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.


5 of Iowa’s most invasive species (and how to get rid of them)

garlic mustard

An infestation of Garlic Mustard.

Invasive plant species are like the common cold: They’re easily caught, undesirable and if left untreated, can lead to something much more serious. Across Iowa, a variety of species threaten our native ecosystems. These weeds dominate and choke out wild and native plants, leading to less diverse native natural areas.

The following are five of the most common and threatening invasive species in Iowa.

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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.”


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

Into the Wild & Out with the Mustard

Volunteers remove invasive garlic mustard from Heritage Valley.

Volunteers remove invasive garlic mustard from Heritage Valley.

Join INHF to combat invasive garlic mustard (via hand-pull) at our third annual “Into the Wild & Out with the Mustard!” volunteer event.

When: Saturday, May 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Heritage Valley, an INHF-owned property 20 miles northeast of Decorah

Why: Garlic mustard, a highly-invasive, non-native plant, can seriously degrade woodlands when left unchecked. Having been described as the “most fun invasive species pull in the state,” this event is a chance to meet others passionate about Iowa’s resources, enjoy the spring outdoors and hear the “cowboy poetry” of Jon Steege during lunch. But more importantly, removing these plants helps preserve the northeastern woodlands of Iowa.

Plus! Lunch and other refreshments–including morning coffee–will be provided. Those working the second shift are welcome to come early for lunch, which will be served at noon.

How: To register, contact INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel by May 13 at or 515-288-1846.

Though those of all ages and abilities are encouraged to attend the mustard pull, volunteers should note that the terrain can be steep and uneven. Participants are asked to bring work gloves and a portable water bottle.


Volunteer opportunity: Into the Wild & Out with the Mustard


Come “Into the Wild” with us to save the woodlands! Garlic mustard is a highly invasive, non-native plant that, when left unchecked, can seriously degrade a high quality woodland. This volunteer day will focus on hand-pulling the plant in small groups.

What: An invasive species removal event.

Where: Heritage Valley, an INHF-owned property near Decorah in NE Iowa.

When: Saturday, May 3rd. Two shifts available: 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m. –  4:30 p.m. Continue reading

Volunteer with INHF to Remove Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard Pamphlet

* Due to poor weather conditions, the Mustard removal event has been postponed to Saturday, May 11 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

INHF is hosting its first volunteer event on May 4th at Heritage Valley, our beautiful property near Decorah! We need 50 volunteers to help us remove garlic mustard by hand at various locations around the property. Garlic mustard is an invasive species that can seriously degrade a healthy, diverse woodland.

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