Growing pains that once plagued the local conservation center will see a new resurrection. The Mahaska County Conservation Center recently quadrupled its program participation, in attempt to match that of Linn County. There soon came a need for a larger space to house these programs. With a concept that began in August of 2008, the Mahaska County Conservation Board will soon break ground on the new Environmental Learning Center at Caldwell Park, just east of Oskaloosa.
Dave Sedivec, Mahaska County Conservation Board Director, addressed the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors on Monday, July 17. Sedivec thanked them again for approving the new building and that things with contractors have begun. He mentioned that contractors have begun to flood into the Oskaloosa area to reside as the building process begins.
With groundbreaking for this building set to occur next Thursday at 6:30 PM at Caldwell Park, and what better way to start off the celebration events than receiving a grant. The awarded grant is coming from the MidWestOne Foundation, which is awarding MidWestOne the Community Impact Grant. This specific grant will be utilized by the Mahaska County Conservation Center to put toward a specific exhibit in the new Environmental Learning Center east of Oskaloosa.
In 2010, Woolly Mammoth bones were discovered on a farm in rural Mahaska County. This $50,000 grant, from the MidWestOne Foundation, will cover the cost of an articulated life-sized mammoth skeleton, which is all man-made. A St. Louis based company, Taylor Made Fossils, has been chosen for the recreation of the mammoth. Taylor Made Fossils will construct the pieces, deliver them to the center and then assemble the skeleton on-site.
“This will be a display in their exhibit hall so that people can see the actual overwhelming size of the mammoth bones that were discovered here locally in Mahaska County,” said Jane Krutzfeldt, Administrative Associate at MidWestOne Bank.
Though the grant had been awarded to MidWestOne, donating it to the Environmental Learning Center will have such a profound impact on not only Oskaloosa, but many surrounding communities as well. Three different school districts and William Penn University will be impacted by the project, as well as countless conservation groups from the area. But being awarded the Community Impact Grant would not have been possible without the work of the staff at the Oskaloosa branch.
“The staff is very much behind this grant,” said Krutzfeldt. The grant was awarded to the local Oskaloosa MidWestOne branch due to staff involvement. Over 86% of the staff have pledged to volunteer their time at the Environmental Learning Center.
The community supports this project, and has taken steps to add other attractions to promote more traffic to the area.It is our hope that it can be enhanced through MidWestOne’s generosity in bestowing the MidWestOne Community Impact Grant, and allowing the featured attraction, our Woolly Mammoths, to reign once again.
The presentation of the check is slated for Monday, July 31st, at 9 AM at the MidWestOne Bank.
Again, groundbreaking on the Environmental Learning Center is set for Thursday, August 3rd at 6:30 PM at Caldwell Park.
For more information visit: www.mahaskaconservation.com