Owner, Certified Forester
Luke is the owner of Prudenterra and is a Certified Forester with the Society of American Foresters (SAF). After graduating from Iowa State University (B.S. Forestry, 2008), Luke created Prudenterra to interpret ecological communities and opportunities to Iowa landowners. While working part-time for private landowners and learning from his mentor, naturalist Carl Kurtz, Luke worked at the non-profit organization Practical Farmers of Iowa and grew vegetables with TableTop Farm. In 2014, he went full-time with Prudenterra. Luke grew up in Newton, Iowa and serves on the board of directors of the Iowa Prairie Network. He lives outside of Nevada, Iowa.
Crystal came to Prudenterra with over 22 years of bookkeeping experience. When she isn’t keeping our numbers in check, she’s out on the Riggins Family Farm teaching her family and the local community about the importance of sustainable farming. Crystal lived in Arizona and Colorado before moving back to the family farm in central Iowa, where she lives with her husband Steve and their daughters, along with horses, goats, and a donkey.
Michael Gourd was born and raised in Des Moines. He discovered a passion for ecological restoration after becoming a crew member with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa. During a year and a half of chainsawing, brush cutting, spraying invasive species, and building a bridge, he discovered that he didn’t mind the sweat and insects. In his free time, Michael loves reading about and experimenting with new hobbies.
Sally Hertz Gran
Sally hails from Nevada, Iowa, and studied anthropology at Truman State University (B.A., 2009). She spent a year in Argentina as an exchange student, and studied abroad in Mexico for a semester. Sally grew vegetables as TableTop Farm for five years, and has worked on four Iowa produce and grain farms. In addition to working for Prudenterra, Sally grows certified organic corn, soybeans, oats and hay on her family’s farm. She is passionate about native habitat restoration and a systems-based approach for a more resilient agriculture. She enjoys hiking, camping, listening to books and podcasts, gardening, and exploring new places.
Crew members utilize chainsaws, prescribed fire, and other tools to implement woodland and prairie restoration work at Prudenterra. Many crew members are students or graduates of the Natural Resource Ecology and Management (NREM) department at Iowa State University.