The Lockards: Looking Back on the Legacy of Two Caretakers

Published 3/28/2023 2:56:02 PM

Carol and Fred Lockard generously donated the property they have called home for the last forty-six years to Polk County Conservation. The 8.14 acres of forest, field, and creek, valued at $280,000 was donated with the intention of preserving the flora, fauna, and wildlife who also call the space home.

During their forty-six years they enjoyed being surrounded by a wide variety of trees, day-long bird concerts, and many wildlife sightings including daily visits from deer and wild turkeys. Their three children loved wading and playing in the creek, and having horses, a dog, and cat.

The whole family was involved in planting more trees around the house and shop, but for some reason the kids were never enthusiastic about that part of country living. Their replanting efforts did help in restoring parts of the natural landscape.

City-boy Fred took to country life; he was like a little kid with a new toy. He loved tooling around the acreage on his tractor. He also loved riding the horses and became a good “vet” when the horses needed shots. This “city boy” soon grew to love country living and the wonderful country neighbors. 

Carol also loves country life because being out in nature is very spiritual for her. She loves digging in the dirt and participating in the miracle of new growth. The rich soil of three large gardens produced beautiful flowers, also luscious vegetables not only to be canned or fresh for the table, but shared with family, neighbors, and friends.

Many of her favorite memories, Carol said, are of “working in the garden with the sun shining, a whisper of wind rustling leaves in the trees, and the birds singing. It meant getting close to the earth and close to God. Nature was filling my soul with its beauty, calming yet energizing.” 

Fred’s advice to his wife when she would come in dirty and sweaty from gardening in Iowa’s summer heat, was always, “It’s cool in the house. Why don’t you just go to the store and buy tomatoes?” And Carol always said, “Because I love watching them grow!”

Both Carol and Fred viewed themselves as caretakers of the land, not owners. The restoration, cultivation, and conservation of the land has always been the utmost priority for the Lockards. The woods on their property were truly an oasis for them, it was a place to enjoy walking with their dog, Andy, somewhere for grandkids to come visit and explore, and a serene place for contemplation.

For forty-six years Carol and Fred put their love and hard work into caring for the land and the creatures who called it home, now they pass the torch to Polk County Conservation. We will continue to care for the land and protect it for generations to come.


The Lockards (bottom left) with Polk County Conservation.