A Spirit of Service

By Joe McGovern, INHF President on April 17, 2023 in Blog

Editor's note: May 1 marks the ten-year anniversary of Joe McGovern becoming President of Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. INHF's staff and board are grateful for Joe's leadership and his dedication to protecting and restoring Iowa’s land, water and wildlife!

I recently came across a letter written by then-Governor Robert Ray to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation in 1979 — the organization's first year in existence. The letter prefaced a report prepared by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, then known as the Iowa Conservation Commission, about the state of Iowa's natural lands. The report was created to facilitate a new public-private partnership that would yield substantial results for Iowans over the coming decades.

INHF was created — with the help of Gov. Ray and business leaders — to serve Iowans. Together with our public partners, we have created or expanded parks and trails, we have protected thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, we have restored pieces of our precious native ecosystems — our prairies, wetlands and woodlands — that make our state unique. And we take great pride in working with private landowners across Iowa that share  our goals.

We approach our work with a spirit of service, thinking about how land preservation and outdoor recreation opportunities can help our state thrive.

After more than four decades, we continue to work with our partners to create more parks, trails and wildlife areas, hoping to attract and retain young people that prioritize outdoor recreation when deciding where to live. We continue to look for natural solutions to the water quality and quantity issues facing our state. We continue to listen to nature, knowing that protecting and restoring resilient natural lands can help us be prepared for increasing extreme weather events. We continue to advocate for the voiceless — Iowa's land, water, wildlife and future generations.

We are able to continue to serve Iowa because of you, INHF's supporters, volunteers and partners. We're grateful to you for your time, your resources and especially your friendship. It allows us to be strong in the face of challenges that can seem daunting at times.

So, thank you. Thank you for allowing us to serve Iowa — our home — and make our state a better place.

Image of letter written by former Governor Robert Ray to INHF