About Us | Dickinson County Conservation Board
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About Us

Dickinson County is truly a jewel of Iowa. When you mention Iowa to a non-Iowan the first thing that comes to mind are miles and miles of cornfields. Dickinson County is an oasis in the middle of farmland, with an abundance of lakes, wetlands, rolling hills, forests and tall grass prairies. Carved out some 13,000 years ago by a massive sheet of glacial ice, we have the gift of great natural diversity in land forms and ecosystems. There are sheltering forests, unique prairie remnants, fascinating glacial formations, fens, varieties of wetlands and beautiful lakes. Such habitat diversity attracts migratory and nesting songbirds and waterfowl, and supports countless other animals and plants year round. Maintaining the integrity of our natural areas and insuring viable and sustainable clean water, air and soil is a major concern. It was apparent that, awareness through education and interpretation of our natural and cultural resources was needed in order for the public to understand, appreciate and respect these treasures.

In February of 1969 the Dickinson County Conservation Board (DCCB) was established with the mission of protecting these resources.  Sometime later, in 1995, a full time naturalist was hired to provide environmental education to the citizens of Dickinson County. As the environmental education grew a non-profit was formed in 1997, the Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County (CFDC), to provide financial help. As conservation projects elicited a continued positive effect on the environment and those that share it, a bigger vision to build a nature center stood out. In 2002, the Conservation Foundation spent money to move the old Back Porch restaurant, from the Wahpeton area, to Kenue Park in Okoboji. It functioned as a Nature Center even in its rustic state until more money was available for renovations.

In 2010, the newly renovated Nature Center opened to the public with a whole list of amenities including, two levels, classrooms, kitchens, lab area, stone fireplace, sun room, office spaces and resource library. There are also nature friendly designs throughout the building like, geothermal heating and cooling, florescent lighting, motion sensory lighting system and high efficient widows and insolation. There is a Butterfly House on the property which serves at a Monarch way station, and plans are being made to enhance the center’s amenities with other features as well. Like the Nature Center mission says:

“providing a peaceful retreat for visitors where
natural, scenic and historical resources come togetherto create a living classroom
to explore, learn, and foster an appreciation for our natural world.”