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GrimesFarm and Conservation Center

by tsk last modified 2019-11-18 02:18 PM

2349 233rd St, Marshalltown Located off of Highland Acres

IMG_6910.JPGThe GrimesFarm and Conservation Center is located just west of the city limits of Marshalltown. It lies on the west side of Highland Acres Road and on the north side of 233rd Street. 

When Leonard and Mildred Grimes purchased their farm west of Marshalltown in 1964, they began the work to heal the then existing abuses to the land.  Over the years soil erosion has been reduced by planting grasses, using no-till agriculture practices, establishing waterways, constructing terraces, building a farm pond, and planting thousands of trees. Eventually a “poor farm” was transformed into an excellent example of land that is productive, profitable, and beautiful.

Beginning in 1964, the area was used as an outdoor classroom for local 5th or  6th grade students. A day spent in this “classroom” was coordinated by the public school teachers assisted by guest instructors from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Marshall County Conservation Board. Together they have helped the students understand their relationship to soil, air, water, sunlight, and all living things. The students walked the trails into forest and prairie and explored the pond. They dug holes into the ground to examine topsoils and subsoils and learned about the many animals and plants living in the soil.IMG_0380.JPG

In 1992, Leonard and Mildred Grimes began donating parcels of 160 acres of land to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. A reserve life-estate retains use of most of the land and farm income for as long as either of them lives.

Using Resource Enhancement & Protection funds (REAP), grants, and donations from corporations, civic groups, and individuals, a Conservation Center was built at the GrimesFarm in 2003. The center provides support for environmental education, space for natural history exhibits, a classroom for indoor meetings and activities, and houses the Marshall County Conservation Board administrative offices. Today thousands students in all grade levels enjoy this outdoor classroom.   Displays will continue to evolve over the years.

Hiking trails provide access to the forests, wetlands, prairies, and crop fields. GF 5 - Boardwalk.jpgPublic interpretive programs are scheduled periodically throughout the year.  The Linn Creek Recreational Trail from Marshalltown to the GrimesFarm  Conservation ArBikes facing center.jpgea was completed in 2005.  This is now another way to access the GrimesFarm and Conservation Center, by bicycle or on foot. Recently the Linn Creek Trail was connected with the Hwy. 330 Trail and the Heart of Iowa Trail at Rhodes. These trail segments are part of the American Discovery Trail

Follow any trail of interest and refer to the enclosed map to learn how the GrimesFarm  Conservation Area is being managed for forests, prairies, wetlands, and wildlife as well as modern agricultural production using no-till soil conserving practices. Renew your contact with nature and the outdoors as well as with Iowa’s greatest industry – agriculture – at the GrimesFarm Conservation Area.


The Nature Center at the Grimes Farm Conservation Area has one classroom/meeting room that may be rented for use. Reservations must be made through the MCCB administrative office at least one week in advance of date requested.  

Features and Activities:

· Hiking trails

· Bicycle trails

· Observation tower

· Restrooms

· Nature center with educational displays

· Picnicking and picnic shelter

· Hiking

· Wildlife and bird watching

· Cross country skiing and snowshoeing

· Drinking water and electricity

  • Nature Playscape
  • StoryWalk


Conservation Center Rental Policy:

 Conservation Center use policy 2017.pdf

Rental Agreement:

GFCC cleaning rental agreement and cleaning.pdf

Map of Grimes Farm:481924-big.jpg

Grimes Farm Map

Outdoor activies available:

Grimes Farm.pdf

Observation Tower:

Observation Tower

 Map of the Trails at Grimes Farm:  

Grimes Farm Trail Map


GF 2 - Aerial of Center.jpg


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