Celebrating 30 years: Educational programs at Heery Woods reach milestone

Naturalist Brad Friedhof teaches participants about invasive species in Iowa woodlands during the Education Program’s 30th Anniversary Celebration at Heery Woods Nature Center.

The Butler County Conservation Board and Friends of Heery Woods Nature Center celebrated 30 years of Environmental and Outdoor Recreation programs on Sunday.

     Visitors to the nature center were treated to a variety of speakers and events. Mike Miner, Butler County Conservation Director, discussed the future of the program. Sue Ebensberger, President of Friends of Heery Woods, gave a presentation on the purpose of the Friends. Naturalist Steve Martin, who has been with the program since its inception, discussed the program’s history.  

     Former naturalist intern and current Warren County Conservation Naturalist II Karen Johlas-Szalkowski led a kids’ hike, and Dr. Suess’ character The Oncler told the story of The Lorax. Another former naturalist intern, Brad Freidhof, and current intern Katy Cantin discussed the control of invasive species in Iowa Woodlands and how goats are used at Heery Woods to help control invasive species. The Double J. Wranglers entertained with cowboy music, as a meal was served.

     Special guest John Heery shared his story of how he came to Heery Woods. The first land deed in Butler County was a little over 158 acres deeded to John Heery in 1850. Heery’s two daughters sold 384 acres, including the original tract, to the state of Iowa for a total of $5034. The state enlisted the help of the Works Progress Administration in 1935 to plan and develop the park. They built the lodge and restrooms, and a wing dam. They also worked to curb erosion. The facilities have served well for the past 80+ years.    

Read more in the August 2 edition of the STAR or TRIBUNE.