It all started with an email and ended with a generous donation of over $30,000 to the Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation. And, ultimately, the donation will be used by the Foundation to facilitate the construction of the new Winnebago County Environmental Education Center.
On October 24th, 2020, Winnebago County Conservation Board Director Robert Schwartz received an email from Mr. David Christ that read, “I have two lots south of Lake Mills that are adjacent to the wild area owned by Harriet Young. I am willing to donate these to the new conservation center. Perhaps you can find a use for them or sell them. I know someone who at one time expressed an interest in purchasing one.”
When Schwartz returned to his office a couple days later, he gave Mr. Christ a call to hear his offer. The families of both David Christ and his wife (Ruth Elaine Moe Christ) were from the Lake Mills area and David had graduated from Lake Mills High School in 1960. He and his wife now reside in Iowa City.
The lots they owned were part of a development that David’s parents and a friend, Bill Young, Sr., had acquired with the idea of seeing homes built on them. Several homes were eventually built and, after David’s parents passed away, the lots became the property of David and his siblings. David and his parents considered themselves conservation-minded, so he thought it appropriate that the lots be given to the Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation to be put to good use. He also suggested contacting his sister, Carolyn Goddard of North Liberty, Iowa, to see if she was also interested in donating the lots that she and her husband (Bruce Goddard) owned. As it turns out, they were! Neither the Christs nor the Goddards wanted anything in return.
The donation transactions were completed last fall and the Foundation put the lots up for sale. Both lots sold quickly and brought in over $30,000. After closing costs, the total donation amount was $29,642.52. All the proceeds will go towards the construction of the new Winnebago County Environmental Education Center.
In addition to the Christs and the Goddards, the WCCB and the FWCCF would also like to thank Jeremy Gray of Newman, Thompson, & Gray, Attorneys at Law, Forest City, for providing legal services at no charge to the Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation to facilitate the donation and sale of the properties.