Mobile Wildlife Observatory Grand Opening

Posted on June 5, 2019 in Press Center


Contact: Joe Jayjack at or 515-288-1846, ext. 19

Mobile Wildlife Observatory to open June 13

Eldora - A new mobile wildlife observatory in Hardin County will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 13, starting at 4:30 p.m. in the Gunderson Nature Park in Eldora. The observatory provides year-round access to the outdoors by offering a shelter from the natural elements without compromising wonderful natural area views. 

The 18-foot cargo trailer was modified with help from Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) volunteers. Interior seating, new flooring, dark paint and walls of carpet reduce internal noise levels and movement that could disturb the wildlife so visitors can fully appreciate the surrounding natural symphony. With three concession stand-style windows, spotting scopes and binoculars, visitors can get a close view of the natural landscape and wildlife.

“When you’re in the observatory, it’s quiet and you’re concealed from wildlife, making viewing a more protected and rewarding experience,” said Director of Hardin County Conservation Wes Wiese.

The cargo trailer can be moved from place to place across the landscape, providing visitors the opportunity to experience both upland canopies and sprawling wetlands. This mobility also helps showcase the area’s different wildlife, such as active bald eagle nests and the great migration of waterfowl and shorebirds.

“This project makes it more habitable to do outdoor activities, especially when the weather isn’t conducive to being open or exposed to environmental conditions,” Wiese said.

Hardin County Conservation and INHF have teamed up to commemorate Charles Ruby’s legacy with the new Hardin County mobile wildlife observatory. Ruby generously donated land to Hardin County Conservation at the suggestion of INHF. Several wetlands now make up Hardin County’s Hoover Ruby Wetland. To make his land legacy more publicly accessible, friends, family and donors suggested a wildlife observatory in his honor.

“The mobile observatory is the first of it’s kind in Iowa and Hardin County is blessed with high quality natural areas,” said INHF Senior Director of Conservation Programs Lisa Hein. “This project not only commemorates Charles Ruby but also helps increase opportunities for Iowans to quietly interact with nature and maybe experience something new to them."

No RSVP required to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony. Event information can be found here.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is a statewide nonprofit conservation group that works with private landowners and other partners to protect Iowa’s land, water and wildlife. Since its founding in 1979, INHF has helped protect more than 170,000 acres of Iowa’s wild places in 96 Iowa counties. For more information, visit