Board members are appointed by the County Board of Supervisors to five-year, staggered terms, and may be reappointed for additional terms. Board members must be citizens of Jefferson County, at least 18 years of age, and show a demonstrated interest in conservation. Conservation Board duties include: setting policies and budgets and determining the future direction for conservation in the county.
The origin of Iowa’s county conservation system started back in 1934 when a group of people, which included renowned conservationists Ding Darling and Aldo Leopold, developed a plan that would provide outdoor recreational opportunities to local county residents. From this idea, the first attempt was made in 1942 to pass enabling legislation. It wasn’t until 1955 that the county conservation law passed in the general session. That law, Chapter 350 of the Code of Iowa, gave counties the ability to create a county conservation board to acquire, develop, maintain, and make available museums, parks, preserves, recreational centers, forests, wildlife and other conservation areas, to promote the health and general welfare of the people, to encourage the conservation of natural resources, and to cultivate good citizenship by providing programs of public recreation. Under the jurisdiction of that code, the Jefferson County Conservation Board was established by popular vote in 1972. Since its inception, the Jefferson County Conservation Board has acquired and developed 12 areas encompassing approximately 1,400 acres.
Board members that have been appointed by the County Supervisors and have served on the Jefferson County Conservation Board include Wayne Parsons, Gene Parker, Bill Briggs, Dean Johnson, Norman Baird, Carl Zillman, Bill Baker, Terri Diers, Ron Meyers, Keith Wells, Kathy Tollenaere, Cory Klehm and Wayne Atwood. Four directors have been employed by the Board since its existence: Joan Sturdavent (1973 – 76), Jim Bashor (1977 – 83), Dennis Lewiston (1983 – 2019), and Shawn Morrissey (2019-present).
Jefferson County Conservation does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.