Helping Green Pastures flourish in Okoboji

By Haley Hodges on June 15, 2017 in Blog

On the northeastern side of West Lake Okoboji, tucked behind the tree line, lies Green Pastures.

Ann & Sig Anderson recently donated this land to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Keeping the land natural provides water quality benefits to West Lake Okoboji as well as benefiting wildlife in the area.

The 163 acre property was once owned and managed by Ann's parents, Ralph and Silvia Green. Now, Green Pastures will enter into it's new generation in permanent conservation, building on the hard work of Ann and Sig, as well as her parents before her.

The property includes areas of reconstructed prairie and grassland as well as wetlands and rocky remnant prairie knobs that have never been farmed.

"INHF is proud to be entrusted with the future of this place," said Heather Jobst, INHF's Senior Land Conservation Director. 

ChainsawOver two days, a team comprised of the nine INHF summer Statewide Land Stewardship interns and four staff members worked on the land removing sumac and other brush from the prairie remnant. Removing the invasive brush was one of the first steps for the restoration INHF is planning.

"Right now, we’re focused on beginning our restoration responsibilities," Jobst said. "We’re getting to know the land, determining its restoration needs, making plans. Later, we plan to invite the public on occasion to experience the beauty of Green Pastures."

The sumac on the land was encroaching on the native prairie plants and removal of the brush allows for more sunlight to reach the prairie species, which do best with little shade. In the two days the team was there in late May, they were able to clear enough brush that piles of it could be seen along the road on the east boundary of the property.

For more information on Ann and Sig's donation and the property, see "Looking out for Okoboji" in the Spring 2017 issue of Iowa Natural Heritage magazine or online


afterBefore and after photos of Green Pastures after the two days of work May 24-26, 2017. Brush removal can be seen along the hill on the left and right of the grouping of trees.