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Heartland Acres Planning Meeting Updates

Standing left to right: Roxanne Fuller, Buchanan County Extension and Outreach Executive Director; Craig Johnson, Heartland Acres - Executive Director; Leann Harrison, President - Buchanan County Historical Society. Seated left to right: Alexia Hamlett, Buchanan County Extension 4-HYouth Coordinator; Rachael Emig, Independence FFA - Advisor

Representatives from Buchanan County ISU Extension and Outreach, Independence FFA, Buchanan County Historical Society and Heartland Acres met at the Heartland Acres museum to discuss ways to build programs and activities with local youth. The opportunity to talk about this developed from a recent visit by representatives from Omega Institute in Austin, Texas.

The meeting brought out several ideas of how the Heartland Acres campus could best serve educators and students in the learning process by using existing museum displays and exhibits as a way to gain knowledge in a hands-on environment. The museum has several established educational exhibits which visitors use to learn about agricultural innovation. To build on current themes and utilize a broader base of knowledge and learning disciplines, the group hopes to include educators and students in developing additional learning tools which can be incorporated into existing and future displays at the museum. “Working to learn and learning to work is a very important step in the education process and is exactly what we hope to accomplish with our partners for the benefit of our visitors”, commented Craig Johnson, Executive Director.

The planning meeting also inspired the group to identify three basic goals of using Heartland Acres as a learning laboratory for students and visitors:

1) Build domestic and international business knowledge with an agricultural emphasis

2) Develop entrepreneurial challenges

3) Facilitate educational growth.

These goals are in the beginning stages of a working and ongoing process to help students and visitors to Heartland Acres get the most from their learning experience.

For more information about Heartland Acres please call (319) 332.0123 or find us on Facebook.

Heartland Acres Schoolmarm Gets New Dress

Denny Vance, from Independence, stands by our schoolmarm in her new dress in front of the one room school house at Heartland Acres

Denny Vance recently stopped by Heartland Acres and noticed our schoolmarm was in need of fresh coat of stain.  He approached us and offered to do the work.  The wood sculpture is special to Denny as he created her almost seven years ago.

When Heartland Acres first opened in 2007, Denny was identified as someone who could bring some character to our campus.  Denny is skilled at caving wood and he didn’t let us down with his creation.   The schoolmarm is made of white oak which stands up well in the elements, is structurally stable and offers a beautiful grain. The wood does require periodic care.

Instead of sealing the sculpture with a transparent sealer as we have done over the past few years, Denny used his eye for color and simple sophistication to update our schoolmarm.  She will greet visitors at the front of the one room school house in her new colors.   It is support from Denny and many others that help sustain us and add to the ongoing story of our agricultural heritage found at Heartland Acres.

For more information about Heartland Acres please call (319) 332.0123 or find us on Facebook.

Omega Institute Visits Heartland Acres

Heartland Acres Executive Director, Craig Johnson with Ken Kehrli, and representatives from Omega Institute in San Antonio TX; Vivian Lee, Rafael Nieto and, Jaryon Zhang

Ken Kehrli with Kerhli Farms in Winthrop, brought guests to Heartland Acres representing Omega Institute. Omega focusses on developing educational opportunities, trade relations and business development with partners across American and China.

The visitors where excited to see the agricultural education opportunities at Heartland Acres.  Vivian is originally from Hong Kong and is excited to work with educational facilities in developing learning and cross cultural interaction.

Heartland Acres 1929 Packard Wins People’s Choice Award

Bill Dikis with the Des Moines Concours d’elegance and Craig Johnson, Executive Director of Heartland Acres Agribition Center in Independence, Iowa. The 1929 Packard behind them won “People’s Choice” award at the contest held in downtown Des Moines, IA on Sunday, September 7 2014.

Downtown Des Moines recently featured the first concours d’elegance which by definition means; “an exhibition or contest of vintage or classic motor vehicles in which prizes are awarded for those in the best original condition.”   Over 130 vintage automobiles from around the country were on exhibit with an estimated five thousand people in attendance.  Automobiles competed in 12 separate classes with judging by auto enthusiast from around the area.

For the last three years, Heartland Acres has participated in the contest with House and Gardens was with the assistance of event organizers.  This year a vintage 1929 Packard 645 Dual Cowl Phaeton, on loan to Heartland Acres as part of their car museum exhibits, was on display at the concours d’elegance.  Cars of varying degrees of restoration and authenticity were in attendance.  The 1929 Packard represented a museum quality restoration from over 40 years ago.  Design high lights found on the car include Trippe safety headlights, mechanical breaks on all four wheels, a covered passenger compartment and an in-dash temperature gauge.

Craig Johnson, Executive Director of Heartland Acres said, “The 1929 Packard receives the most comments from museum guests and the People’s Choice award is very fitting for this car.”  Heartland Acres is primarily focused on exhibiting items pertaining agricultural innovation however there are also over 20 vintage cars and trucks featured in the car museum showing the progression of automobile design from the horseless carriage to modern day.

For more information about Heartland Acres please visit us at or call (319) 332.0123 or find them on Facebook.

Family Fishing Day – September 14th

Family Fishing Day will be Sunday, September 14 at Heartland Acres Agribition Center in Independence, Iowa.  The campus will allow fishing on Swan Lake to guests as part of their regular paid museum admission.  Annual or lifetime members of Heartland Acres will be allowed to fish at no extra charge.

Fishing will run from noon to 4:00PM.  This is the last family fishing day scheduled for 2014.  Wristbands to fish Swan Lake will be available at the admission desk in the museum.  Swan Lake is approximately four acres and holds a variety of fish including Catfish, Crappie, Bluegill and Bass.  For these events, anglers will be allowed to “catch and keep” all Crappie, Large Mouth Bass, and Bluegill.  All other fish are to be catch and release.

Fishing will be allowed from the shore only.  Anglers are to bring their own gear. Simple gear including: poles, 1/8 oz jigs, twister tails, hooks and sinkers will work fine. Worms make the best bait and will be supplied lakeside at no charge, courtesy of Ben and Jill Bigler from The Bait Shoppe.  Anglers are to follow all Iowa fishing laws and regulations and are required to have a valid Iowa Fishing License and be good sportsmen.

For more information about Heartland Acres please  call (319) 332.0123 or find us on Facebook.  Heartland Acres is a 501 c (3) non-profit organization.