VENTURA — More than 30 volunteers braved Wednesday’s heat and humidity to clean up one of the last pieces of privately owned, undeveloped lakefront property on Clear Lake.
The Friends of Clausen’s Cove was host to a volunteer work day at the 240-acre site on Clear Lake.
In 2007, the late Max Clausen of Clear Lake donated the property to the Iowa Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
Volunteers including two groups of clients from Opportunity Village were cleaning up an old dump site and clearing thistles on another part of the property.
“It has so many different habitat types. It has old growth oak forests. There are oak trees that four people have to hold hands to get around. It has wonderful wetlands,” said Amy Crouch with The Nature Conservancy.
The dump site is near an old farmstead. Volunteers were picking up tin cans, tires, glass and assorted parts of appliances.
Volunteer Ruby Golnick of Garner is a science teacher at Mason City High School.
“It’s a good experience to bring back to my classroom for the kids,” she said while picking up glass and old metal parts.
“This gets them to understand how much work it is to clean up this environment so let’s not create the mess in the first place.”
Golnick said this was her first trip to Clausen’s Cove.
“I love the wetland. To see the health of the wetland is cool.”
Crouch said the property contains a great diversity of plants including sedge meadows and upland prairie.
“Just about any habitat you can find in Iowa, you can find it here,” Crouch said.
Another volunteer, Meg Schmitt, Chicago, is studying environmental science at Grinnell College.
She is working for The Nature Conservancy this summer as an “Anna Beal” intern.
The Anna Beal Trust, founded in 1974, is the primary funding source for the summer intern program. The benefactors of the trust were Ed and Anna Beal, farmers from Black Hawk County.
“I knew it offered a lot of opportunities to see Iowa in parts that a lot of students who go to school here don’t get to see,” she said.
“Going to school here for the last few years, I’ve learned that a lot of people don’t appreciate what kinds of beautiful areas Iowa has.”
Schmitt will be a junior this fall.
“Clausen’s Cove is a beautiful piece of land. The lakeside is just gorgeous.”