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Friends For Good

July 7, 2020

Friendships are sometimes born out of necessity. They start with a mutual interest and, through a shared love, can bloom into beautiful and healthy relationships. That’s how Hartman Nature Reserve and The Friends of Hartman Reserve became best friends forever.

The Friends of Hartman Reserve was established in 1987 as a funding source for the Hartman Nature Reserve, an entity of the Black Hawk County Conservation Board. Today, the Friends of Hartman Reserve is a group of volunteers who donate time, expertise, and advocacy, along with financial support, to enhance this natural treasure located in Black Hawk County.

According to Kendra Wohlert, Friends of Hartman Reserve board president, the group plays an essential supporting role in bringing what makes Hartman Reserve great to the Cedar Valley and for people across the state who want to be part of a nature lovers’ community. 

In 2019, the group took an important step to ensure it could support Hartman Nature Reserve forever when it decided to utilize the Friends of Hartman Reserve Endowment Fund, established in 1995 with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, in a more prominent way to accomplish their long-term philanthropic goals. 

“Over the years, the Friends organization has had a good relationship with the Community Foundation through partnerships and receiving grants,” stated Kendra. “We felt the Foundation looked at both Hartman Reserve and the Friends group as organizations that added value to the community. CFNEIA is a well established local community foundation, but we also appreciate that it serves a broader community across northeast Iowa, similar to Hartman Reserve.”

The Friends of Hartman has an action plan to grow its fund to reach the $1 million mark that was a dream of board members 25 years ago, and the dream is getting closer to becoming a reality. Ultimately, this goal allows the Friends of Hartman Reserve to conserve the place its members love for future generations.

“Hartman Reserve is a touchstone for our community’s heart and spirit,” said Kendra. “It is a physical, mental, and spiritual haven for thousands of people who visit this unique natural space every year. We are grateful it is in our own back yard. It is the Friends of Hartman Reserve’s mission that it continue to be a vibrant and enriching part of our community.”