BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – The Lee County Conservation Board has selected a replacement to lead the county’s conservation efforts.
Fort Madison’s Heather Huebner was selected by the board after interviews were conducted earlier this month to replace Nathan Unsworth, who left for a position in Scott County after serving as director for the past six years.
Huebner brings a wealth of information in non-profits working for the Boy Scouts of America for about a decade. She also has an administrative degree in recreation, parks, and tourism.
The hiring has to be approved by the Lee County Board of Supervisors and that will be on an agenda in January. Huebner said she hopes to start on Monday, Jan. 17.
Out of the gate, she said there will be a learning curve to get up to speed with all the projects that are currently underway in the county.
“I need to wrap my head around all of that, but I can say I’m excited about jumping in with both feet. That’s my expectation and I’m ready for that,” she said.
“If Scouts has taught me anything, it’s be prepared.”
Liza Alton, current president of the Lee County Conservation Board, said she’s excited to see how Huebner picks up where Unsworth left off.
She said Huebner showed up to her interview with the board in boots, ready to go on a tour of the county conservation projects, which showed her enthusiasm for the job and set her apart from other candidates.
“I think it was what she brought to the table and her great enthusiasm,” Alton said.
“She’s eager to work here and eager to learn what she needs to know about how the board functions and how this organization functions. She seems willing to listen to people and work with the groups we need her to work with.”
Alton said Huebner also has experience working with volunteers and that’s something the board feels has been lacking within the system.
“That’s something we feel we lack and we feel a need exists there within our conservation board system.”
Huebner said her administration degree has different facets and will fit nicely in the LCCD organization. Her scouting background exposed her to conservation efforts in multiple states. She said many people with her degree went into conservation careers.
“My peers were going that route and I went with the Scouts, but fast-forward how many years it’s been and this comes up,” she said. “What an amazing opportunity and a cool fit being from Fort Madison. There’s so much opportunity for growth and I’m really excited about this.”
Huebner started with the Mississippi Valley Council of Boy Scouts of America in 2010 when she was hired as a district executive. She left the position after her third daughter was born, looking for something with more stable hours.
“It was not a 9-to-5 job and I thought I needed something more consistent, but it turns out I didn’t like a 9-to-5 job and, when they called me back in 2015 and asked if I’d be interested in a senior director position, I took it.”
Then Huebner said she was promoted to program director at the end of 2019 where she was charged with overseeing operations at the council’s camp properties in Illinois and operations in the tri-state area.
Huebner said she’s aware of some of the animosities among local duck hunters with the current duck blind policies in place, and she’s aware of the emotions surrounding those and other issues with regard to conservation programs in the county.
“I think a relationship needs to be rebuilt there so I can get in and understand everyone’s point of view,” she said.
Huebner lives in Fort Madison with her husband Casey and three daughters.