A Journey to the Wild Side

Our Story

During the early 1990s two unacquainted Iowans with different backgrounds and seemingly different perspectives began to rally around the Dave Foreman/Deep Ecology mantra of Reconnect-Restore-Rewild. One was Trails Manager with the Iowa DNR, the other an owner/manager of rural land in the Corn Belt. The first spoke of frogs, referring to them as beyond human. The second spoke of TRUSTING WILDNESS. In 2004 these unlikely colleagues met during the early stages of INHF Agrestal’s WILD IOWA DISCOVERY Campaign. In 2020, after working side by side since their first meeting, they remain jointly committed. 

The Agrestal Fund has evolved into the BeWildReWild Fund. There is now a BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY Vision for Cores-Corridors-Crossings throughout the Corn Belt and Beyond, with Iowa as Ground Zero. A Group Facebook Page and Website have emerged. But, tragically, the same problems remain…human consumption vs nature’s ability to replenish, degraded water quality, species/soil/nutrient loss, and citizen apathy. Is the time near for a new level of effort and optimism? Are we on the eve of a possible awakening and transcendence? 
Who wants to part of creating a wilder, more beautiful, more biologically diverse, and a more enduring Mississippi River Watershed? And who will share this important story?

Trusting Wildness

Trusting Wildness Calendar 1995

Trusting Wildness

The great hope of all life is for wildness –
a self-reliant and spontaneous state free from enslavement and degradation.

Great hope

Trusting wildness allows plants, animals, ecosystems, and humans
to reach their highest potential.


Trusting wildness means choosing not to control resources
in ways that limit another’s ability to achieve independence.


Trusting wildness permits humans and non-humans alike
to live naturally and develop instinctively.


Trusting wildness frees both the enslaved
and the enslaver.


Trusting wildness conveys respect for
the struggle of all beings
to transcend themselves.


INHF Agrestal 2004-2007

event series


Now in its third year, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s Agrestal Fund is kicking off 2006 by sponsoring a series of events and projects entitled “Wild Iowa Discovery.” The series is designed to stimulate public thought and discussion about the meaning and significance of wildness in Iowa, a concept often lost in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world.

The Agrestal Fund, which is managed by INHF, was originally established in 2004 by Roger Ross Gipple. The Fund’s mission is to encourage public thought, discussion and expression around the multi-faceted subject of wildness.

“Wild Iowa Discovery” offers a number of creative programs, including five public seminars, three essay projects, and more.

Sky Cougar at Capitol View

Artist Daniel Dancer spends week-long residency at Capitol View Elementary School in Des Moines, culminating in an aerial photo of 800 students/staff forming a cougar shape on East High's athletic field

Exploring Perennial Land Cover Connectedness and Connectivity on the Iowa Landscape

Download the informational pamphlet and PowerPoint presentation

Wildlands Network Courtship 2017-2018

Wildlands Network

The Wildlands Network is a longtime mentor. So far, they have not become a partner in rewilding the corn belt.

by Greg Costello

When I think of wildness, wild places, and wild things, the first images that come to mind are craggy peaks, vast forests, dark jungles, and large, charismatic creatures often imagined but seldom seen. I don’t think of Iowa.

by Paula MacKay

In a previous post, Greg Costello made the case for bringing Wildlands Network to Iowa to help inspire further conversation about rewilding in a region ripe with opportunity and need. In recognition of this important work, we’re republishing an essay originally crafted by Iowan MJ Hatfield in 2006....

by Rebecca Hunter

Our plane dipped beneath the clouds as we dropped into Des Moines, the gold-and-emerald patchwork beneath us knit together like a two-toned tetris grid. The squares were confined by straight-line roads on right angle edges, as if they were pencil marks drawn with an engineer’s ruler. Houses dotted...


Community Art Gathering

These artists have received Art Gathering Grants from the BeWildReWild Fund.