Apply Now: INHF’s grant writing summer internship

Are you a strong writer? Apply to be INHF’s program support and grant writing intern and use your skills to help protect Iowa’s land, water and wildlife!

This summer position focuses on writing grants that will provide funding for on-the-ground land conservation. As an INHF intern you won’t be fetching any coffee — the work you do here will make a real difference for Iowa’s natural landscape. Applications for the 2016 summer position are due Thursday, March 17.  Continue reading

Pieces of the Puzzle: Waterman Prairie Addition

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The process of completing a land protection project closely resembles putting a puzzle together, and sometimes the pieces are challenging to locate or difficult to put into place.

A 227-acre addition to Waterman Prairie Wildlife Management Area in O’Brien County is part of a “puzzle” that connects two protected natural areas and adds a large tract to the 1500-acre Waterman complex, about 3.5 miles southeast of Sutherland. The addition is host to many distinctive features that make up the northwest Iowa landscape. It boasts soft-edged rolling hills with remnant prairie, a wooded, winding creek, oak savanna and a large oak woodland. The Iowa DNR approached INHF to help acquire this connecting piece in fall 2014. Continue reading

Land protection in Madison County and a milestone for INHF

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Roslea Johnson, left, touring her property with For Land’s Sake.

When Bob and Roslea Johnson donated part of their Madison County farm to INHF, they had no idea that their generosity would help INHF reach a major milestone: 150,000 acres protected statewide.

Since 1979, INHF has worked to protect Iowa’s land, water and wildlife in a variety of ways: through the expansion of publicly-owned lands, the placement of conservation easements on privately-owned lands, the piecing together of miles-long trail projects. It is the foresight and dedication of private landowners like the Johnsons that make the work possible. Continue reading

Where to find local prairie seeds

Narrow Leaf Purple Coneflower JulyFrom purple coneflower to butterfly milkweed, Iowa is home to beautiful native prairie plants. These forbs and grasses not only look pretty, but also provide habitat for Iowa’s pollinators and songbirds. Enjoy all these species have to offer by planting your own! Whether you’re looking to start a native garden or a full-fledged landscape, the right seeds can make all the difference.

INHF thinks having not just native, but local seeds is important for planting. Local simply means seeds that are sourced as close as possible to where they will be planted. This allows for plants to grow in areas that are well suited to accommodate their needs. Continue reading

Winter volunteer day at Razor Prairie

looking-SE-1024x768Al and Mary Razor loved their land. The 24-acre partial woodland, oak savanna and prairie parcel was their everything. And in 2001, with their health on the decline, the Razors decided to permanently protect their land and donate it to INHF.

Help us honor Al and Mary’s legacy with a brush clear at Razor Prairie in Jasper County. Continue reading

Join INHF at the Iowa Prairie Network’s winter meeting

IPN3-logoOn Saturday, Jan. 30, join INHF and fellow nature enthusiasts at the Iowa Prairie Network’s winter meeting!

This year’s event will be held at Ames High School from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come early to participate in a winter prairie hike at the Pohl State Preserve, and stay for speaker presentations, displays and a silent auction.

The proceeds from this year’s auction will benefit INHF’s Sellberg Property in Story County. The 49-acre pasture is home to several prairie remnants and a portion of West Indian Creek. INHF currently owns the property and is working with Story County Conservation Board to raise funds so the project can one day be open to the public.

For more information about the meeting, check out Iowa Prairie Network’s Facebook event or contact Trish Patrick at tpatrick5350@gmail.com. The event is free and open to the public. See you there!

The Iowa Prairie Network is an all volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of prairie heritage in Iowa. Since 1990, IPN has been a network of advocacy for Iowa’s natural heritage, using its funding to support land acquisition and restoration practices.

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Nature Walk: Cryptic Coloration

Tree Sparrow in Prairie

Cryptic coloration is another term for camouflage commonly found in many species of animals. It’s easy to see that the earth tones of this tree sparrow are the same as vegetation in winter prairie. At a distance, they blend perfectly into the background to give protection from predation.

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 cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

INHF at the Iowa Bike Expo

LOGOtransparentShift gears this Saturday and start thinking about spring. Join INHF at one of the Midwest’s largest bike shows, the Iowa Bike Expo!

Exhibitors from all over the country will be on hand to answer questions about equipment, destinations and gear. And educational seminars will provide insight on all things cycling.

Be sure to stop by the INHF booth — we’ll be talking about trails, exhibiting the Iowa by Trail app and selling merchandise. You can even enter to win a High Trestle Trail bike jersey!

The expo will be held on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center. Admission is free. For more information, visit iowabikeexpo.com.

Nature Walk: Ice Designs

ice Designs

photo by Carl Kurtz

Plants such as bulrushes, cattails, water lilies and animals such as frogs, fish or even snail shells often freeze on or just below the surface of ice that has formed on ponds and lakes.  Dark colored objects readily absorb sunlight creating heat that melts the ice around the object.  An impression or design is left than can be simple or intricate as with these river bulrush stems.

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 cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

The Ultimate Guide to Winter Birdwatching in Iowa

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Beat the winter blues by checking out some colorful creatures — it’s time to bird watch! Even though some species have headed south for the winter, there are still many opportunities to glimpse our feathered friends in Iowa. Check out the tips and tricks below to make the most of your experience.

Know what species to look for
Nature Worldwide has compiled a list of all the different bird species in Iowa. Each listing states the bird’s scientific name, common name and “UIA.” The UIA codes include each species abundance in the state and status of permanence. Take the red-bellied woodpecker for example. This bird has a UIA of “CN” which means that they are common birds to sight and they nest in Iowa, but are absent for part of the year. These codes can help bird watchers identify which species are around from season to season.

Where to Go:

State parks/forests
Look for areas with coniferous covering or brushy areas. Many species will feed off of remaining berries, nuts etc. Find an area near you.

Water sources
Any open water source will attract a variety of species, as many rely on aquatic animals or plants as food sources. Look for ducks, geese and other shorebirds. Be aware that many species migrate, so your sightings may vary from month to month. Continue reading