Minnie Anderson Preserve

Friday, July 13, 2012

Minnie Anderson was always conservation-oriented; she in fact was a bilogy teacher for many years with the Storm Lake district.

Char McDanel remembers Minnie and her brother Ernie as always being nature lovers. Ernie made many bird houses and squirrel feeders which many people in the community used and Minnie was always a kind lady who enjoyed sharing the wildlife that lived on the homestead.

When Minnie passed away, she made sure a portion of the family farm was set aside and made into a place for nature lovers to gather.

Out of it came the Minnie Anderson Preserve and its owners became the United County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League.

This national organization, founded in 1922, is one of the nation's oldest and most respected conservation groups.

For many years members of the local group (United County Chapter) maintained the area and then the Buena Vista University Science Club took over the maintenance. For the last several years, the five-seven acre area, a haven for all sorts of animals and birds, with its cut trails winding through trees and brush, have not been maintained.

The West Central Iowa Izaak Walton League (out of Dennison) was contacted by neighbors who farm the adjoining land who were concerned about the overgrowth of the weeds and brush as they are the closest active group.

The Ikes in turn contacted came across Dave Sanders of Alta this spring and asked him if he would take over the maintenance of the area and he agreed.

He and his dad, Jim, promptly became members of the organization and have been extremely busy clearing trees and overgrown brush with chain saws, axes and lawn mowers, making the trails again recognizeable. Sander's grandsons also have helped in the process.

A large spot in the far western area of the preserve has been cleared and is large enough for a campsite or a "classroom."

Sanders said he would very much like to see scouts utilize the area and maybe even help in maintaining it. The area would also be an ideal spot for teachers to bring students to.

He has put in an archery range and is in the proccess of getting fire rings and a grill. It is hoped that picnic tables can also be donated to put in the cleared area.

The Sanders family has been mowing the already cleared area each week so that the growth does not get out of hand again.

There is still much work to do and the Sanders would greatly appreciate any help. Again, they see the clearing project one that scouts could get involved in or even anyone that enjoys the outdoors.

"We want to keep this as primative as we can," he said of the preserve, although to make things easier for those using the area or working in the area, a port-a-pot has been put in place.

If you are interested in helping out or learning more about using the area, please contact Dave Sanders at 299-6112.