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 Grounds in Fall

Facts About the New Center

  • 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 at least $1.5-$1.6 million. The WCCB has already voted to commit $225,000 of non-tax dollars to the project. The rest is being 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 is continuing! We hope to accept a construction bid sometime in 2021. And, if all goes as expected, we hope to be holding our Grand Opening in 2022!



If you would like to help us with this exciting project, you can download this Pledge Form and send your donation 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!

Capital Campaign Donors--Thank You!
Please check out the following list of business donations and grants we have received!
We will continue to update this list as donations come in.

The Winnebago County 
Conservation Board
and the Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation
would like to extend our extreme gratitude to
the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Family Foundation
for their very generous $400,000 grant
our new Environmental Education Center!
We truly appreciate their support of this project!

Accepting the $400,000 contribution is (from left to right):
Larry Vold (Friends Foundation)
Tim Ranes (Friends Foundation)
Robert Schwartz (WCCB Director)
Tim Missal (Friends Foundation/WCCB)
Dennis Busta (President/CEO of Manufacturer's Bank and Trust, Hanson Foundation Community Adviser)
Jeff Schmidt (WCCB)
and Paul Fitzgerald (Friends Foundation).

The John K. and Luise V. Hanson Family Foundation, $400,000 (see above)

Iowa Economic Development, $250,000

The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors, $145,000

3M, $27,000

The Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation, $25,000

Winnebago Industries Foundation, $25,000

Winnebago County Community Foundation, $20,500

The Worth County Development Authority, $13,405.77

The John K. and Luise V. Hanson Family Foundation, $10,000 (in Honor of David L. Kingland) 

Titonka Savings Bank, $10,000

Manufacturers Bank and Trust, $10,000

Asmus Farm Supply, Inc., $10,000

EDF Renewables, $10,000
(Seen in right the photo with the award is Brad Huntington, Doug Ostermann, and Tim Missal)

The Farrer Endowment Foundation, $10,000

Thompson Family Foundation, $10,000

The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, Anonymous Fund, $7,000

ITC Midwest, $5,000
(Seen in the left photo is Dan Hagan and Lori Broghammer from ITC Midwest presenting the check to Tim Missal and Robert Schwartz)

Alliant Energy, $5,000

DuPont Pioneer, $3,000

Forest City Community School District, $2,500

The Lake Mills Community School District, $2,500

The North Iowa Community School District, $2,500

The City of Forest City, $2,000

Pheasants Forever, $1,035

Larson Farms and Trucking, $1,000

Heartland Power Cooperative, $1,000

Norsemen Outdoors, $1,000

Winnebago Industries Foundation Community GO Award, $1,000

State Savings Bank of Rake, $1,000

Farmer's Trust and Savings Bank, $1,000

3M Foundation (Employee Matches), $533.64 

Thompson Lions Club, $500

The City of Buffalo Center, $500

K1 Excavating, $500

Christensen Farms, $500

Kingland Construction, $250

The Branding Iron Restaurant, $250

Rice Lake Izaac Walton League, $250

Mittelstadt Funeral Home, $250

The City of Rake, $250

Dave's Auto Service, $250

D.K. Arndt, PC, $250

Winter Dental, $250

Advanced Door Systems, $250

Holland Contracting, $250

Country Gardener's Club, $250

Winnebago County Soil and Water Conservation District, $250

Tri-County Ducks Unlimited, $250

Ag Performance, $250

Central Iowa Distributing, $150

AJ Embroidery, $100

We want to thank everyone for all the wonderful support we have received for this project! 

We are currently preparing for bid-letting and hope to break ground either later this year or early next year. 

We will continue to need additional funds throughout the construction process, so we hope you will consider a donation!