Staff

  • Joe McGovern

    Joe McGovern

    President

    Nature has always been a common thread throughout Joe’s life, from discovering the natural lakes and Boone River in Wright Co. as a boy to first date hikes with his wife Molly. Throughout his conservation career, first with Story County Conservation and then with INHF, Joe has admired Iowa’s subtle beauty and strived to bring a sense of wildness to the state. He’s enjoyed watching his three kids grow and find nature in their own ways, and hopes to create places for every Iowan to find their own outdoor connections. 

    (515) 288-1846, ext. 16
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  • Jodi Baker

    Jodi Baker

    Finance Director

    Jodi was raised on a small family farm in Boone. She grew up watching the area’s wildlife in tree stands, wandering Ledges State Park wildlife refuge, feeding the deer and running the trails, swimming and paddle boating at Spring Lake and camping at Swan Lake State Park. Jodi spends her time hiking and biking and teaching her daughter the love of the outdoors.

    515-288-1846, ext. 14
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  • Ross Baxter

    Ross Baxter

    Land Projects Director

    Here’s what you do: Find Cold Water Creek WMA in your sportsman’s atlas. Go to the west parking lot up on the hill, not the one at the bottom by the bridge. Follow the two-track down to the stream at the base of the bluff. Hop the limestone boulders across the creek and follow the lane until it narrows into a footpath. On your right you’ll see a meadow of trout lilies and a 50-foot bluff face. Take off your shoes, wade through the cold water and limestone rocks until you reach the spring that bubbles from the base of the cliff. Sit. Enjoy it. Take it in.

    Contact Ross about: Protecting your land for conservation, INHF-owned property, Iowa’s secret spots

    515-288-1846, ext. 30
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  • Andrea Boulton

    Andrea Boulton

    Trails and Greenways Director

    Andrea thinks of trails as the world’s best gateway drug: A connection to the outdoors that provides a path to nature for everyone. For every trail war story (literal burned bridges, heated negotiations), she also has an inspiring story of small Iowa communities working together to bring natural connections to their residents. When not dreaming of new Iowa trails, Andrea enjoys traveling the world — mostly for wine — and cheering on her husband Nate at marathons across the country.

    Contact Andrea about: Current trail projects happening across the state, how to start a trail project in your community

    515-288-1846, ext. 27
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  • Jered Bourquin

    Jered Bourquin

    Blufflands Assistant

    Jered grew up along the Apple River in northwest Illinois, traversing its canyon and nurturing his complicated relationship with the fish known as trout. After a stint at Luther College in Decorah, Jered worked across the Driftless, from fish hatcheries to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, conducting wolf howling surveys and IPA taste tests. Jered hopes to someday inherit his father’s mushroom hunting talents.

    Contact Jered about: The Blufflands land stewardship internship, land restoration techniques, emerging hoppy beverages

    563-382-2008
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  • Brian Fankhauser

    Brian Fankhauser

    Blufflands Director

    Brian grew up in Williams, IA, pursuing catfish and smallmouth bass in the Boone River and wild turkeys and trout near Lansing with his dad. Readied with an Animal Ecology degree from Iowa State, Brian developed a passion for the prairie pothole landscape while with Hamilton County Conservation (along with an affinity for traditional archery), and later came to INHF. He now resides in Decorah with his wife and two children, and gets to work with passionate landowners and partners to help permanently protect and steward natural areas in his favorite corner of the state.

    Contact Brian about: Private land protection in northeast Iowa, Driftless-specific restoration and stewardship resources, secret morel hunting spots

    563-382-2008
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  • Cheri Grauer

    Cheri Grauer

    Donor Relations Director

    As a girl, Cheri roamed largely unfettered, unafraid and barefooted in a neighborhood that featured scores of sheltering bur oaks, a tiny natural wetland, a sprawling plum-hawthorn thicket and a public approach (complete with dock and boat house) to Clear Lake. That place in time was for her nothing short of paradisiacal. And it set the stage for a significant part of her life’s work, namely joining with like-minded and like-hearted people in the care of Earth, our common home. For the past 16 years, Cheri has had the privilege of helping raise financial and other kinds of resources — good will, friendships, enthusiasm, respect and more — for INHF. 

    Contact Cheri about: Creating your conservation legacy, considering a special gift or tribute

    515-288-1846, ext. 20
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  • Diane Graves

    Diane Graves

    Administrative Assistant

    Diane was born in Boonville, Mo., but has been an Iowan since she moved to Des Moines when she was 5 years old. She loves spring in Iowa for the return of the birds and smell of new life in the air, and she loves fall for the changing colors. Diane’s favorite thing to do outside is go for walks. She enjoys talking with long-time members and people new to INHF, and helping them find the people and information they need.  Contact Diane about: General INHF questions

    515-288-1846, ext. 10
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  • Erin Griffin

    Erin Griffin

    Development & Events Specialist

    Erin’s affinity for organizing events was honed through large extended family gatherings, often invading Iowa state parks for long weekends. At INHF, she enjoys bringing together members and supporters to celebrate their shared passion for Iowa’s land, water and wildlife. As a life-long Iowan, Erin can’t wait to see her daughter Lucy experience Iowa’s great outdoors.

    Contact Erin about: INHF events

    515-288-1846, ext. 11
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  • Abby Hade Terpstra

    Abby Hade Terpstra

    Development Specialist

    Abby is a boomerang, returning to her home state of Iowa after journeying first east and then west for 12 years. She grew up in Ames ambling around Munn Woods, amassing elaborate collections of natural objects, and absorbed in field guides for birds, insects and plants. With a degree in Outdoor Education from Northland College and a penchant for nonprofits, Abby is happy to have found her way to INHF. When not diligently at her desk, Abby can be found delighting in her kids, experimenting in the kitchen, and dreaming of future hobbies.

    Contact Abby about: How to support INHF's work and projects. 

    515-288-1846, ext. 15
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  • Lisa Hein

    Lisa Hein

    Senior Director for Conservation Programs

    Lisa was born in California, grew up in Colorado and is frequently asked, “Why are you here?” She moved to Iowa to study Landscape Architecture at Iowa State and through that program learned about the beauty of the Iowa landscape. Since starting at INHF in 1988, she has grown to love Iowa even more through working with landowners, communities and individuals to protect land, establish greenways and secure trails. In her spare time, she coaches figure skating with the Ames Figure Skating Club, is active with the Story County Master Gardeners, is a founding board member of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition and enjoys raising wild monarchs.

    Contact Lisa about: Land protection, Iowa trails and community projects

    515-288-1846, ext. 23
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  • Joe Jayjack

    Joe Jayjack

    Communications Director

    Joe grew up in Council Bluffs, and some of his earliest memories of the outdoors include watching eagles migrate through Hitchcock Nature Area. With a background in journalism, Joe enjoys combining his love of storytelling and nature to share the great work of INHF and talk about the importance of protecting our land, water and wildlife. He manages INHF’s communications department, including Iowa Natural Heritage magazine. Joe loves connecting with Iowa’s beautiful natural areas by bike with his wife and two kids. 

    Contact Joe about: Media inquiries, Iowa Natural Heritage magazine, outreach event and sponsorship opportunities.

    515-288-1846, ext. 19
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  • Heather Jobst

    Heather Jobst

    Senior Land Conservation Director

    Throughout her life, Heather has found a deep connection with nature, whether at her family's farm, in middle school science classes (taught by the famous Chris Adkins) or searching wooded trails for spring ephemerals. At INHF, Heather oversees the full gamut of INHF's land protection work — purchasing land for protection, restoring land through stewardship and working with private landowners on conservation easements. Working in conservation in her home state is meaningful to Heather, because she sees Iowa as a state that needs the work the most. When not in the office or traversing the state, you can find her in the garden.

    Contact Heather about: Potential land protection opportunities, current and former INHF projects

    515-288-1846, ext. 32
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  • Melanie Louis

    Melanie Louis

    Volunteer Coordinator

    Melanie’s journey with INHF first started as a Land Stewardship summer intern, where, as a biology student at Central College, she developed a deep passion for the protection of Iowa’s landscape. While working in INHF's land stewardship department, Melanie found her true passion to be working with people to get them outside and with a little help, getting their hands dirty. She loves combining her background in restoration with her passion for connecting people to nature. When she isn’t wandering through a prairie, she enjoys any opportunity to run outdoors and try local craft beers. Contact Melanie about: Volunteering! Also: Individual and group volunteer opportunities and partnering on volunteer events.

    515-288-1846, ext. 35
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  • Stacy Nelson

    Stacy Nelson

    Donor Services Manager

    Growing up in the city in Southern California, Stacy can appreciate Iowa’s big blue skies and the hoots and howls of owls and coyotes just outside her window. She spends every second she can outdoors — gardening, restoring her acreage to prairie or romping with her dogs and granddaughter Norah. She feels blessed to work at an organization where she can make a difference and live out her love for the natural world.

    Contact Stacy about: INHF membership details and donation questions

    515-288-1846, ext. 21
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  • Anita O’Gara

    Anita O’Gara

    Vice President

    Anita “caught” from her mother a sense of awe toward creation. A budding flower, a wren’s song, any simple moment can spark the joy we’re given in nature and a desire to care for it. Anita has found great satisfaction in her 30-year career at INHF, wonderful experiences and favorite places, but mostly Anita treasures the people she meets who are fascinated by nature or committed to making Iowa better for all living things. This farm girl did not inherit her mother’s green thumb, so during “eating season” you’ll find her at the farmers’ markets loaded down with fresh foods to enjoy with her husband, children, grandchildren and friends.

    Contact Anita about: Ways to give to Iowa nature and people through INHF, ways to protect the Iowa land you own and ideas for exploring that part of Iowa you have yet to discover

    515-288-1846, ext. 18
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  • Andrea Piekarczyk

    Andrea Piekarczyk

    Grants Coordinator

    Andrea is originally from Downers Grove, IL, but was transplanted to Iowa during her college years at Drake University. She puts her liberal arts degree to work at INHF writing grants and loves learning the stories of the special places INHF protects. As a grant writer, she coaxes out the best in every project so others can see why protection is so important. A nascent gardener and enthusiastic cook, Andrea enjoys growing and eating vegetables, flowers and herbs. She lives in Des Moines with her giant orange cat.

    Contact Andrea about: The INHF grant writing internship, donating to INHF, membership questions and questions about INHF grants

    515-288-1846, ext. 28
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  • Tylar Samuels

    Tylar Samuels

    Conservation Easement Specialist

    Tylar was raised in Des Moines and St. Charles, and fondly remembers family picnics at the top of Clark’s Tower and splashing in Clanton Creek in Madison Co. After college, Tylar spent several years witnessing the tremendous natural beauty of California redwoods and Florida’s gulf coast while working in the conservation field. In 2008, Tylar returned to Iowa, thinking how wonderful it would be to do conservation work in a place where she had roots as deep as the prairie plants.

    Contact Tylar about: Private land protection, with emphasis on conservation easements, including existing conservation easements

    515-288-1846, ext. 34
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  • Ryan Schmidt

    Ryan Schmidt

    Land Stewardship Director

    Ryan grew up in the small southeast Iowa town of Keswick. He spent his early years hunting and fishing with his family on their family farms, all the while learning about and developing a keen interest and passion for Iowa’s outdoors. This interest led Ryan to pursue a degree in Environmental Science at Central College in Pella. When not working to protect and restore Iowa’s precious natural areas, Ryan enjoys playing and watching sports, hunting, fishing and spending time with friends.

    Contact Ryan about: INHF land management activities and stewardship resources

    515-288-1846, ext. 13
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  • Tim Sproul

    Tim Sproul

    Loess Hills Land Conservation Consultant

    Tim grew up in the natural world chasing ducks, geese, and just about every fish or fowl found in the Loess Hills and Missouri River floodplain. Studies in fisheries and wildlife biology at ISU led to a career of land, parks and people, where he learned careful listening and patience are the keys to excellent results. Some 38 years later, he now works with landowners and partners, finding creative solutions to permanently protect Iowa’s Loess Hills one project at a time. Tim and his wife Cindy reside north of Missouri Valley, Iowa, on Cindy’s 148-year-old family farm, cutting cedars, burning prairie and teaching their eight grandchildren to respect and love Iowa’s natural resources.

    Contact Tim about: Private land protection in western Iowa, all things Loess Hills; stewardship, restoration and history

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  • Kerri Sorrell

    Kerri Sorrell

    Communications Specialist

    Kerri was raised in Iowa City but did most of her growing up on the trails of Lake MacBride State Park, a secluded natural oasis from big city life. There she saw her first owl, built many a campfire and learned to appreciate the value and benefits of protected outdoor spaces. Those experiences stayed with her through a journalism degree at Drake University and led her to INHF in hopes of instilling the same love for nature in other Iowans. Kerri manages INHF's digital communications and can often be found biking toward the best Iowa brews.

    Contact Kerri about: INHF communications internships, the Iowa By Trail app and photography submissions for the INHF calendar and magazine.

    515-288-1846, ext. 24
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  • Carole Teator

    Carole Teator

    Eastern Iowa Program Manager

    Carole’s abiding commitment to the natural world is rooted in the time she spent as a child wandering the woods of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. A native of New Jersey, Carole pursued an undergraduate degree from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where a fondness for the Midwest blossomed on the shores of Lake Superior. Graduate work at Iowa State University led her to Iowa. She lived in Ames, Dubuque, Marion and Garber before ultimately finding her way back to the shelter of trees in the wooded neighborhood she calls home in Cedar Rapids. When not puttering amongst the trees, Carole enjoys doing anything that gets her outdoors, volunteering in her community, learning about history and her family’s genealogy, and hanging out with her two dogs, Burley and the Dude.

    Contact Carole about: Ways to connect with INHF in East-Central Iowa, particularly in or near Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Davenport.

    319-775-0737
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  • Erin Van Waus

    Erin Van Waus

    Conservation Easement Director

    Between walking beans, passing time at her favorite fishing hole and riding horses at Stone State Park, Erin got the full farm kid experience in her hometown of Remsen. Erin’s first introduction to INHF was as a land stewardship intern, where she fell in love with the prairie (and her husband, a fellow intern) and grew an appreciation for things greater than herself. She joined the staff in 2010. As a mother of two, Erin is in awe of the permanent impact landowners are making to protect Iowa’s wildlife habitat, beauty and open spaces for the wonder of future generations.

    Contact Erin about: Conservation easements, private land protection options

    515-288-1846, ext. 29
    Email

  • Kari Walker

    Kari Walker

    Administration Director

    If she’s being honest, most of the time Kari wishes she was somewhere in the woods, relaxing by a fire, zero charge to her cell phone, hanging out with her kids, husband and dog. When that’s not the reality, Kari’s happy helping the nature magic happen in the INHF office, surrounded by her passionate coworkers and love for Iowa’s natural spaces until the next camping trip arrives.

    Contact Kari about: Job openings, board and advisor information and general office inquiries

    515-288-1846, ext. 25
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