Bound by the Land
By Katy Heggen on July 11, 2018 in Landowner Stories
It all started as many good things do — as an idea developed between friends over beers.
Sandy Moffett had recently fallen in love with 80 acres for sale in Mahaska County. The land was part of a larger complex — approximately 700 acres — which got Sandy and his friend Doug Caulkins thinking: What if they could get together a few friends to purchase, restore and protect the whole thing?
They drafted a letter and sent it to some friends, many of whom were their colleagues at Grinnell College. Ten families responded. Together, they formed Pleasant Grove Land Preservation, Inc. The rest is, as they say, history.
“We all shared a vision for land preservation,” said Sandy. “We realized this wasn’t an opportunity that would come along again.”
That was two decades ago. All shareholders have remained invested in the property, bound together by a love of the land.
In 2010, Pleasant Grove Land Preservation, Inc., donated a conservation easement on just under 500 acres to INHF, land which it intends to donate to INHF in the coming years. In 2016 and 2017, the remaining 153 acres were donated to INHF with reserved life estates. Together, the transfers ensure the land will always be permanently protected.
“This kind of thing can be done,” Sandy said. “It just takes people who care about our land coming together and asking what they can do about it.”