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  Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, December 25, 2014, Page 1

Nature Center plans coming to fruition
Fundraising helped by Dekko donation

If plans come together as expected, Ringgold County will soon be home to a brand new year-round nature center.

According to Kate Zimmerman, Ringgold County Conservation Director, the center will be located at the west end of Poe Hollow Park east of Mount Ayr. When completed, the center will have a separate entrance from Highway 2 and a parking lot large enough to accommodate a school bus. The nature center will be connected to both Poe Hollow Park and the Ringgold Trailway via a system of trails.

Currently the plan is to erect a one-of-a-kind 48 foot by 72 foot post and beam building similar to "The Barn" that houses Cunning Real Estate on Highway 2 in Mount Ayr. Zimmerman and members of the Ringgold County Conservation Board (RCCB) are working with Tanner Rinehart, representing Cunning Company Inc. and Sand Creek Post and Beam, on designs and construction estimates.

Zimmerman said the center will provide a facility for year-round environmental education programming, including open space for exhibits devoted to woodlands, wetlands and prairies found in Ringgold County. The facility will be able to house live animal exhibits including native insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish.

When completed, the building will provide programming for schools and other groups. Zimmerman said her hope is to create another attraction to encourage tourism in Ringgold County. She added the center would also be available for rent to area businesses and local organization meetings.

The Conservation Board is currently reviewing plans and seeking grants and donations for the center's completion. So far, $160,000 of the $220,000 goal has been pledged or received, including a $100,000 pledge from the Dekko Foundation. The Dekko Foundation's pledge has been set aside for this project but will only be paid out when the Ringgold County Conservation Board has secured all of the money needed to complete the project.

Donations need to be secured by July 2015 to secure the future of this project. Other donations have come from local organizations, businesses and individuals. Zimmerman said donations of $240 or more will receive permanent recognition at the facility.

Jim Tull has donated the dozer work to build the driveway and prepare the building site this spring, with construction to follow as soon as funding allows. Rinehart and Cunning Company Inc. have also agreed to donate their commission to help bring the nature center project to fruition.

"This would be a great project for any business needing an end of the year tax deductible donation, memorials for loved ones or nature enthusiasts," said Zimmerman.

For more information or to donate to the project, contact Zimmerman at 641-464-2878.

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2015

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, November 17, 2016, Page 10

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, June 08, 2017, Page 1

Dragoon Trace Nature Center grand opening nears

The Ringgold County Conservation Board invites the public to the grand opening of the new Dragoon Trace Nature Center in Mount Ayr on Saturday, June 24, at 2 p.m.

There will be a grand opening ceremony, followed by a ribbon cutting that officially opens the building to the public.

The Dragoon Trace Nature Center will be a spotlight in southwest Iowa and will be the only environmental education facility in all surrounding counties.

This project includes unique natural resources and creative funding alliances that will enhance the cultural, recreational and educational assets in Southern Iowa and offer a diverse program selection to the public that will cater to all ages.

This project was funded by multiple grants, memorials, business and personal donations. No local tax dollars have been used in the construction of the Dragoon Trace Nature Center.

(The Dragoon Trace is an historic trail that runs north and south through central Iowa and Missouri, including Ringgold County. It was originally made by the migration of animals, such as bison. Later used by the pioneers, this was the road to change Iowa's civiliation.)

For more information contact Ringgold County Conservation at (641)-464-2787

Ringgold County Conservation Officer Kate Zimmerman and friend attended the Ellston June Jamboree.

Photographs Courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, June of 2017


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