Gift To Iowa's Future Day 2023
Iowans who made gifts of land or land value for conservation in 2022 were honored at the Capitol today during the annual Gift to Iowa's Future Day ceremony.
Iowa DNR Director Kayla Lyon honored landowners that protected their land through donations of land, bargain sales and conservation easements. Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation was fortunate to work with 19 of the donors being recognized to permanently protect their land.
Learn more about the landowners that donated to INHF over the last year below:
2022 donations to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Carl and Margie Boylan, Page County
Carl and Margie Boylan bequeathed a 1,243-acre century farm to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. A strong interest in soil conservation and wildlife preservation led the Boylans to this gift and is evidenced by the habitat and conservation practices they applied to the land.
Raleigh and JoEllyn Buckmaster, Allamakee County
Raleigh and Joey Buckmaster donated a conservation easement on 365 acres of prairie and woodland along the Mississippi River in Allamakee County to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. This easement preserves an area rich in archaeological resources, provides sanctuary for timber rattlesnakes and other sensitive species, and protects the bluffs and slopes from future development.
Courter Family, Boone County
The Courter Family donated a conservation easement to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation on 93 acres of oak-hickory woodland and prairie in the Des Moines River Valley. This easement provides benefit to resident and migratory species and protects the family’s efforts to restore native habitat.
Bernd Fritzsch and Dominique Crapon de Caprona, Pottawattamie County
Bernd Fritzsch and Dominique Crapon de Caprona donated 43 acres of mature timber north of Council Bluffs subject to a reserved life estate to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Nestled in the heart of the Loess Hills, the organic farm serves as a wildlife oasis, as the old-growth bur and red oaks provide habitat for the 120 bird species documented on the property.
Joan Ghirst, Madison and Clarke Counties
Joan Ghrist donated a conservation easement on 453 acres of mixed habitat near Truro to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Purchased over 30 years ago by Joan’s husband, Dr. Tom Ghrist, the family worked to enhance their diamond-in-the-rough farm, creating excellent habitat for insects, birds and mammals. Joan and her family felt strongly that the pasture, wetlands and timber they held dear should remain as open space, protected from subdivision and development.
Joann Gohlinghorst, Pottawattamie County
Joann Gohlinghorst donated 28 acres near Council Bluffs, including a 13-acre remnant prairie, to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Owned by the family for many years, the fondly remembered prairie flowers will live on and become a valuable seed source for future Loess Hills prairie restorations.
Harvest Preserve Foundation, Johnson County
Harvest Preserve Foundation, Inc. donated a conservation easement to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation on more than 100 acres of woodland and grassland within the city limits of Iowa City, permanently protecting it from development. This property’s outdoor art provides space for quiet reflection and will remain a valuable urban green space for visitors in perpetuity.
Rebecca Kelley, Union County
Rebecca Kelley donated 155 acres of woodland near Afton in Union County to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation in honor of her late husband Paul Kelley, who loved the outdoors and was an avid conservationist. Destined to become a future public area, the property houses large white oaks, a restored wetland and a section of Twelve Mile Creek, all offering ample wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities.
William and Jean Kern, Allamakee County
William and Jean Ann Kern donated a conservation easement on 47 acres of woodland and grassland to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. After spending 20 years “rewilding” the property, it now is home to at least 104 bird species and 27 species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The property not only provides critical habitat but water quality benefits to neighboring cold-water stream French Creek and the Upper Iowa River.
Loretta Koenigsfeld, Chickasaw County
Loretta Koenigsfeld donated a portion of the land value of 205 acres of riparian and upland habitat along the Wapsipinicon River near New Hampton to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. This property provides water quality benefits and protects habitat for wildlife such as sandhill cranes, river otters and potentially eastern massassauga rattlesnakes.
Maxwell Farms, Story County
Maxwell Farms, Inc. donated a portion of the land value of 68 acres along the South Skunk River near Cambridge to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Lying entirely within the floodplain, this property holds tremendous potential for waterfowl, amphibian and reptile habitat, and its protection and restoration will help with flood retention and improve water quality.
Brian and Erin Melloy, Johnson County
Brian and Erin Melloy donated a portion of the land value of 90 acres of woodland and restored prairie near Coralville Lake to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Stewarded with care for years, the property provides valuable wildlife habitat, water quality benefits and recreational opportunities. This gift not only creates public land for future generations but helped foster reconnection through the rematriation of seven acres to the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.
Andrew Rasmussen, Fremont County
Rasmussen donated 81 acres adjacent to the Riverton Wildlife Management Area to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. The prairie reconstructions, tree plantings and shallow pools and wetlands provide wildlife cover and food and adds onto a complex of existing public land to expand on outdoor recreation opportunities.
Sue Smith, Ida County
Sue Smith donated a portion of the land value of 103 acres of grassland and woodland near Battle Creek to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Adjacent to Crawford Creek Recreation Area, protection of this property builds on existing public land and will positively impact the water quality of a nearby public lake. This property offers critical habitat for grassland birds and small mammals and increases the amount of public land in Ida County by nearly 20%.
Hughes, Nelson and Van Deusen Farm Partnership, Story County
The Hughes, Nelson, and Van Deusen Farm Partnership donated 56 acres in Story County to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, relinquishing the remainder interest in a reserved life estate. Consisting of upland and riparian woodlands and restored prairie, the property provides excellent pollinator habitat and water quality benefits to Ioway Creek.
Doug and Rhonda Volz, Dallas County
Doug and Rhonda Volz donated a trail easement on nearly .2 miles of an extension of the High Trestle Trail between Woodward and Perry to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. This critical piece of trail corridor links the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle Trail, two of Iowa’s most popular multi-use trails.
Ann Werner, Scott County
Warner donated a total of 229 acres in Scott County to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, relinquishing her remainder interest in two reserved life estates. Her century farm in eastern Iowa emphasizes conservation and biodiversity. In the past five years, Ann has planted 70 acres of the farm to native habitat. Plantings include a riparian corridor along the creek, and generous prairie strips along hillsides and fence lines. Together, these conservation practices — and others she’s implemented over the years — are reducing soil erosion, improving water quality and providing wildlife habitat.
Scott and Sandra Wendel, Woodbury County
Scott and Sandra Wendel donated 113 acres of remnant Loess Hills prairie to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. The prairie ridges and slopes have been in the Wendel family for more than 100 years. Forever safe from development pressures, the property will aid in future prairie restorations in the region by serving as a seed source.
Clinton and Suzanne Young, Linn County
Clinton and Suzanne Young donated a conservation easement on more than 170 acres of reconstructed and remnant prairie near Emmetsburg to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Their value of nature, wildlife, conservation and educational opportunities for youth led them to permanently protect their land as wildlife habitat and open space. The prairie will provide valuable habitat and positively impact Cylinder Creek, which bisects the property, as well as the Des Moines River watershed.