According to the Wednesday, August 14, 2019, Maquoketa Sentinel-Press, the Hurstville Interpretive Center was built on donated land and financed by grants and donations. I suspect that a perusal of the Conservation Board’s projects over the years will find other places and times where they received grants, none of which were just handed over because somebody drew their name out of a hat. Grant writing is a skill. It takes experience, expertise, tenacity, and strength of vision. Every resident of Jackson County benefits from money brought into the county like this.

In the same manner, every resident of Jackson County benefits from each and every tax dollar spent by and for the Jackson County Conservation Board. They do not waste your money, they multiple your money. They leverage their skills to bring even more benefits to the county, whether it is financial or environmental. They protect our natural resources, they provide services which enhance each citizen’s life, they educate us about the world around us, they provide a learning adventure for almost every school child in the county.

Jackson County Conservation staff maintains thirty-nine separate areas, which is an amazing number of places where county residents and many, many out-of-county citizens can enjoy a variety of activities. This means there is something of interest to involve almost every one of us. In a good summer, we could see over 20,000 campers move to Jackson County, Iowa, for a week or a weekend, to camp in our parks; support our local establishments; visit our attractions; and learn about this area. Countless people stop here for a myriad of reasons, and you will not meet most of them.

Interested in volunteering? The Friends of Jackson County Conservation is one of those organizations which makes helping out way too much fun. With your support over the years, this Friends group has raised thousands of dollars for the Hurstville Outdoor Makeover, the pavilion at Prairie Creek Recreation Area, summer interns, trumpeter swans, student field trips, an increased sustainability awareness in the county, bike/walking trails, summer day camps, to name a few. These Friends of Jackson County Conservation leverage donated dollars to maximize community improvement. The Friends of Jackson County Conservation invite you to join our activities by calling the Hurstville Interpretive Center at 563-652-3783; there are many ways to participate.

Congratulations to the Jackson County Conservation Board and the staff they employ and the Friends of Jackson County Conservation for the fifteen years you have spent in your offices in the beautiful building along Highway 61 north of Maquoketa. Your combined efforts have put Jackson County, Iowa, in the sights of many travelers along that highway, as well as in the hearts of, oh, so many citizens of the county and the surrounding area. Young and young at heart delight in your activities and educational opportunities, programs and outreach. You touch and enrich many lives.

Mary Hayward