Two new nature areas in Story County

Posted on March 9, 2016 in Press Center

March 9 – Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, the Outdoor Alliance of Story County and Story County Conservation Partners invite the public to a presentation by Joe McGovern, President of Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, on Tuesday, March 22 at the Story County Conservation Center (56461 180th Street) northeast of Ames. McGovern’s talk, entitled “Creating Two New Public Nature Areas for Story County”, will introduce the public to efforts to establish the new Sellberg Prairie and the Ronald “Dick” Jordan Family Wildlife Area. Light refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 7:00 p.m. There is no charge or RSVP required.

Sellberg Prairie, located north of Nevada, will protect remnant native prairie and an oxbow of West Indian Creek. Story County resident and passionate conservationist Lorna Sellberg worked closely with INHF to see the protection of this property come to fruition. Lorna donated half of the land’s value to ensure permanent protection and future public ownership. Future restoration activities will continue to build off the past care and attention that Lorna so willingly gave to the property.

The Ronald “Dick” Jordan Family Wildlife Area will be a large natural area along the South Skunk River just one mile south of the Ames city limits. The Baldus Family, longtime Story County residents and outdoor enthusiasts, worked with SCC and INHF to ensure the protection of this property. The family donated a portion of the land’s value to make sure the land would be permanently protected and in public ownership. The original channel of the South Skunk River, prior to dredging, runs through the center of the property, and offers a glimpse into Story County’s past.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation purchased both sites and will hold them while grants and gifts can be secured to fund them. INHF is accepting donations toward both projects. Both sites will transfer to Story County Conservation when funds are complete.

“These two areas offer exciting opportunities for prairie and riparian habitat restoration,” said Mike Cox, Story County Conservation Director. “When funding is secured, they will provide 255 additional acres for wildlife plus two great new places for outdoor recreation in the county.” 

Greg Vitale of Outdoor Alliance of Story County said, “We’re sponsoring the March 22 gathering with Story County Conservation Partnersto give everyone the opportunity to hear first-hand about these exciting projects. Support has already been committed by Story County Pheasants Forever, Iowa State University Chapter of Pheasants Forever, Big Bluestem Audubon, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. We hope many more people and organizations will come forward and work together to assure that these properties will be protected for future generations to enjoy.”

For more information or to donate toward either project, visit Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s website.

The Outdoor Alliance’s mission is to enhance outdoor recreation, education, and conservation in Story County. To learn more about the Outdoor Alliance of Story County, visit

For more information about Partners and how they support Story County Conservation’s mission, contact Story County Conservation at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday), email or visit