Kicking the Dirt

By Katy Hull, Communications Intern on April 28, 2021 in Blog

Teri & Greg Grupp

Greg Grupp has been a part of Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) for the past 15 years. As a long-time board member, volunteer and friend, Grupp has been instrumental in assisting with expanding INHF’s work in Iowa, especially in and around the Iowa Great Lakes, his summer home.

Grupp was initially drawn to INHF’s work protecting special places and developing trails across Iowa. In recent years, he has taken on a larger role supporting the work of INHF’s land stewardship team as a land ambassador* in the Iowa Great Lakes. In the past year alone, he has spent over 200 hours volunteering with various INHF owned and managed projects. Grupp involves himself with a range of activities, such as invasive species removal, mowing, prairie planting and neighborly relations.

“I find purpose and peace while kicking the dirt on INHF watershed projects around Iowa’s Great Lakes,” Greg said. “I’m happy that I am able to do work for an organization that can make a difference for myself and the land of my friends and neighbors.”

In 2020, Grupp dedicated endless hours to Green Pastures, Wallace & Bowers Nature Area, and the Bartels Property, three properties in the Iowa Great Lakes acquired by INHF in the past five years totaling 371 acres. In addition to his hands on work on the land, Grupp donated a mower, sprayer and tractor to INHF to help enhance the work he has already been doing, and has continued to strengthen relationships with existing tenants.

Greg Grupp on his bike

“[Grupp’s] down-to-earth presence has accelerated INHF’s land stewardship focus in the region. We’re thankful to have his knowledge and passion for taking care of these special places,” said Ryan Schmidt, INHF’s central Iowa land stewardship director.

“The ability to work on this spectacular Great Lakes landscape is more a gift for me than it is a service for INHF,” Greg said.

Not only does Grupp care about preserving and protecting Iowa’s natural lands, he works tirelessly to connect others in the community to conservation projects in the area. Teri, his wife, joins him on the land for a few hours each week. It’s not uncommon for the couple to invite along friends and other family members as well. For Grupp, sharing this work with others is a reward in and of itself.

“[The work becomes] even more meaningful if our collective efforts lend to water and
soil quality, more abundant wildlife and an enhanced outdoor experience for everyone who enjoys Iowa’s Great Lakes,” Greg said.

* INHF land ambassadors make a minimum one-year volunteer commitment to mostly autonomous land stewardship work, supporting INHF’s land stewardship team and efforts by devoting their time, skills and attention to caring for a special INHF-owned property or properties. Together, they expand INHF’s stewardship capacity, collectively contributing hundreds of hours on the land each year. To learn more about the program, contact Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Schmidt at