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!


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. 

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.


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!


If you would like to help us with this exciting project, you can 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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Join us for our Autumn Stargazing Program on November 29th! Meet at the entrance to Thorpe Park at 7:00 PM to learn about the stars and constellations visible during the fall. The event will last about 45 minutes, but may be canceled if skies are cloudy. We hope to see you there!

The Thorpe Park and Dahle Park campgrounds are officially closed for the season. We hope you have enjoyed camping at our county parks this year and look forward to seeing you again next year!

The Winnebago County campgrounds at Thorpe Park and Dahle Park will be closing for the season on Monday, October 15th. So, if you want to get in one more camping trip this year, this weekend is the time to do it! The Lake Catherine Cabin at Thorpe Park, though, is open all year!

The Auto Tour at Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge is open from now through Sunday. Be sure to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to observe the waterfowl migration here in north Iowa! https://t.co/64GFbCFHLX

Due to the rainy weather, we are canceling this evening's public trap shooting at the Florence Trap Shooting Range. The next public shooting opportunity will be on Sunday, from 2:00-4:00 PM. We hope you can join us then!

September public shooting dates have been set at the Florence Trap Shooting Range...Call if you'd like more information.

The Ambroson Recreation Area parking lot along hwy 69, south of Leland, is currently closed due to high water from the Winnebago River. The west side of the area, though, can be accessed off of 168th Avenue.

A huge thank you goes out to the 3M Corporation for awarding the Friends of Winnebago County Conservation a $27,000 grant that will go towards the construction of our new Environmental Education Center! We truly appreciate their generosity!

Join us at the Thorpe Park shelter house Thursday for our annual Monarch Tagging program! There will be a short program from 6:00-6:30 PM, with tagging from 6:30-8:00. People are welcome to come just for the program, just for the tagging, or for both. We hope to see you there!

Monarchs are migrating now, and so are hummingbirds. Be sure to keep your nectar feeders filled!

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