Tom Murray of Decorah wins Hagie Heritage Award

By Joe Jayjack on September 30, 2021 in Press Center

Tom Murray

Contact Joe Jayjack, INHF communications director, 515-288-1846, ext. 19

Tom Murray of Decorah Wins 2021 Hagie Heritage Award

DECORAH – Tom Murray of Decorah has been selected to receive the 2021 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award. The Hagie Heritage Award is given annually by Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) to recognize Iowans who have demonstrated extraordinary personal service and commitment to improving the quality of Iowa's natural environment and who encourage others to do the same.

“Tom is steadfast in his love for Iowa’s wild places,” said Michael Siepker, one of Murray’s nominators and fisheries management biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “He is willing to listen and communicate to others the conservation challenges facing Iowa and he approaches all challenges with a collaborative spirit that is infectious.”

Murray was nominated for his work protecting and expanding access to cold water trout streams throughout Iowa. He’s involved with many local conservation groups, notably serving as the first Board President of Iowa’s Coldwater Conservancy. He played a crucial role in fundraising, improving diversity on the board and helping landowners and conservation groups understand threats to local streams such as runoff from surrounding properties and the loss of public access to cold water trout streams in Iowa.

Murray is a founding member of the Driftless Chapter of Trout Unlimited and a board member of the nonprofit Friends of the Decorah Fish Hatchery. He also served on the Winneshiek County Conservation Board for two terms.

“I am very honored to receive the Hagie Heritage award from INHF,” Murray said. “In spite of very challenging times for our beautiful and life-sustaining natural resources in Iowa, I continue to remain optimistic. After many years as a volunteer, it continues to be a real privilege and a true learning experience for me to work with caring landowners and so many dedicated volunteers from non-profit organizations and professionals representing public conservation agencies.

“I have seen first hand how making positive changes in how we care for the land in a watershed can lead to significant improvements downstream in the ecosystems that sustain our rivers and streams. These positive results, that are vital to improving water quality for humans and wildlife, happen when people are willing to listen to each other and to share their ideas and resources.”  

Murray also facilitated a partnership between a landowner, INHF and the Iowa DNR to protect 113 acres of land in Winneshiek County that contains a quarter mile of North Bear Creek, a popular and important cold water fishery in northeast Iowa.

“What a gift for everyone that Tom Murray has been able to transform his passion for the outdoors into a multiplier effect that benefits so many,” said Jan Lovell, INHF board member who served on the selection committee for the award. ”The common theme of his collaborative efforts with so many groups provide a model to all of us for how conservation projects may be achieved.”

The Hagie Heritage Award was established in 1990 by Janice Hagie Shindel of Florida and Ila Jeanne Hagie Logan of Moville, Iowa, in honor of their parents, Lawrence and Eula Hagie.The Hagie Heritage Award recipient receives $1,000 and a hand-carved acorn sculpture made by INHF supporters Dennis and Linda Schlicht of Center Point.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit conservation group that works with private landowners and public partners to protect and restore Iowa's land, water and wildlife. Since its founding in 1979, INHF has helped protect more than 180,000 acres of Iowa's natural resources and blazed the way for trails across the state. For more information about INHF, visit

For more information about INHF’s Hagie Heritage Award and the nomination process, visit