It is the mission of the Hardin County Conservation Board to:
- Provide safe and healthful recreational opportunities
- Protect and enhance county natural resources
- Offer opportunities for our residents to participate in conservation education
The first meeting of the Hardin County Conservation Board was held on July 8, 1958. Shortly thereafter, on August 12, 1958, the first parcel of property was given to Hardin County Conservation Board and is now known as Bigelow Park.
The conservation board hired Iowa Falls native, Homer Calkins, as the first executive director on October 5, 1960. Over the last 60 years, the Hardin County Conservation Board has acquired 63 natural areas and manages nearly 4,000 acres of prairie, timber, wetlands, campgrounds, and parks. Included is Calkins Nature Area, a 76 acre interpretive park, managed and staffed by the Hardin County Conservation Board, specializing in environmental education and programming.
Hardin County has a rich history in many aspects. The Iowa River Greenbelt has been an attraction for people since the prehistoric era. Just one unique trait of Hardin County is the convergence of three major geological surfaces; you’ve got the Iowan Surface (east of the Iowa River), the Des Moines Lobe (west of the Iowa River), and the Southern Iowa Drift Plain which is found in the southeast corner of the county. These three land forms meet in the eastern part of the county on the Iowa River, creating both unique ecological and cultural history.