The Nature Conservancy announced today that it has teamed up with a family to conserve 210 acres of prairie and oak woodland adjacent to the Turin Loess Hills State Preserve in Monona County.
The land is part of a 280-acre property, which includes the popular Country Homestead Bed & Breakfast, that has been owned by the Reese family of Turin for more than 150 years. Seventy acres had already been protected through the Wetlands Reserve Program, so the Conservancy purchased a conservation easement on the balance of the property. While the family will continue to own and manage the land, the easement ensures that it will not be developed.
“We are thrilled that we were able to partner with family members — who’ve been such great stewards of this land for four generations — and make sure that their property remains a beautiful natural area for people and wildlife,” said Sean McMahon, director of The Nature Conservancy in Iowa.
Jo Nelson, a member of the Reese family, said that three generations of her family were born and raised on the property and that she considers it to be their spiritual home. “We are all connected to the land of our ancestors and we feel responsible to make sure it is cared for forever,” she said.
The property supports a population of rare regal fritillary butterflies and is located within the Loess Hills, a 650,000-acre landscape that includes Iowa’s largest and most diverse native prairies along with ranches, farms and homes.
The Conservancy’s goal is to help conserve more than 100,000 acres in the Loess Hills through acquisition and conservation easements, and to maintain healthy ecological systems within a sustainable, working agricultural landscape.
“This is a great example of how the Conservancy works with landowners to conserve an incredible landscape for everyone’s benefit,” said Susanne Hickey, who directs the Conservancy’s work in the Loess Hills. “We hope that others who love the hills will consider conservation easements.”
The Conservancy is working with landowners and other partners in the region to encourage compatible development and to develop ways to improve pastures and prairies for the benefit of livestock and wildlife.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.