Iowa’s Drought Update

_MG_8129 Wickiup Hill fogThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources publishes The Water Summary Update every two weeks. This is a quick way to explain the status of Iowa’s water resources and observe events affecting water supplies. It is prepared by the Iowa DNR in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the U.S. Geological Survey, and The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division. For a thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends, go to

Here is the update from July 24th.

Press Release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Continue reading

Nature Walk: July Prairie

“Compared to the average gardener nature is often messy and disorganized. The results may be drab one year and dazzling the next. Its system is based on filling in every empty space while recycling everything where it hits the ground. Plants and their community members are where the conditions favor optimum growth. Site selection is based on soil type, moisture and available sunlight. In this tallgrass prairie, silver leaf scurf-pea, ox-eye sunflowers, leadplant, purple prairie clover and native grasses have perfect growing conditions following a spring fire.” -Carl Kurtz

If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo or requesting information on possible use of any of our “Nature Walk” photographs, please contact Carl Kurtz at View our other Nature Walk posts!


Mines of Spain Addition Groundbreaking Ceremony


photo from Jennifer at

On Wednesday, June 25, Heather Jobst, INHF Land Projects Director, attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Bottoms addition to Mines of Spain in Dubuque County, one of INHF’s first projects. The Mines of Spain project began in 1979, when INHF succeeded in setting aside the park’s original 1,240 acres. Continue reading

The Wood Lily

The sporatic wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum) can be found flowering in prairies across the state from mid-June to late-July. This one in particular was found on our Flowering Hill Prairie in Dickinson County, a dry prairie remnant that has never been plowed.

Ernest (Ernie) and Edna Skow donated Flowering Hill Prairie to INHF in 1985 through a reserved life estate to make sure it will always be prairie, and at the same time they kept the right to use and enjoy the prairie during their lifetimes. After both passed, INHF accepted full ownership of this seven-acre property in 2008 to continue taking care of the land in honor of Ernie and Edna Skow.

According to the Coefficient of Conservatism in Iowa, wood lilies are rated 9 out of 10 because of how uncommon they are to discover. Definitely worth capturing a photo of these beautiful, but unusual wildflowers!


Wordless Wednesday – RAGBRAI XLII

Our INHF staff has enjoyed talking about Iowa’s nature and trails with thousands of people while on RAGBRAI this year! Here are some pictures capturing their experience. Check out their journey by liking Iowa by Trail (IBT) on Facebook and be sure to visit their booth in Mason City, Waverly and Independence to learn more about the IBT app. Don’t forget to pick up some IBT swag while you are there! Continue reading

Nature Walk: Cumulonimbus Clouds

Cumulonimbus Clouds

“Cumulonimbus clouds have been called the Godfather of clouds. They inspire both awe and fear depending on whether they are going away from you or coming at you and possibly spawning high winds, hail and tornadoes. Often we see an anvil-like shape on the leading or trailing edge. In this case a collection of thunderheads congealed to form a supercell or multicell cloud. You can see the evidence of this at its base. This particular cloud appeared to be at least 100 miles wide and likely eight to 10 miles high. Note the moon at the far right.” -Carl Kurtz Note: Five separate images were put together to get this photo.

If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo or requesting information on possible use of any of our “Nature Walk” photographs, please contact Carl Kurtz at View our other Nature Walk posts!


Visit our staff on RAGBRAI

This year during RAGBRAI, a few INHF staff members will be riding the whole RAGBRAI route, making media visits and holding events along the way to promote the Iowa by Trail app launch that will take place at the RAGBRAI Expo. In each overnight town, INHF staffers will hold app demonstrations, provide limited edition Iowa By Trail memorabilia for purchase and be available for any trail-related discussions!

Meet the staff that you will have the opportunity to meet July 20th through the 26th to learn how to use the app, help us spread the word, and learn all the great spots to explore after RAGBRAI is over! Continue reading

Simon Estes on RAGBRAI

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Photo from the Simon Estes Foundation

This year, during the 2014 RAGBRAI tour, the Simon Estes Foundation and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) are partnering to make an impact both locally and internationally by selling Simon Estes’ CD, “Save The Children, Save Their Lives.”

Simon Estes is an internationally-acclaimed bass-baritone born in Centerville, Iowa. He has performed at the world’s major opera houses, including The Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the Los Angeles Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Vienna State Opera. Continue reading

Wordless Wednesday – The Smooth Green Snake


Our Land Stewardship Interns discovered a smooth green snake at Indiangrass Hills last week. This nonvenomous snake is distinctive from other species due to its vibrant green color. They are found in native prairies and grassy meadows. However, they are considered a species of special concern. Keep an eye out for these little guys!