Welcome

Welcome to the Winnebago County Conservation Board, one of 99 county conservation boards in Iowa.

We are located in the rolling hills of north-central Iowa's prairie pothole region.

Our purpose is to provide outdoor recreational opportunities for everyone and to protect and conserve our natural resources.

Scroll down for the latest news and browse through our web site often to see what we have to offer! And, be sure to contact us if you have any comments or questions!


FOLLOW US:

Read the latest edition of "The Prairie Country Quarterly" here.

Check out our
Thorpe Park web cam!

(Requires QuickTime)

Our web cam may be down at times but we will be getting a new camera soon. 

 

 

Due to the impending winter storm, the Winter Wildlife Program
that was scheduled to be held at Thorpe Park 
on Saturday morning
has been canceled.
We will try to reschedule the program for sometime in February.

 

 

 


 

The Winnebago County Conservation Board
would like to thank
Titonka Savings Bank 
and Manufacturer's Bank and Trust
for their very generous $10,000 donations
towards 
our new Environmental Education Center!
We truly appreciate their support of this project!

 

 

Cody Lycke of TSB presents WCCB Director Robert Schwartz with the first installment of their pledge.
Dennis Busta and Merri-Beth Hollinger present WCCB Director Robert Schwartz with their contribution.

 


 

We want to remind people that lake ice here in north Iowa may not be safe because this winter has been warmer than usual and that trend is expected to continue. In addition, many lakes, including Thorpe Park's Lake Catherine, have aerators turned on, and the ice will be even thinner near those aerators.

Please remember that any ice under 3" thick is not safe under any circumstance. At least 4" of solid ice is needed for ice-fishing, snowmobiling requires at least 5"-6" of ice, and 8"-12" of ice is required for a car to travel safely. If you are planning to drive a truck over the ice, make sure there is at least 12"-15" of solid, clear ice. And, no matter how thick the ice is, always make sure you have ice claws with you so you can climb out of the water if you do break through. Finally, never consume alcohol when you're out on the ice. It can impair your judgement and lower your body temperature. Enjoy your time outdoors this winter, but be sure to stay safe!

 


 

 

 

 


Environmental Education Center Capital Campaign

Connecting Generations Naturally:
A Campaign to Build an Environmental Education Center in Winnebago County

The WCCB and our Friends Foundation have begun a capital fundraising campaign to raise money for our new environmental education center. Below is information about that campaign and how you can help!

Why an Environmental Education Center?

Currently, Winnebago County has no environmental education center. The WCCB offices are housed in a 65-year old converted cabin which is not ADA-compliant and is at the end of a 5-mile gravel road. The current building is less than 2,000 square feet and can accommodate fewer than a dozen visitors at a time.

Almost 3/4 of Iowa's counties now have nature centers. These facilities get people outdoors and promote an increased quality of life. They offer environmental programming for school and civic groups, as well as the general public. They are  tourist destinations that help visitors learn about the valuable natural resources of the area and also serve as meeting locations for local civic groups and other organizations. Our center would serve all of these purposes, as well as house the offices of the WCCB.

 

  • The center will contain exhibits and interactive displays to help increase people's awareness and knowledge of their natural resources, as well as how to conserve those resources.
  • It will be centrally-located in the county, just south of the north junction of Highways 9 and 69.
  • The building will be 40' x 96', or 7,680 square feet over two levels.
  • It will be a post-and-beam design, with 28'-high vaulted ceilings.
  • The building will meet ADA specifications for accessibility.
  • It will include a variety of green design elements, including geothermal and solar energy systems.
  • Rooms will include offices, a large program/meeting room (that will seat 85-100 people), an exhibit area, a workshop/activity area, a staff meeting room, and a kitchenette.

Fundraising

It is estimated that the cost of the new center will be between $1.1 and $1.2 million. The WCCB has already voted to commit $225,000 of non-tax dollars to the project. The rest will be raised through grants and private donations. We do not anticipate using any tax dollars for the construction of the center.

The following donor recognition levels have been established...      

  • Chickadee Level: < $250
  • Bluebird Level: $250-$499
  • Goldfinch Level: $500-$999
  • Cardinal Level: $1,000-$2,499
  • Sandhill Crane Level: $2,500-$4,999
  • Trumpeter Swan Level: $5,000-$9,999
  • Bald Eagle Level: $10,000 and higher.

All donations under $250 will be recognized in "The Prairie Country Quarterly," our quarterly newsletter. Donations above that amount will be recognized at the center itself. A variety of naming opportunities will also be available for larger donations.

Fundraising will continue throughout 2018. Assuming we have a successful campaign, we hope to begin construction by Spring, 2019. And, if all goes as expected, we hope to be holding our Grand Opening in the Fall of 2019 or the Spring of 2020!

Donating

If you would like to help us with this exciting project, you can use this Pledge Form and send your donations to:

The Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation, Inc.
34496 110th Avenue
Forest City, IA   50436.

You can also donate via credit card, debit card, or Pay Pal.

Our Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so your contributions are tax-deductible. If you have questions about this project, or if you would like to make an especially large donation, please feel free to call and talk to us at 641-565-3390.

Thank you!


 

Do you shop on Amazon?

If so, you can help out our Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation!

Just click here and you can designate us as your preferred charitable organization! Then, each time you shop, go to smile.amazon.com and .5% of your qualified purchases will be donated to our foundation. It's an easy way to donate, and it doesn't cost you anything! For more information about AmazonSmile, click here.

Be sure to check it out. And, thank you!

Treat yourself to a relaxing stay at the Lake Catherine Cabin!

For more information about the cabin, you can download the following items:

Cabin rates are $57.75/weeknight and $73.50/Friday and Saturday nights. (These rates include sales tax.) To reserve the cabin, please let us know the dates using our reservation button below. Then, fill out the rental agreement above and return it to us either through the mail or electronically. Finally, send your payment in (including a separate $100 deposit check). Let us know if you have any questions!

Reserve Cabin Now
Reserve Cabin Now

We will contact you to confirm your reservation. Thank you!

Cabin Availability

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Check the calendar to the left
to see which 2018 dates
are available.

(Green dates are available,
red dates are already booked.)

A two-night minimum stay is required on weekends. 
Thank you!

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Due to the impending winter storm, the Winter Wildlife Program that was scheduled to be held at Thorpe Park on Saturday morning has been canceled. We will try to reschedule the program for sometime in February.

The Winnebago County Conservation Board and the Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation are happy to announce that Manufacturer’s Bank and Trust (MBT) has generously donated $10,000 towards the construction of the new Environmental Education Center here in Winnebago County! Dennis Busta (MBT President and Chief Executive Officer) and Merri-Beth Hollinger (MBT Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer) recently presented the bank's donation to Conservation Board Director Robert Schwartz.

So far, just under $474,000 of the $1.2 million price tag has been raised for the Center from private donors, local businesses, and grants. The WCCB and the FWCCF are extremely grateful to MBT for their generous contribution and for their support of this local project! For more information about the Center, the Capital Campaign to raise money for it, and how to donate to it, people can visit www.winnebagoccb.com.

The Winnebago County Conservation Board and the Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation are happy to announce that we have received a wonderful donation from Titonka Savings Bank (TSB) in the amount of a $10,000 pledge towards the construction of the new Environmental Education Center here in Winnebago County! Cody Lycke, TSB Marketing Officer, recently presented WCCB Director Robert Schwartz with the first installment of their donation.

So far, just under $474,000 of the $1.2 million price tag has been raised for the Center from private donors, local businesses, and grants. We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to TSB for their wonderful generosity and their support of this local project! For more information about the Center, the Capital Campaign to raise money for it, and how to donate to it, people can visit our web site at www.winnebagoccb.com.

A huge thank you goes out to Titonka Savings Bank for their recent $10,000 pledge towards the construction of our new Environmental Education Center! We are very appreciative of their generosity and grateful for their support of this project. In the photo is TSB Marketing Officer Cody Lycke presenting WCCB Director Robert Schwartz with the first installment of their donation. Thank you, TSB!

Twitter

Due to the impending winter storm, the Winter Wildlife Program
that was scheduled to be held at Thorpe Park on Saturday morning
has been canceled. We will try to reschedule the program for sometime in February.

A big thank you goes out to Manufacturer’s Bank and Trust (MBT) for their $10,000 donation for the new Environmental Education Center! Dennis Busta (MBT Pres./CEO) and Merri-Beth Hollinger (MBT Sr. Vice Pres./COO) recently presented the bank's donation to Robert Schwartz, WCCB.

We're happy to announce that we've received a $10,000 pledge from Titonka Savings Bank for the construction of the new Environmental Education Center! Cody Lycke, TSB Marketing Officer, recently presented WCCB Director Robert Schwartz with the first installment of their donation.

A huge thank you goes out to TSB for their $10,000 pledge for our new Environmental Ed. Center! We are very appreciative of their generosity and support! Here, Cody Lycke of TSB presents WCCB Director Robert Schwartz with the first installment of their donation. Thank you, TSB!

We would like to thank Rick Hofbauer for his 26 years of service to the Board! Rick was appointed to the Board in January of 1993 and retired from the Board this month. We truly appreciate his dedication to both the Board and to conservation here in north Iowa. Thank you, Rick!

We would like to thank Whitetails Unlimited for their $1,000 donation for the Hogsback Shooting Range northwest of Lake Mills! Maintenance and upkeep at the popular range is paid for mostly through donations, so their contribution is very much appreciated!

A while back, we shared news about the first big grant we received towards our new Environmental Education Center--a $27,000 grant from 3M. Well, since then, we have received more grants that we would like to share with you!

Due to the cloudy skies, we are going to have to cancel this evening's Autumn Stargazing Program at Thorpe Park. Although we won't be rescheduling, we encourage you to watch for our Winter Stargazing Program after the holidays!

Winter is a great time to observe some raptors that normally live further to the north! https://t.co/T2bf5CnPdq

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