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!

Facebook Twitter Pinterest

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

Three Deer Eating


Check out our
Thorpe Park web cam!




Covid-19 Restrictions:

The WCCB office and shop buildings remain closed to the public.

All kitchen utensils and cooking supplies have been removed from the Lake Catherine Cabin, so please bring your own if you plan to cook in the cabin. 

Please be sure to follow these rules while visiting our county parks:
--Observe all social distancing rules. Please keep a 6' distance from others, and allow others to keep their distance, as well.
--Avoid touching common surfaces when possible.
--Avoid touching your face.
--Please wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often.

Thank you!







Meet Our Newest Employee--
Nicole Templeton

“Hi! My name is Nicole Templeton and I am the new Natural Resource Technician for the Winnebago County Conservation Board. I grew up in Thompson, IA, and have lived nearly my whole life here in Winnebago County. I graduated from Forest City High School in 2012 and went on to college at Iowa State University. I graduated from ISU in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Ecology. Ever since I was little I have enjoyed doing things like horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and basically anything outdoors. I am very excited for this new opportunity and look forward to serving Winnebago County and getting to know more of its residents!”




South View of New Building



Our “Educating and Connecting Generations Naturally” Capital Campaign has topped the $1.4 million fundraising mark, thanks to some nice grants and many private donations! We are currently in discussions about the best time to let bids.

Some work has already been completed. In fall of 2019, a septic system was installed at the site, there was preliminary site preparation, and a grove of trees was removed. The grove consisted of “weedy” trees such as box elder, mulberry, and ash that are of minimal benefit to wildlife; they will eventually be replaced with trees and shrubs that will be more beneficial. This past spring, we also completed dirt work at the site and planted native prairie grasses and flowers! The plan now is to decide the best time to let bids. Depending upon that time line, actual construction may begin this fall. Hopefully, we'll be able to celebrate a Grand Opening sometime in 2021!

We want to thank all the donors who have contributed so generously to this project and have helped to make this vision become a reality! We are truly grateful for all the support we have received!

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.

Blomster Ground in Fall
  • 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.


It is estimated that the cost of the new center will be between $1.4 and $1.5 million. The WCCB has already voted to commit $225,000 to the project and the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors has committed $145,000. None of this money will come from county tax dollars. The rest is being raised through grants and private donations.

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 also be recognized at the center itself. A variety of naming opportunities will also be available for larger donations.

Fundraising will continue throughout 2020. We have completed preliminary dirt work, installed the septic system, and plan to let construction bids this summer, with actual construction beginning in the fall. If all goes as expected, we then hope to be holding our Grand Opening early in 2021!

Winnebago County Conservation Environmental Education Center Draft


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!

Available on Amazon Smile

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

Please Note:
For (Covid) safety reasons, we have removed all the kitchen utensils from the cabin, including pots, pans, dishes, cooking utensils, silverware, etc. Please bring along your own kitchen supplies. All kitchen appliances (refrigerator, stove, toaster, coffee maker, microwave) will still be available for use.

The checkout time at the cabin is now 11:00 AM instead of noon. This will allow us extra time to clean the cabin between guests. Check-in time will still be 3:00 PM, but it will be strictly enforced to allow for the extra cleaning.

Please remember, as always, you will still need to bring your own bedding and towels. We look forward to seeing you!

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

Cabin rates are $61.00/weeknight and $77.00/Friday and Saturday nights. (These rates include sales tax and Iowa hotel/motel 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 $200 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!

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

Green dates are available.
Red dates are not available.
Orange dates are not available, either.
(Orange dates are for deep cleaning
before and after reservations.) 

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



We've posted Part 2 of our virtual Summer Wildflower Walk on You Tube, covering Goldenrods and New England Asters. We hope you enjoy it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ukt7gVp9RAo

Public trap shooting at the Florence Trap Shooting Range has been canceled for tonight due to the weather. The next scheduled date for public shooting is next Wednesday, September 16th, from 5:00-7:00 PM.

We’re celebrating wildlife big & small on #NationalWildlifeDay! Take time to go outside, relax, & explore nearby nature. What are your favorite fishes, plants, & animals? Photos: Polar bears, great blue heron, monarch butterfly, & pallid sturgeon by USFWS


Couldn't make it to our Monarch butterfly program on Zoom? Watch it here! Then, stop out at the Thorpe Park shelter house tomorrow (Friday) evening from 6:00-7:00 PM to tag some Monarchs for research. BYOB (Bring Your Own Butterflies), if you want😊! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOvOfI1pehA

There will be public trap shooting this evening at the Florence Trap Shooting Range, from 5:00-7:00 PM. The cost will be $3/25 targets. Please bring your own gun and ammo, as well as eye and ear protection. We hope to see you there!

If you're looking for a relaxing getaway this weekend, our Lake Catherine Cabin at Thorpe Park is available this Friday and Saturday night! If you'd like to make a reservation, contact us or go to our web site (http://www.winnebagoccb.com) where you can reserve it online.

Come join our Monarch Migration program tomorrow evening at 7:00 PM via Zoom! Learn all about the Monarch and its amazing migration, all from the comfort of your own home! Simply contact Lisa Ralls at lralls@winnebagoccb.com for the program link. We hope to see you there!

All target shooters, please take note...

Only supervised target shooting, during designated times, is allowed at the Florence Trap Shooting Range. For public safety, please respect this rule and refrain from shooting when the range is not open and supervised. Thank you!

Load More...