Hartman Reserve has long history of sharing local natural wonders

With fall finally hitting hard, one may feel ready to bundle up and go on a stroll through the woods, and Hartman Reserve Nature Center is the perfect place to do that. With trees in autumn colors and breathtaking views, Hartman has it all. 

Amy Davidson, a staff member at Hartman, also said they have been working on opening a kids play area. Staff also host events year-round such as the “Spooky Story and Stroll” going last Thursday, Oct. 28, from 6 to 7 p.m. They do year-round events and have something for everyone, whether it be collecting sap and making syrup and pancakes or watching a movie and having dinner. 

According to Hartmanreserve.org, In 1938, John C. Hartman of the Waterloo Daily Courier helped the local YMCA purchase 56 acres of forested land. In the letter that accompanied his pledge to the YMCA, Hartman wrote, “The closer the young are kept to nature, the better and happier men and women they will become.” 

Camp Hartman Reserve was used for residential camping and other programs until the early 1970s. In 1976, Black Hawk County Conservation Board purchased the land in order to establish an environmental education center.

So clearly the nature reserve has been around for a while, but when it comes down to specifics of the 308.9-acre wooded isle, there’s no lack of information either. All sorts of wildlife can be found at the reserve with deer being one of the most common, and many species of birds and frogs too. 

Because of the massive population of deer, bowhunters are allowed to harvest deer every year. The Reserve staff have previously released otters and osprey into the water to help introduce them into the habitat. “The Cedar River, its backwaters, and two old gravel pits are found in the North Unit and provide a variety of aquatic habitat for geese, wood ducks, mallards and red-shouldered hawks,” according to the section on the water on their website. “There is one small native tallgrass prairie remnant hidden in the South Unit. Prairie plants have been restored in front of the Hartman Interpretive Center to create a prairie butterfly garden. Prairie plants have also been planted along the Prairie Trail and near the parking lot in the North Unit.” 

The Reserve Staff say their vision is preserving, managing and restoring the natural area to encourage native diversity, while expanding Hartman’s ability to adhere and adapt to cultural and technological changes, providing recreational and leisure opportunities with respect for the environment and natural heritage, cultivating resources for short and long term financial sustainability, providing opportunities for community involvement and promoting better public awareness, understanding and appreciation of our environment through education.

The Reserve is one of “The Big Five” managed by Black Hawk County Conservation. The original nature center, bought from the YMCA in the ’70s, was remodeled about four years ago.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.