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. 


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
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.


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 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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Shown are: Larry Vold and Tim Ranes (Friends Found.), Robert Schwartz (WCCB Dir.), Tim Missal (Friends Found./WCCB), Dennis Busta (Pres./CEO of Manufacturer's Bank and Trust/Hanson Found. Community Adviser), Jeff Schmidt (WCCB), and Paul Fitzgerald (Friends Foundation).

We are excited to announce that our Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation has received a $400,000 grant from the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Family Foundation on behalf of our Environmental Education Center Capital Campaign!

It probably goes without saying, but the Winter Stargazing program scheduled for tomorrow night has been canceled due to the frigid temperatures. We will let you know if it is rescheduled.

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!

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