OUR mission: To enhance and preserve iowa's natural heritage

About this website:

This website features photographs of a magical section of land in northeast Iowa--not even 100 acres in size and on which no permanent building structure has ever disturbed the land. This property is less than 10 miles from a metropolitan area of 170,000 residents. Portions of this land were cultivated and cattle were grazed upon it for more than a century after the Winnebago Indians were driven from this land by white settlers in 1848. Beginning in 2012, all of these longstanding (albeit misguided) uses were halted by The Lora B. Hesse Trust. Despite the ongoing force of residential development adjacent to this land, as well as the financial pressures to accede to commercial corn or soybean crops, this land has sat idle from any of those uses since that time. Our efforts are directed towards sustainability of use, including restoration of the native prairie and preservation of the historical woodlands.

Where others have chosen a course of destroying the natural pollinators that are essential in providing us honey as well as fruits and vegetables ... we choose to not pursue that path.

Where others continue to plant genetically-modified corn that leads to a destructive and an ever-dependent framework that destroys the sustainability of any organic enterprise ... we choose to not pursue that path.

Where others have chosen chemically-based farming practices with chemically-based fertilizers that lead to fouling of our watershed as well as the destruction of wildlife species, including the elimination of the milkweed necessary to the Monarch butterfly's survival ... we choose to not pursue that path.

As Charles Pierce opined in Esquire magazine on August 10, 2020: "Monarchs’ survival depends on two groups of plants—the oyamel firs down [in Mexico] and milkweed up north—that anchor their life cycle. Climate disruption is stressing the Michoacán firs at one end of the journey and milkweed at the other. Monarchs and milkweed didn’t coevolve in fields doused with Roundup. And too often the grassy verges of North American highways and parks where milkweed flourishes get mown to smithereens, interrupting the monarchs’ breeding cycle. Moreover, monarchs head south during early fall, the apex of hurricane season. As the oceans warm, hurricanes are growing more severe, further jeopardizing these delicate travelers. In short, the 2-million-year-old arc of migrant monarch life depends on rhythms ill matched to an increasingly arrhythmic world."

Where others continue to cut down trees to open the rich land for farming, we have stopped any destruction of this historic woodland and are planting hundreds of White Oak trees and other species to replenish the Oak-Hickory forest that comprised what was once called The Big Woods in the Cedar River valley. The forests of the world are called the lungs of the planet and these areas play a significant role in minimizing the effects of what is called climate change.

The Lora B. Hesse Trust has chosen what we hope will become a common journey for others in the coming years, particularly with the increasing dangers posed by the changing climate. All of our efforts going forward will be directed towards best practices in preserving and defending natural habitat as well as enhancing native plants and animals in this part of the United States, including protecting the many colorful species seen here that call this unique woodland and prairie property their home.

To those who would go against the grain and pursue an uncommon course in this collective effort to strike a blow for the environment and to help to combat the increasing ravages of problem weather caused by escalating climate change, we say:

"Come on in, the water's fine." And future generations yet unborn will thank you.