Long-time Conservation Volunteer Wins 2023 Hagie Heritage Award

Published 11/27/2023 10:33:42 AM

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) has selected Dr. Ron Eckoff to receive the 2023 Hagie Heritage Award. The award recognizes Iowans who have demonstrated extraordinary personal service and commitment to improving the quality of Iowa’s natural environment, while encouraging others to do the same. Polk County Conservation (PCC) congratulates Ron Eckoff on this well-deserved award!


For over 20 years, Ron has been a steward of the land within Polk County parks, specifically Brown’s Woods. Before a formalized PCC volunteer program even existed, Dr. Eckoff was making his mark helping to eradicate invasives species & promoting native vegetation collaborating closely with PCC staff, fellow volunteers, and the public. Most recently, you may have seen him caring for native gardens at the park or attending OWLS programs at the Jester Park Nature Center with his wife, Barb. Beyond these contributions, Ron has dedicated countless hours restoring his 75-acre property, Twin Oaks located in Warren County, to prairie and oak savanna habitat including the protection of discovered remnant habitat areas. Through his many years of service, he has positively impacted our parks, PCC staff, our volunteer community, and so many others. In his own words, “I have always believed in trying to leave the world a little bit better than I found it…When combined with the efforts of many other individuals in south central Iowa and throughout Iowa, we are making a difference.”


Ron’s leadership in the field, deep-seated passion for conservation, and embodiment of the spirit of volunteerism and stewardship of the land has made it a true honor and privilege to have him be a part of our community and restoration efforts within Polk County. We thank Ron for his dedication to conservation and helping to inspire and leave the land for the next generation better than he found it.


To read more about Ron Eckoff’s accomplishments and learn more about the Hagie Heritage Award please visit:

Ron Eckoff (right) is pictured with John Zeitler (left) volunteering.