2,258 hours

By Melanie Schmidt, INHF volunteer coordinator on January 13, 2020 in Blog

Kids with toad

National Trails Day 2019

What a year it has been! From celebrating Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation's (INHF) 40th anniversary to welcoming new friends to the volunteer program, we certainly have many things to celebrate this year. INHF volunteers had a record-breaking year in 2019. Seven-hundred-thirty-six volunteers contributed 2,258 hours across 30 different events or projects - more than ever before. That number is equivalent to one full-time staff person for an entire year, without any vacation days!

Among those amazing individuals are 13 Land Ambassadors, volunteers who compliment INHF’s stewardship staff by committing to a year of independent land stewardship on INHF-owned land year-round (learn more about one of our Land Ambassador’s, Jeff Jutting). INHF Land Ambassadors collectively contribute over 300 hours annually to help restore and care for INHF-owned land. Between volunteer events and Land Ambassadors, volunteers positively impacted 15 counties across Iowa this year.

Office volunteers continue to assist INHF staff on various projects throughout the organization. This year, the team of volunteers working on electronically scanning several hundreds of folders contributed over 100 hours of their time, allowing INHF to digitally catalog valuable information from past projects. Volunteers have also donated their time helping with grant research, mailings and photography throughout the year.

Opt to Act

Opt to Act 2019 at Snyder Heritage Farm with REI

Between working with college clubs, businesses and other conservation agencies, INHF had the opportunity to partner with other organizations on 23 of its 30 volunteer events this year. Through these partnerships, together we were able to introduce more people to the beauty of Iowa’s outdoors, build nesting boxes for Barn Owls, care for our natural areas and plant future prairies. We continue to look for new ways to engage with various groups across Iowa.

I have only just started to scratch the surface of all that INHF has been able to accomplish in a year because of people like you who care about the future of Iowa’s land, water and wildlife. I think the best way to truly understand how much our volunteers contribute to INHF is to look back at the last seven years. Since the volunteer program began in 2013, Iowans have contributed 13,665 hours to INHF! “Thank you” will never be enough to show how much our volunteers mean to INHF.

As we look toward 2020, we’d love to have you join us at one of the upcoming winter workdays or hikes. We will continue our Volunteer Spring Kick off tradition this March, with more details to come early this year. Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is looking forward to another year of memories, friendships and getting our hands dirty together.

-Melanie Schmidt