A Lasting Impact

By Katy Heggen, communications assistant on September 5, 2018 in Blog

Snyder Heritage Farm

The prairie at Snyder Heritage Farm.

For nearly 30 years, Snyder Heritage Farm has been slowly transitioning from a traditional farm to a beautiful blend of prairie, oak savanna, woodland and wetland ecosystems. It was donated to INHF in 1991 by Alfred and Gladys Snyder, who held a deep love for their land, and entrusted INHF to preserve its integrity and protect it from encroaching urban sprawl. But little did the Snyders know the affect their farm would have on countless Iowans who have visited, volunteered and grown while helping transform it into the 154-acre nature area it is today, and that which they would have on it.

INHF hosts several public events including seed harvests, brush and invasive species removals and guided hikes at Snyder Heritage Farm throughout the year. The site also serves as a learning lab for INHF land stewardship interns and students from nearby colleges and universities, helping shape the next generation of conservation leaders and professionals. Their contributions to the land, water and wildlife that call Snyder home – and all those that visit – are immeasurable.

“With INHF owned-and-managed lands located across the state, volunteers are an absolutely essential part of our land stewardship team,” said INHF Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Louis. “We would not be able to accomplish our conservation goals without them, and Snyder is no exception."

INHF volunteer contributions are especially evident in Synder Heritage Farm's prairies, oak savannas and woodlands. Seed collected during prairie seed harvests, which is dried and later sown, has dramatically increased diversity and expanded the prairie. Brush and invasive species removal days have cleared the way for native species to thrive in the woodlands and oak savannas. All of these activities have improved the health and resiliency of these individual ecosystems, and the property as a whole.

“Volunteers are at the heart of INHF’s mission. They bring an energy, enthusiasm, and love for the land that is unmatched,” said Louis. “By sharing their time, knowledge and experience with us, they have had a lasting impact on places like Snyder Heritage Farm, and for that, we are eternally grateful.”