Big gains for Bur Oak in 2022

It has been a year of advancement and growth for Bur Oak Land Trust.

Throughout 2022, Bur Oak has expanded land protection efforts and restoration acres and capabilities. Through its AmeriCorps program and Fee for Service programs, Bur Oak has also strengthened partnerships across Eastern Iowa.

Bur Oak acquired its largest property to date and assisted a local county conservation board in further protecting previously owned Bur Oak land. Both moves made more of Iowa’s natural spaces available to the public to learn and experience diverse habitats in this part of the state.

The land trust also hired its first woman Land Steward in its nearly 45-year history. Sarah Lawinger served as an AmeriCorps member at Bur Oak for 3 years, taking on more responsibilities each year and completing her Master of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. “It’s been my pleasure to contribute to management on the Bur oak properties,” she said. “Gender has no bearing on one’s ability to be a good land steward, and I am happy to be a part of the continued and greater representation for women in a traditionally male-dominated field.”

The community made memories in nature, learned new skills and experienced what conservation is all about through the many Bur Oak-hosted events, classes and volunteer opportunities including Chainsaw Academy, Foster a Pawpaw, pawpaw potting and planting, Pollinator Week, Milkweed Harvest, Golden Hour and seasonal hikes.

Bur Oak championed establishing the protection of habitat for endangered bees, surveyed for threatened and endangered bats at Corriell, and rallied against proposed legislation at the statehouse that would make it difficult for landowners to donate their property to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The land trust’s AmeriCorps program expanded to include new partnerships with members serving with N-Compass’s Iowa Project AWARE event, Johnson County Conservation and School of the Wild and Wildlife Camps at the University of Iowa. Bur Oak also doubled its Land Management for Hire program which provides better habitat management solutions to landowners in Eastern Iowa. 

But it doesn’t end there. Next year, Bur Oak will celebrate 45 years of conservation. Please consider making a year-end gift today to keep the trust going strong in 2023 and beyond.

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