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Foundation leads campaign to raise $40 million for natural resources

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation has begun a campaign to raise $40 million over five years to save 15,000 acres of Iowa's natural features.

The group's project, dubbed "The Campaign for The Bluffs, The Hill, the Lakes" targets the Iowa Great Lakes and Clear Lake, the Loess Hills and the bluffs along the Mississippi River.

Anita O'Gara, a foundation spokesman, said the group seeks to buy land or get easements and to collect donations to project the land.

"We want to protect these areas before they are gone," O'Gara said. "We need to accelerate what is being done.

The project has received a $2.8 million grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which is working in five Midwestern states and other areas around the country to project wildlife areas.

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation wants to raise $4 million over the next three years, O'Gara said.

That combined with the Duke grant and matching grants from other government programs, the campaign could raise $40 million in five years for Iowa projects, she said.

Each dollar donated will be matched with $9. The Duke money will pay for administration. All the donated money will be used for projects.

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