Conserving the Nature Center’s Land
Original Nature Center Land
140 acres leased in 1973. Trails invite visitors to explore prairies and savannas, wetlands and pine groves. This land that was once intensely farmed now provides habitat for wild turkey, great horned owls, bluebirds, and fox. Many of the Nature Center’s programs take place here.
24 acres donated in 2001. Currently closed to the public, this landscape serves as a wildlife refuge. These woods are dominated by mature oaks, hickories, and sugar maples growing in steep ravines. Species include pileated woodpeckers, indigo buntings, and yellowbellied sapsuckers. The Nature Center features guided hikes through the hilly terrain; watch the calendar for upcoming dates.
28 acres leased in 2008. Open to the public, this landscape has a diversity of spring wildflowers and groves of mature oaks, maples, and walnuts. Steep ravines make this topographically interesting. No trails are currently on the land. This property is permanently protected through the state’s Resource Enhancement And Protection program.
3 acres purchased in 2005. Currently closed to the public. This land provides storage for Nature Center equipment, a storm shelter for guided programs, and expands an oak-hickory savanna.
67 acres purchased in 1994. Eroding soybean fields were replanted to prairie, old farm buildings were removed, and thousands of saplings were planted. This landscape features Bena Brook and a small sand prairie. It is permanently protected through a conservation easement held by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Many of the Nature Center’s programs take place here.
27 acres donated in 2010. Currently closed to the public, this landscape serves as a wildlife refuge. Mature walnuts and oaks stand on a gentle slope leading to Indian Creek. A new prairie reconstruction will soon blossom where buildings once stood, and provide a haven for wild animals close to town. The Nature Center features guided hikes through the woods; watch the calendar for upcoming dates.
Conserving Your Land
The Nature Center is interested in expanding protected open space in the area, and there are a number of possibilities for land owners interested in the long-term care of their land. All land conservation programs and entities have specific guidelines and criteria that reflect their mission and purpose. We have general information about some of the available tools, and are happy to talk with you about your land. A few of the possibilities include:
- Enrolling the land in a government program, such as the Conservation Reserve Program or the Timber Reserve Program.
- Placing the land in a conservation easement, through the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Johnson County Heritage Trust, or other legally recognized land trust.
- Donating or selling the land to a nonprofit, such as The Nature Conservancy or the Indian Creek Nature Center.
- Donating or selling the land to a government agency, such as the Department of Natural Resources or your county.