Environmental Education

Two aspects of the Hardin County Conservation mission are “to protect and enhance county natural resources” and “to offer opportunities for our residents to participate in conservation education”. These goals are interdependent and the former could not be accomplished without the latter. To many, conservation still means increasing deer and pheasant populations, providing better hunting opportunities or making sure there are showers and playground equipment at our campgrounds.

There are about 365,000 acres of land in Hardin County. Only 1% (4,000 acres) of the total land area is being managed for the protection of natural resources and biodiversity. That leaves nearly 99% of the county’s natural resources in the hands of its residents and property owners. This staggering statistic spells out the overwhelming importance of county-sponsored environmental education for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Check the Upcoming Events section for information on upcoming educational programs or contact Calkins Nature Area at 641-648-9878 or by email to discuss scheduling a program or field trip.

GLO Survey 1836-1859 150 Years Later
Hardin County map showing land 1836-1859. Hardin County map in 1980s.
This map shows the vegetation of Hardin County prior
to European settlement. The tan areas represent prairie
and the green areas forest.
This map shows Hardin County land usage today. The white
area represents cropland, green is forest or trees around
farmsteads, and red is reconstructed prairie and CRP. Almost
no original prairie remains in Hardin County.