Fall acorns

Scholarships & Awards

Each year, INHF presents several awards and scholarships that recognize individuals for their commitment to Iowa’s land, water and wildlife. 

The Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award

Mary Lewis and Beth Lynch, 2015 Hagie Heritage Award winners

The Hagie Heritage Award was endowed in 1989 by Jan Shindel of De Witt, Iowa, and Ila Jeanne Logan of Moville, Iowa, in honor of their parents, Lawrence and Eula Hagie.

It is awarded every year to an Iowan who demonstrates extraordinary personal service and commitment to improving the quality of Iowa's natural environment and who encourages others to do the same. The award often goes to Iowans involved in the conservation community, either in a professional or voluntary capacity, and whose work goes above and beyond normal professional duties.

"We wanted to recognize those people who are not seeking recognition, but are simply going the extra mile because they are committed to conservation and improving the lives of others through improving and protecting the environment,” Shindel said. “Our lives have been improved by the preservation of land in the family, originating generations even before my mother’s parents... We want to pass that on."

View our tips on how to craft your nomination.

Please send all nominations, correspondence and/or any questions to Communications Intern Clara Wodny at cwodny@inhf.org

The Brush of Excellence

The Brush of Excellence award was established in 2015 as a way to honor dedicated conservation leaders in Iowa.

The framed paintbrush that compromises the award was originally owned and used by cartoonist and conservation leader Jay N. ‘Ding’ Darling. Darling was a true pioneer in establishing America’s conservation ethic. Several brushes were gifted by Darling’s grandson, Kip Koss, to Sam Koltinsky — the man who researched and produced Ding Darling’s documentary.

In 2015, Koltinsky presented one of the brushes to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation under the expectation that INHF would use the brush to spark more conservation efforts and pay tribute to Darling and Koss’s legacy.

Jim and Patricia Dinsmore were the first individuals to receive the Brush of Excellence for their lifelong dedication to Iowa's wetlands and habitat protection.

The Brush of Excellence is a traveling award conferred by the INHF staff and board. The award remains with the winner until INHF chooses to honor another conservation leader. 

Ding Darling Scholarship

INHF continues to support Iowa environmental education in Ding Darling's name.

After Darling's death in 1962, the J.N. "Ding" Darling Foundation was created to continue some of his favorite projects. For forty years, the foundation provided annual Ding Darling scholarships for wildlife students at Iowa State University. In 2005-06, as the Darling Foundation planned to dissolve, they worked with INHF to endow the Ding Darling Conservation Education Fund to keep the Darling name and spirit alive in Iowa through education activities.

The INHF Ding Darling Conservation Education Fund continues to provide Ding Darling Scholarships for Iowa State University students who are studying the natural world and/or communications.

Learn more about Ding Darling.

Gifts to this special fund are accepted and are tax-deductible.

Gladys Black Scholarships

An avid birder and writer, Gladys Black was one of the most influential and important conservationists in Iowa history. The Gladys Black Scholarship seeks to recognize young conservationists who share her passion for Iowa's natural heritage and native species.

The scholarship was created in 2005 when fundraising efforts for the Gladys Black Bald Eagle Refuge in Marion County far surpassed the goal. The extra funds endowed this scholarship, worth $250 to $1,000, which is awarded each spring. Recipients may renew their scholarship on a yearly basis during college.

High school seniors who are either Marion County residents or attending a Marion County high school and who are planning on majoring in conservation or natural resources at an accredited university or college are eligible to apply.

For application information, contact Brent Hanna at hannab1974@gmail.com.

Learn more about Gladys Black.