Iowa By Trail: Help spread the word!

It’s official: We are only one week away from enjoying Iowa’s outdoors with the new Central Iowa version of Iowa By Trail! What trails are you excited to explore?

We’ll have updates throughout the week of what you can expect from the app—and how you can get involved! But first, help us spread the word.

To show your support, change one of your Facebook photos to the images below. In the description, make sure to tell people how they can find out more. A sample description is provided below. If you want to customize your support, you can also post a picture of you on your favorite Iowa trail! We want to promote the trails and the app together, celebrating the exciting upcoming season of getting outdoors!

What to include in your photo description:

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Volunteer opportunity: Into the Wild & Out with the Mustard

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Come “Into the Wild” with us to save the woodlands! Garlic mustard is a highly invasive, non-native plant that, when left unchecked, can seriously degrade a high quality woodland. This volunteer day will focus on hand-pulling the plant in small groups.

What: An invasive species removal event.

Where: Heritage Valley, an INHF-owned property near Decorah in NE Iowa.

When: Saturday, May 3rd. Two shifts available: 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m. –  4:30 p.m. Continue reading

Nature Walk: Settling In

Red-winged Blackbirds near Colo bogs

When we watch a flock of birds or a school of fish moving in unison they capture our imagination. How do they maintain space for each individual and who is in charge of the direction of travel? In this image of male redwing blackbirds the flock is approaching to settle wave-like on a stubble field.

Do you have any insight into this flying phenomenon? Continue reading

Iowa By Trail update

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INHF and Shift are working around the clock to make sure the Central Iowa version of Iowa By Trail is ready for you to explore on May 1st. We have beta testers hitting the trails to test the app, volunteers out finding hidden gems and photographers snapping  pictures of some of Iowa’s most beloved recreation areas. We can’t wait for you to see it!

On May 1st, here’s what you can expect: All Central Iowa trails will be usable, with trailheads and paths clearly marked. You’ll be able to track your journey, take photos and share your trail experiences through social media. Who knows—maybe we’ll start using the app for RAGBRAI training!

The best part of Iowa By Trail? In our opinion, it’s what we call the “Points of Interest (POI)”—places to stop and see along the trail. Whether it’s a birding area, historical museum, ice cream shop or water station, these special places are what make Iowa trails unique. Come May 1st, you’ll be able to see these POIs for four major trails: the Raccoon River Trail, the High Trestle Trail, the Downtown Des Moines Riverwalk and the Great Western Trail. New trails and cities will be released as the weeks go by, so stay on the lookout for your favorite trail or town! We’ll be announcing when new trails are released on our Facebook and Twitter, so make sure you’re following us! Continue reading

Recap: Volunteer day at Quigley-Slattery Heritage Prairie

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The morning wind didn’t stop these volunteers from taking back the prairie! Last Saturday, 22 volunteers from near and far showed up at Quigley-Slattery Heritage Prairie to show their hands-on support for the land. It’s days like these that keep me so enthusiastic about our mission- though the wind blew cold in the morning and the terrain was not only rough, but also wet, they kept the smiles on their faces and the enthusiasm high. Hardly a break was taken in the 3 hour time slot! I truly think I have the best job on the planet. Continue reading

INHF Prescribed Burn

Last week, our Land Stewardship staff members conducted a prescribed burn at INHF’s Snyder Heritage Farm property. The team burned 10 acres of the property in an attempt to refresh the native prairie and woodland species and eradicate non-natives, like Multiflora Rose and autumn olive. Check out some of their pictures below:

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Nature Walk: A Snipe in the Grass

Snipe one—Snipe two—Snipe three.  If that sounds like a game, it is what often happens when you are walking in a wet grassy meadow and flush a Wilson’s snipe.  They are commonly found in small groups of half a dozen or more birds and may flush all at once or one at a time flying just a short distance, then dropping like a rock out of sight into dense vegetation.  Watch for them probing the muddy shorelines of lake and stream edges with their long pencil-like bill for insect larvae or earthworms.

Snipe one—Snipe two—Snipe three. If that sounds like a game, it is what often happens when you are walking in a wet grassy meadow and flush a Wilson’s snipe. They are commonly found in small groups of half a dozen or more birds and may flush all at once or one at a time flying just a short distance, then dropping like a rock out of sight into dense vegetation. Watch for them probing the muddy shorelines of lake and stream edges with their long pencil-like bill for insect larvae or earthworms.

What birds have you been spotting in the water so far this year? Continue reading

Razor’s Prairie Before & After

One of the most rewarding parts of conservation is seeing the direct impact a day’s work has on a natural area. The spring season is in full force, which means our Land Stewardship staff is out burning and clearing areas on INHF properties, restoring the land for the beautiful summer ahead.

Last week, our Land Stewardship staff was out at our Razor’s Prairie property in Jasper County (with the help of CCI) clearing cedars and invasive species. They sent us back some pictures of their progress. Check them out:

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