Gunderson Nature Park dedication

Join the City of Eldora and INHF for the dedication and celebration of the Gunderson Nature Park, Wednesday Nov. 11th at 1:00 p.m. at the entrance of the park. The park is located directly North of the Hardin County Fair Grounds (east end).

Bob and Mary Lou Gunderson have long been involved with Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and conserving Iowa’s land and water. In 2012, INHF presented the Gundersons with the Hagie Heritage Award, a recognition meant to honor Iowans who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to conservation and improvement of Iowa’s natural environment while encouraging others to do the same.

The couple has committed countless hours to conservation efforts across Iowa with much of their work benefitting Hardin County and its surrounding communities. They were founders of the Iowa River Greenbelt Resource Trust in 1987 and have been actively involved in many other projects.

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Bob and Mary Lou Gunderson receiving the 2012 Hagie Heritage Award

Earlier this year, the Gundersons were also recognized at the Gift to Iowa’s Future Day, an event hosted by the state of Iowa. The celebration is hosted at the capitol to honor individuals, corporations and organizations that permanently protect land for parks, trails, natural areas, fish and wildlife habitat and other benefits.

The Gundersons were honored by the state because of their 12 acre land donation to Eldora, which is the site of the Gunderson Nature Park. The strategic location of Gunderson Nature Park near city streets and neighborhoods brings the park closer to Eldora residents. A trail loop, prairie and savanna reconstruction, butterfly habitat and a nature-scape play area are planned by the City of Eldora now that it has transferred to them from INHF.

“The Gundersons have not only been incredible supporters of our natural resources through their time and financial support, but they have been instrumental in promoting that mentality to those around them,” wrote John Schuller, Iowa River Greenbelt Resource Trust board member.

Iowa’s land and water are truly better off thanks to the Gunderson’s efforts and inspiration. INHF hopes you will join in on the celebration of two conservation champions.

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The Principal takes Ingawanis

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We’d like to thank Principal Financial Group for coming out on Thursday, July 23, to Ingawanis Woodland, one of our current projects. Their eager group of volunteers assisted with many things around the property—they cleared the woodland and the trail from recent storm damage, picked up an old trash pile and assisted in uprooting tile from the floor of one of the buildings. 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

Heritage Valley: The little things in life

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An Iowa DNR member presents on a plant species to an attentive volunteer. (Photo by Jessica Rilling)

As I reflect back on our summer seed harvest on July 9 up and around Heritage Valley in northeast Iowa, I think to myself “What a great day!” But I think that I say that a lot—so this time I’ll do my best to answer WHY it was so great. Continue reading

Happy trails at Camp WaNoKi

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INHF acquired the 77-acre Camp WaNoKi property in November 2014. The Webster County Conservation Board manages the land (with help from volunteers like these) to keep it properly maintained.

Saturday, June 27, was a good day.

We’re sure the oak savanna agrees. It’s easy to see why Camp WaNoKi is an American Indian abbreviation for “beautiful land and scenery.” And it’s easy to imagine the fun had in the woods.

Saturday, June 27, was one of those secretly profound days. Nothing huge happened; there wasn’t a celebrity to see or even a grand view. No fireworks. Just people coming together for a cause greater than themselves. Continue reading

Beat the heat with ice cream

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(Photo by Evan Feekes)

Happy National Ice Cream Month! We know you’re in need of a cold, sweet treat as you enjoy the summer sunshine. Consider making your own ice cream with berries and flowers found in Iowa—like mulberries, honeysuckle or multiflora rose. Continue reading

Volunteer spotlight: ISU students volunteer for “magical” day

Six Iowa State University Natural Resource and Ecology Management (NREM) graduate students used their skills to help open up and restore a remnant prairie on a March day this spring on a Boone County woodland just 20 minutes from campus. This is the fifth time ISU’s NREM students have worked on the site.

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Students from ISU’s Natural Resource and Ecology Management department and INHF staffers work with David Marlow to reclaim a hilltop on the Gardner Property in Boone County. (Gifford the dog was a big help, too.)

“What is interesting about this student group,” INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel said, “is that even with students flowing through the program and graduating each year, the passion and knowledge never seems to leave because the leadership is handed down and new energy emerges.” Continue reading

RAVE at Ewing Park

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Join INHF, City of Des Moines, and the Central Iowa Trail Association (CITA) on Thursday, June 18, to bring RAVE to one of the coolest mountain biking areas in the Des Moines metro! From 4:30-6:30 p.m., we’ll remove honeysuckle—a harmful and invasive plant—from the woods along an off-road trail at Ewing Park, then all meet for a social hour following. Music will be played, and fun will be had.

All tools and instruction will be provided. Jeans or long pants and closed-toe shoes are recommended. Volunteers should meet in the parking lot south of McKinley Ave.

What is RAVE? Random Acts of Volunteering for the Earth was created to connect people to the land in compact, meaningful ways by partnering to host after-work events in easy-to-find locations. This is an opportunity to make a lasting impact in a time frame that works for your schedule.

Questions? Contact INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel at mrunkel@inhf.org or 515-288-1846.

Learn more about INHF's volunteer program. Join the Facebook
event.

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Iowa Prairie Conference 2015

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There will be a “field trip” to Quigley-Slattery Heritage Prairie during the conference. (Photo by Jessica Rilling)

Mingle with other prairie enthusiasts, get educated on the latest developments and network at the 2015 Iowa Prairie Conference from Thursday, July 16, to Saturday, July 18, at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. This year’s theme is “Working Prairies,” which reflects the evolving role of prairie in today’s landscape. Whether a dedicated prairie enthusiast or simply a citizen with curiosity, anyone is welcome to attend. Continue reading

The prairie calls…for volunteers!

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The sun shines on downy painted cup at Heritage Valley, an INHF property.

Looking for a fun and relaxed volunteer opportunity? You’re in luck! Join INHF and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for the a seed harvest in northeast Iowa on Thursday, July 9, from 9 a.m. to noon at Heritage Valley and Solitaire Ridge. Continue reading