319.338.7030
5 Sturgis Corner Drive, Suite 1250, Iowa City, IA 52246
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Conservation History

1978
March 28

Johnson County Heritage Trust established

Land offered to the city for conservation was instead sold to a developer. This tragic loss led Nancy Seiberling and other public-spirited people to realize that Iowa City needed a private, nonprofit organization that could act quickly to seize such opportunities and then hold land on its own or resell it to a public body.
1980
November 6

First property protected

Acquisition of  Turkey Creek Nature Preserve at 107.2 acres.
1983
March 13

First Prairie Preview environmental forum held

1986
November 17

Hora Woods Acquisition

19.52 acres
1988
April 23

Membership at 45

Ten years after organization founded.
1989
April 24

Instituted Annual Conservation Award

To recognize conservation service.
1992
June 13

Shimek Ravine Acquisition

13 acres of oak-hickory forest that had been purchased by seventeen home-owners in the Ridge Road area to protect that land from development. The home-owners said that they wanted these woods and ravine to remain in their “natural state.”
1998
August 26

Belgum Grove Acquisition

40 acres of land along Dirty Face Creek west of Hills donated by David and Kathie Belgum.
2000
February 20

Joined the national Land Trust Alliance

2004
July 8

Big Grove Acquisition and Natural Woodlands Protection

40-acre Big Grove was our fifth property to acquire from a bargain sale with Dick Schwab, along with nine 10-acre conservation easements called Natural Woodlands.
September 8

Launched $400,000 “Watershed Moment” capital campaign

To acquire endangered land and to perform model stewardship on its properties through: 1. Land Acquisition and Protection, 2. Belgum Grove Restoration and Environmental Classroom, 3. Turkey Creek Stewardship and Restoration, 4. Natural Woodlands Stewardship and Restoration, 5. Shimek Ravine Stabilization, 6. Hora Woods Stewardship, 7. Fundraising
2005
June 5

Administrator Hired

First paid member of staff.
2006
March 12

Prairie Preview organized and hosted by JCHT

For the 23rd annual Prairie Preview, a free, community environmental forum, Johnson County Heritage Trust took over the organization and hosting of this important event.
May 20

Launched $25,000 “Saving Propane Prairie” capital campaign

Propane Prairie, later called Strub Prairie, is the highest-quality prairie left unprotected in our country – it encompasses wet, mesic, and dry prairie types with unusual biodiversity.
May 21

First Family Day – in the spring at Turkey Creek

Spring Family Day at Turkey Creek is a great time to get out on the property with families and children of all ages to learn about and enjoy nature.
October 20

1st “Under a Cider Moon…a Celebration of Autumn” fundraiser event

Live and silent auction items with local food and wine to support conservation!
December 15

Strub Prairie acquisition

Saving Propane Prairie was a success and Strub Prairie was acquired with 1.08 acres.
2007
October 8

Strub Prairie Conservation Easement

0.3 acres
2008
February 2

Launched $25,000 “Bringing Iowa Back to Belgum Grove” capital campaign

To reconstruct prairie from old pasture land, develop wetland habitat and restore an old stream crossing, restore savanna in the oak-hickory area, create trails for hiking and bird watching access, and provide educational opportunities by developing an “outdoor classroom.”
2009
December 28

O’Mara Newport Woods acquisition

30 acres
2010
June 15

10,000 Hours Show Non-Profit of the Year

July 23

Launched $150,000 Property Stewardship capital campaign

To ensure strong and sustained stewardship of our properties by raising money for a stewardship position and through prescribed prairie burns, seed propagation, managing woodland to allow native species to grow, and controlling and eliminating invasive species.
September 12

First Fall Family Day – at Belgum Grove

Fall Family Day at Belgum Grove is a great time to get out on the property with families and children of all ages to learn about and enjoy nature.
December 3

Pappy Dickens acquisition

16.5 acres
December 28

Lust Farm conservation easement

148 acres
2011
January 1

Promoted Administrator to Executive Director

January 2

Hired Property Stewardship Specialist

Second paid staff
2012
April 23

Membership at 479

Thirty-four years after organization is founded.
December 23

Lorson conservation easement

13.46 acres
2013
March 15

Accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

National program promoting the highest national standards for ensuring permanence in the conservation of American lands.
December 27

Beaumont conservation easement

40.63 acres
2014
April 20

Changed our name to Bur Oak Land Trust

Exciting rebranding of the organization!
July 26

First Annual Music on the Prairie at Belgum Grove

Local musical talent on the prairie!
September 15

Horak conservation easement

82.49 acres
2015
March 1

Hired Administrative Assistant

Third paid staff.
December 20

Big Grove Addition acquisition

40 acres adjacent to Big Grove.
2016
January 1

Launched $700,000 Conserve. Protect. Grow. capital campaign

April 24

2016 Conservation Award recipient

Mark Vitosh
2017
January 1

Hired Part-time Grant Writer

 

For a personal recollection of Johnson County Heritage Trust’s conservation history to 2004, click here: Bob Sayre Conservation History