new featured trail story on our blog – part of our new “Trail Tuesday” series. This will be a way for you to learn about all the different trails we have to offer on our Iowa By Trail app. If you like what you read you can download the app and go explore! For any questions on these trails, email


This week’s featured trail is Trout Run Trail.

Continue reading