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.

Property Ownership & Education

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.

Helpful Resources

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

Historic Maps

  • GLO Survey 1836 to 1859: This map shows the vegetation of Hardin County prior to European settlement. The tan areas represent prairie and the green areas forest.
  • 150 Years Later: 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.

GLO Survey 1836 to 1859 (JPG)

GLO Survey 1836 to 1859 (JPG)

150 Years Later (JPG)

Hardin County 1980 (JPG)