Living Lands Fellowship

By Cheri Grauer on June 14, 2017 in Blog

Update: Jon Steege passed away on Saturday, June 10, 2017. Read his obituary here.

Jon and Kathy Steege wanted to lend a hand to young Iowans trying to break into conservation careers.

For years, Jon worked alongside young summer employees at Fayette County Conservation. “They have a hard time finding work in conservation,” Jon said. “Lots of it is seasonal. I saw that if someone could hire them just for a few months as they get out of college, while they look for work, it might help keep some outstanding young people on the conservation job path. Give them some valuable experience and add to their resumes, and you give them a better chance at a conservation career.

When Jon and Kathy Steege shared the idea with INHF President Joe McGovern, they learned INHF had a similar dream. The idea came to life as the new Living Lands Fellowship.

The first gift to the fellowship fund comes from the land. Jon explained, “We recently enrolled land in the Conservation Reserve Program. Having that 10-year contract for guaranteed income also guaranteed that we could make a ten-year commitment to the fellowship. I like that the CRP funds are going thru us and the Foundation, then right back into improving Iowa land.”

Jon added, “I’m not able to do things on the land that I used to do – things like planting trees, burning native grasses, seeding prairie. This is one way that I can help someone else do those things that will make a difference on the land. We’re feeling good about it! We put a lot of thought into it, and it’s what we wanted to do.”

Contributions to the Living Lands Fellowship are welcome. Or if you have an idea you’d like to explore, contact us: 515-288-1846 or