About the Book

Rebecca Conard, Contributing Co-editor
Rebecca Conard is Professor of History Emeritus at Middle Tennessee State University and former director of the MTSU Public History Program. Throughout her career she has combined academic teaching and scholarship with applied history, working extensively with national, state, and local agencies and organizations. Her publications include several works on the history of parks and protected areas, including Places of Quiet Beauty: Parks, Preserves, and Environmentalism (1997), an environmental history of the Iowa state park system. After retiring from teaching in 2016, she returned to her native state of Iowa.

Angela Corio, Co-editor
Angela Corio holds a degree in landscape architecture from Iowa State University and is a retired state park planner. During her 36-year career with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, she combined her passion for people in the outdoors and her love of the Iowa landscape. Her planning efforts included almost all Iowa state park improvements, continuing a tradition of conjoining landscape architecture and park planning that began in Iowa in 1924. Her most notable accomplishments were comprehensive master plans for Iowa’s largest recreation areas—Volga and Brushy Creek—as well as redevelopment plans for older parks such as Pikes Peak, Maquoketa Caves and Viking Lake; Recreation Use Plans for 25 other parks; and the Iowa State Parks Design Guide, Long Term Vision for State Park Architecture.

James Scheffler, Co-editor
After completing graduate studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1971, Jim Scheffler started a 30-year career with the Iowa Conservation Commission/Department of Natural Resources.  There, he held a variety of supervisory and administrative positions, including Assistant Bureau Chief of State Parks.  His special projects included developing the Iowa Civilian Conservation Corps Museum at Backbone State Park and the Maquoketa Caves State Park Visitor Center. In addition to his many contributions throughout his career, he was considered the resident state park historian.

Heidi Hohmann, Iowa State Park Planning and Design
Heidi Hohmann, ASLA, is an associate professor of landscape architecture at Iowa State University, where she has taught landscape history and design studios since 2000. A licensed landscape architect, she previously worked in private and public practice in Minneapolis, Vermont, and Boston, specializing in the preservation of historic landscapes.

Cornelia F. Mutel, Ecosystems and Iowa State Parks
Cornelia F. Mutel’s career has focused on expressing her passion for nature through writing for a lay audience. Her published books on Midwestern natural history and restoration ecology include Fragile Giants (1989, natural history of the Loess Hills), The Emerald Horizon (2008, Iowa’s natural history), A Watershed Year (2010, on Iowa’s 2008 floods), and A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland (2016).  Now retired from a position as Senior Science Writer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa, she lives with her husband in an oak woodland near Iowa City.

John Pearson, Biodiversity and Iowa State Parks
John Pearson is coauthor of Deep Nature (2009) and The Guide to Iowa’s State Preserves (2001).  He holds a master’s degree in forestry from Southern Illinois University and doctorate in botany from the University of Wyoming.  From 1982 to 1985, he worked as an ecologist for The Nature Conservancy in South Dakota.  Since 1985, he has held the position of Senior Ecologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, working with endangered species, the state preserve system, and the environmental review process.

Jean C. Prior, Geology and Iowa State Parks
As a research geologist with the Iowa Geological Survey for 38 years, Jean Prior’s work focused on forecasting the depth and quality of groundwater supplies, the interpretation and protection of significant natural areas in Iowa, and the development of educational materials related to the state’s geology and landscape history. She is the former editor of Iowa Geology, author of Landforms of Iowa (1991), editor of Iowa-Portrait of the Land (2000), and lead author of Iowa’s Groundwater Basics (2003). She served on the State Preserves Advisory Board, is a past president of the Iowa Academy of Science, and contributed to the Iowa Public Television series, The Land Between Two Rivers.

William Whittaker, Archaeology and Iowa State Parks
William Whittaker is the editor of the Journal of the Iowa Archeological Society, and editor and co-author of Frontier Forts of Iowa (2009) and the Archaeological Guide to Iowa (2015).  He currently is the research director for the Iowa Office of the State Archeologist at the University of Iowa.  He has led numerous archaeological surveys and excavations throughout the state during his 25-year career.

 Brian Gibbs, Nature Photographer
Brian Gibbs has been addicted to Iowa’s wild places ever since his father first took him trout fishing and camping in Yellow River State Forest as a child. Brian’s work on capturing the beauty of Iowa’s public lands has appeared in the Iowa Outdoors magazine, Big River magazine, Wapsipinicon Almanac, and Travel Iowa. In his free time, he plays outside as much as possible. 

Carl Kurtz, Nature Photographer
Carl Kurtz has lived on a family farm near St. Anthony, in western Marshall County, since his birth in 1945.  His B.S. in Fish and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University (1968) set him on a path of lifelong learning. He is a naturalist and prairie seed farmer, which encompasses freelance writing, photography, teaching, lecturing, and tallgrass prairie reconstruction and prairie seed sales. He has given hundreds of lectures to students and civic groups of all kinds during the past 40 years, and counting. Carl is also the author of Iowa’s Wild Places (1996), A Practical Guide to Prairie Reconstruction (2001, 2010), and A Year of Iowa Nature: Discovering Where We Live (2014).

Don Poggensee, Nature Photographer
Don Poggensee grew up on a small farm in Crawford County.  After graduating from Denison Community High School, he served in the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1968 and then managed the Ida Grove, Iowa, airport for several years.  In 1974, he joined Gomaco Corp. as a corporate pilot and photographer.  When not flying, he also managed Gomaco’s color photo lab and digital lab.  Since retiring in 2011, he has continued his photographic work, which he markets through Wind Rider Images, his stock photo company.

Larry Stone, Nature Photographer
During Larry Stone’s 25-year career as outdoor writer/photographer with the Des Moines Register, he traveled throughout Iowa, visiting most of our parks and preserves. He grew up on a southern Iowa farm but is a long-time resident of Clayton County. He remains a passionate advocate for Iowa’s natural resources, most recently by serving on the Clayton County Conservation Board. Larry was the lead writer for Iowa-Portrait of the Land (2000); author of Listen to the Land (2004) and Whitetail: Treasure, Trophy or Trouble (2003); and co-author with Jon W. Stravers of Sylvan T. Runkel: Citizen of the Natural World (2003) and Gladys Black: The Legacy of Iowa’s Bird Lady (2010).