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5 Sturgis Corner Drive, Suite 1250, Iowa City, IA 52246
2020 Music on the Prairie

Performing together for the first time, musicians Marc and Brandi Janssen and Annie Savage play a selection of traditional American and roots music. The artists chose the songs based on inspiration they felt from the Iowa landscape as seen from Bur Oak Land Trust properties Turkey Creek Nature Preserve and Belgum Grove.

“I think the thing we have in common is that we all love music and we love being in nature,” Savage said, “so it’s been a real pleasure.”

Recently hailed as a “firecracker educator and entertainer,” Savage is an international string clinician and performer of American roots music. Marc and Brandi Janssen – named two of Iowa’s best roots musicians by the Bucktown Revue – play traditional American music inspired by the first generation of rural recording and radio artists.

Tell Me Your Story: Nancy Seiberling

Nancy Seiberling was a founder of Bur Oak Land Trust (formerly Johnson County Heritage Trust) and was a leader in local conservation efforts! She shares her story in this video:

Bur Oak Land Trust announces conservation Leadership Award recipient

Bur Oak Land Trust’s former executive director has been awarded its first ever Conservation Leadership Award. Ken Lowder, president of the Trust, announced that Tammy Wright received her award at the 13th annual “Under a Cider Moon…a Celebration of Autumn” fundraising event held October 27. “Tammy began her career with the Trust over fourteen years ago serving as our part-time and then full-time executive director. During her long period of service to the organization in this role, she has been directly responsible for our outstanding growth and many accomplishments.” Under her leadership, the Trust first achieved national accreditation in 2013. Recently, the Trust underwent the process to be re-accredited for another five years.

Tammy has been instrumental in the process of acquiring and protecting thirteen natural areas in eastern Iowa. This represents over 470 acres of land which will be protected from development in perpetuity. In addition, she has worked with several land owners who wished to protect their property to draw up conservation easements, a legally binding attachment to the deed of a property protecting the land from any future development.

During her time with the Trust, Tammy has inspired both staff, members, and thousands of volunteers to engage with the goal to protect and conserve natural areas to enrich and engage current and future generations.

This fall, Tammy transitioned to the Trust’s Development Director. Ken remarked that all who value the conservation and protection of natural areas owe Tammy a tremendous debt of gratitude for her work with the Bur Oak Land Trust.

Bur Oak Land Trust announced today that its board of directors has selected Jason Taylor as its new Executive Director.

Taylor will transition from his current role as Property Stewardship Specialist, assuming the new position on August 1. Prior to his work with the Trust, he served as the Chief Operations Officer and Senior Strategy Advisor for VentureLab, an educational non-profit based in Austin, TX, and as Vice President of Programs for Indianapolis-based Project Lead the Way.

“The Trust is so very fortunate to acquire the services of Jason Taylor,” said Ken Lowder, board president for Bur Oak Land Trust. “Under his leadership, we all look forward to expanding the Trust’s efforts to preserve and protect natural areas.”

Taylor’s hiring comes as the Trust brings on their first AmeriCorps team in the fall of 2019. “It is an exciting time to move into a leadership role within the organization. We have a solid history of providing land preservation options for those in eastern Iowa, and the integration of an AmeriCorps team will take our land management and habitat restoration goals to the next level.”

Taylor is originally from South-East Iowa, and has lived in Iowa City since 1997. He has worked in the conservation and non-profit management fields for seventeen years, and has a master’s degree in educational measurement and statistics and a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, both from the University of Iowa.

Taylor succeeds Tammy Wright, the Trust’s founding Executive Director, who has led the organization for the last 14 years. Wright is pleased to keep her ties to the organization as she transitions to Development Director.

Turtle Dogs and Bur Oak Land Trust in the news!

We were fortunate to work with John Rucker and his team of Boykin Spaniels to locate over one hundred threatened ornate turtles on Bur Oak Land Trust and other properties, which were taken to the lab for data collection, and then released back where we found them. The students and professor were great instructors, teaching how to draw blood, take body measurements, notch shells, record shell abnormalities, and conduct spectral analysis.

To read more about the work that took place in May 2019 click on the news links below:
Specially Trained Dogs Help Conservationists Find Rare Iowa Turtles
Specially trained dogs help find – and save – ornate box turtles
These hunting dogs are sniffing for turtles… not to eat but to save
Specially-trained dogs sniff for threatened box turtles in Johnson County
Special turtle-fetching dogs help Iowans better conserve precious prairie
Very Good Dogs Helped Track Threatened Turtles in Iowa
CSRI researchers part of IPR story on turtle-seeking dogs
Good Girl! These Dogs Are Helping Save Habitats By Finding Rare Turtles
CSRI research in Smithsonian Magazine

Watch Prairie Preview 2019

Bur Oak Land Trust presents Prairie Preview XXXVI, a free, open to the public environmental forum that traditionally attracts over 250 attendees. Dave Conrads from the University of Iowa is this year’s speaker and his talk is titled “UI Wild: Connecting Iowans with the Wild for a Generation.” More than 45 exhibitors also showcased their organizations, provided information, and answered questions that attendees had. Refreshments provided byr Four Seasons Garden Club. Sponsorship opportunities available. For more information, please contact Tammy Wright, Bur Oak Land Trust executive director, at info@buroaklandtrust.org or 319-338-7030. Filmed by Iowa City’s City Channel 4.

Update: House anti-public land bill likely dead, Senate bill moves on

House bill stopped; Senate bill advances
Because of the support of hundreds of public lands advocates like you, House File 542 did not advance out of a subcommittee hearing this morning. The bill is likely dead with the legislative funnel at the end of this week. Legislators got the message that Iowans love their public land.

But there is still work to do!

SB1221: Action needed!
The bill eliminates the use of State Revolving Fund for public land acquisition for water quality purposes and eliminates the Charitable Contribution for Conservation Tax Credit.

Subcommittee update: SB1221 passed out of subcommittee on a 2-1 vote and will now advance to the Senate Natural Resources and Environment for a hearing on Tuesday, March 5 at 3 p.m. This meeting is open to the public, but there will not be any public comments.

Action needed: Contact members of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment committee (listed below) as soon as possible and let them know you oppose SB1221. Senators have indicated that they are open to discussion and improvements on this bill, so they need to hear from you!

SRF (State Revolving Fund) money is an effective water quality protection program that benefits both conservation and farmers. It provides low-interest loans for public land protection that has direct water quality benefit to our lakes, rivers and streams. Eliminating this water quality protection program would be detrimental to our ongoing water issues in Iowa.

Natural Resources and Environment committee members:

Ken Rozenboom (R, District 40), Chair – ken.rozenboom@legis.iowa.gov
Tom Shipley (R, District 11), Vice Chair – tom.shipley@legis.iowa.gov
Robert Hogg (D, District 33), Ranking Member – rob.hogg@legis.iowa.gov
Jerry Behn (R, District 24) – jerry.behn@legis.iowa.gov
Nate Boulton (D, District 16) – nate.boulton@legis.iowa.gov
Claire Celsi (D, District 21) – claire.celsi@legis.iowa.gov
Chris Cournoyer (R, District 49) – chris.cournoyer@legis.iowa.gov
Tim L. Kapucian (R, District 38) – tim.kapucian@legis.iowa.gov
Jim Lykam (D, District 45) – jim.lykam@legis.iowa.gov
Mark Segebart (R, District 6) – mark.segebart@legis.iowa.gov
Jackie Smith (D, District 7) – jackie.smith@legis.iowa.gov
Annette Sweeney (R, District 25) – annette.sweeney@legis.iowa.gov
Dan Zumbach (R, District 48) – dan.zumbach@legis.iowa.gov

The message
The use of SRF for public land projects has a history of successful water quality projects that offer multiple benefits. Not only are these lands helping improve water quality and flood retention, they are creating more areas to hunt, fish, hike and be in nature.

This use of SRF should not be eliminated. Let’s work together to improve it — not get rid of a successful program when the state is doing all it can to improve water quality.

HF542: Recap
In its original form, this bill would prohibit the state, counties and cities from expanding parks, wildlife habitat areas and trails by any amount. Funding could not be used for expansion of open spaces and new recreational amenities, including public museums.

Subcommittee update: The subcommittee members did not move the bill to full Natural Resources committee, meaning the bill is still alive but does not currently have a path of advancement. If the subcommittee does not advance the bill by this Friday, the bill will be dead.

Thanks to everybody that called, wrote or visited their legislators! Lawmakers heard loud and clear that Iowans love their public land. We hope this is the last we’ll see of this bill, but we’ll have to remain vigilant that pieces of it don’t show up in other legislation later this session.
Iowa House isn’t moving forward with bill that would prohibit buying more public lands

Have you heard about the Qualified Charitable Distribution?

Have you heard of a new tax and estate planning strategy call “qualified charitable distributions?” If you have charities you would like to support, pretax money saved in an IRA can be an ideal charitable donation. Rather than passing these assets to a beneficiary (who will likely pay taxes when the inherited IRA is distributed), you can give them to a charity by taking a qualified charitable distribution. A qualified charitable distribution will count toward satisfying your required minimum distribution, and neither you nor the charity will have to pay income taxes. Have questions – contact Bur Oak Land Trust or your financial adviser.


Lend a Hand on the Land: Iowa Land Trusts seed harvest at Snyder Heritage Farm

Endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Found on Additional Properties!

Great news! This August Property Stewardship Specialist Jason Taylor led a bee photo identification workday on Bur Oak Land Trust properties and there were new (and confirmed) sightings. To read the press release, click here: Endangered Species Found on Local Land Trust Properties

Drone footage of burn at O’Mara-Newport

Form 990 Available for Download

Our 2017 Form 990 is available to view and download here: Form 990

Somewhere Only We Know Film Screening

Somewhere Only We Know: Life in the Sticks follows the Horak family – specifically Janice and Richard – and tells the narrative of their life and legacy. The film ultimately answers the question of what is worth more than money. The film is the directorial debut of Kyle Duane Kazimour. Kyle Duane Kazimour is a young artist and entrepreneur who started Ambivalence Studios, a creative company specializing in creative portraiture and videography. For more info, click here: Facebook event

Bur Oak land Trust celebrates 40 years of conservation

Founded in 1978, Bur Oak Land Trust has been protecting and conserving for 40 years. Read here for more information: Celebrating 40 years of conservation

Brochure Outreach Inspires Osprey Platform Build

Kessler Prairie

Land donated by James and Kathryn Kessler in December 2017 – first property outside of Johnson County in Poweshiek County. Read more here: Kessler Prairie press release

Muddy Creek Preserve acquisition

Land donated by Barbara Beaumont and Kurt Hamann: Muddy Creek Preserve press release

Lands End business store front now available

Shop Bur Oak Land Trust’s Lands End business store front to get beautiful embroidered Bur Oak Land Trust logo stitching on quality clothing! Click here to shop: Lands End store

Watch Prairie Preview 2017

Bur Oak Land Trust presents Prairie Preview XXXIV, a free, open to the public environmental forum that traditionally attracts over 250 attendees. Steve Hendrix from the University of Iowa is this year’s speaker and his talk is titled “Wild bees of Iowa: Hidden diversity in the service of conservation.” More than 44 exhibitors also showcased their organizations, provided information, and answered questions that attendees had. Refreshments provided. Sponsorship opportunities available. For more information, please contact Tammy Wright, Bur Oak Land Trust executive director, at info@buroaklandtrust.org or 319-338-7030. Filmed by Iowa City’s City Channel 4.

Johnson County Conservation Calendar:

Tammy Wright at KCCK talks about the first sign of spring – Prairie Preview


New partnership with Giving Assistant!

Giving Assistant is a free, easy, and reliable way to help Bur Oak Land Trust go even further. When you shop online at 1800+ popular online retailers using Giving Assistant, you earn cash back. Then, you get to decide how much of that cash back you’d like to donate to Bur Oak Land Trust. You’ll even find great deals like Target Promo Codes, as well as savings at stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and eBay. Shop. Earn. Change the world! Click here to support Bur Oak Land Trust: Giving Assistant

Now partnering with Slickdeals!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Slickdeals to bring you the best deals and coupons from thousands of online retailers. And the best part? While you save money, you’ll be raising money for environmental conservation with Bur Oak Land Trust at the same time! Getting started is simple. Just go to Slickdeals Gives Back to register for free, select us as your designated non-profit and start shopping. Every time you shop via the program you earn points for us, and you’ll even generate double points when you shop at AmazonHome Depot and Lowe’s. So you save big and we raise much-needed funds. It’s that easy!

Bur Oak Land Trust in the News

The Gazette published an article of the work AmeriCorps NCCC did on our Bur Oak Land Trust properties! Here’s the link: Volunteers helping preserve natural habitat in Johnson County

Recently the Gazette interviewed Mary Wall, one of the Shimek Ravine neighbors instrumental in protecting this property about this important effort. Here’s the link: Iowa City neighbors banded together to preserve Shimek Ravine

Tammy Wright at KCCK talks about Bur Oak Land Trust!

Alliant Energy grant funds are being used to restore quail habitat at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve

Alliant Energy has awarded a grant in the amount of $3900 to Bur Oak Land Trust to develop and maintain critically needed edge habitat for the dramatically declining quail population in Iowa. The western edge of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is an ideal place to create rows of shrubby, grassy habitat that border on the convergence of other habitats. The proposed area of planting is bordered by established prairie, woodland, and neighboring cropland. The varied habitat will provide ample food and shelter for the quail. The proposed edge planting will provide grass for the quail to nest and roost. Seeds from the native grasses and flowers will provide food, as will the insects that visit the same grasses and flowers. The oak and other woodland trees will provide acorns and other nuts for food. Row crops and pasture over the fence will provide corn and other sources of food.

Geocaches are live!

We now have geocaches placed at our Turkey Creek Nature Preserve – and they have been found and reviewed by a number of geocachers already! Not familiar with geocaching? Check out this Geocaching 101 video: Geocaching 101

Show your support with Bur Oak Land Trust merchandise!

Bur Oak Land Trust t-shirts are now available to purchase! We have short-sleeved adult sizes in S, M, L, XL and youth sizes in S, M for $15 and long-sleeved adult size in L and XL for $20. Adjustable hats are $20, visors are $18, and canvas bags are $40. Click here to shop: Shop

Front tee   Back tee

hat   visor


Slow Down Garlic Mustard by Keeping Clean

We are not saying you have to take a shower before you take a walk in the woods, but if you clean your shoes before entering a natural area and when you are leaving a natural area, you can potentially reduce the spread of the non-native invasive plant called garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata).

Garlic mustard is an undesirable plant that can degrade quality woodlands by crowding out understory (lower layer) wildflowers and tree seedlings, which are critical to maintaining a balanced ecosystem and providing habitat for a variety of wildlife. This plant has been invading Iowa’s woodlands and natural areas at an alarming rate over the last 10 years.

This plant spreads by seeds that are usually mature between July and August, and they can attach to many things including people (boots, shoes, gear, and clothing), pets (fur and feet), deer and other animals, moving water, and tires (bikes, mowing equipment, cars, ATV’s, etc.). You can potentially reduce the spread of garlic mustard by thoroughly cleaning any materials that could come in contact with seed before you leave natural areas that could have established populations of this plant.

There is not one single method that will control the spread of garlic mustard in Iowa (see the following link for plant identification and general management), but when you go for a walk in a local natural area, do your part by making sure your footwear and clothing are clean before you enter and are clean again before you leave.

AmazonSmile donates 0.5% of eligible purchases!

Support Bur Oak Land Trust by shopping AmazonSmile – There’s always an occasion coming up to use this great feature on Amazon! Here’s the link to start your shopping: AmazonSmile

Bur Oak Land Trust is Accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

In 2013, after much hard work, Bur Oak Land Trust – formerly Johnson County Heritage Trust – was awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the national Land Trust Alliance, whose mission is “to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America.” We are one of 230 land trusts from across the country that have been awarded accreditation and the second in Iowa to receive this distinction.

Read this before you do your taxes!

Since 1982, when the Iowa legislature created the Fish and Wildlife Fund Tax Check-off, Iowans have been able to bring a little wildness into the tax season. The Fish and Wildlife Tax Check-off, affectionately called the Chickadee Checkoff was created to allow people to make a charitable donation to wildlife conservation in Iowa out of their tax refunds or by tacking a few dollars on to any taxes owed.  When filling out the state income tax form, just look for the contribution line (usually somewhere between lines 55-60) and write in any dollar amount next to Fish/Wildlife.

All the money contributed through the Chickadee Checkoff helps support the Wildlife Diversity Program at the Iowa DNR.  This program has statewide responsibility for all the wildlife that can’t be hunted, fished, or trapped from Peregrine Falcons to Poweshiek Skipperling butterflies.  You can learn more about the program on their website: www.iowadnr.gov/wildlifediversity.

Please consider donating to the Chickadee Checkoff this tax season and supporting wildlife conservation in Iowa!

Partnering with Goodshop.com

Bur Oak Land Trust has formed an exciting partnership with goodshop.com! Support our cause while getting easy access to the best values and deals on the web. Make sure to choose Bur Oak Land Trust when shopping at 5,000+ stores and save up to 20%, which will be donated to our efforts. Invite your friends to support Goodshop and even more will be donated to Bur Oak Land Trust. Use this link for easy access: Goodshop. Our loyal patrons have received terrific savings at Adagio Teas, CheapOStay, and the World Soccer Shop.

Wondering what to do with your stuff?

Bur Oak Land Trust has an account at STUFF, Etc. Quality Consignment Stores located at 1027 Hwy 6E, Iowa City OR 2818 Commerce Drive, Coralville. All you have to do to assist Bur Oak Land Trust is ask that the proceeds from the sale of your items go to Bur Oak Land Trust.

Wish List

Due to member requests as to how they may assist Bur Oak Land Trust, a WISH LIST has been compiled. Wish List pdf
For details or more information, please feel free to contact us at 1-319-338-7030 or info@buroaklandtrust.org
Thank you VERY much for your support!