Iowans get to know Turin Prairie

This is yours now, Iowa. Get outside and enjoy it.

Turin Prairie in Monona County

Turin Prairie in Monona County

More than 75 people gathered Saturday to help dedicate Turin Prairie in the Loess Hills of Monona County. A project years in the making was opened to the public on National Public Lands Day, as ownership and management of Turin Prairie was turned over from Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Continue reading

Apply Now: Mark C. Ackelson Fellowship

Do you have a heart for activism as well as for Iowa’s land, water, wildlife and people? Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is looking for a dedicated conservationist to work with us on a temporary assignment to promote increased, reliable, consistent state funding for Iowa conservation.

The goal
INHF is part of a statewide coalition working together to secure legislative approval for funding of the Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. This Trust Fund was established through an amendment to the Iowa Constitution, and it will be funded the next time the Iowa sales tax is increased. If successful, these efforts will direct an estimated $180 million annually toward natural resource needs including clean water, healthy productive soils, abundant wildlife and increasing outdoor recreation opportunities throughout Iowa.

This fellowship offers amazing networking opportunities with Iowa conservation leaders through the Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy Coalition. The Ackelson Fellow will gain experience in grassroots and field advocacy as well as outreach to well-connected conservationists, and will be helping to shape strategies for legislative action. The Fellow will travel within Iowa, report to the INHF president, and work closely with the INHF policy director, communications staff and other INHF staff.

Position responsibilities
The Fellow will work with staff and coalition members to help develop and implement the strategy to get the sales tax increase and the Trust Fund funded. They will help organize, educate, empower and mobilize supporters to take action in support of our goal. List-building, outreach, volunteer recruitment, canvassing by phone or door-to-door and online networking may all be part of this position at different points in the campaign. Successful candidates will have excellent verbal and written communication skills and strong interpersonal skills in order to communicate with and engage differing stakeholder groups.

The ideal candidate

Will have demonstrated success in coordinating political and/or community campaigns and building strategic coalitions to influence public policy; possesses the ability to work independently and execute statewide political/community programs; acts with high integrity and professionalism; is detail oriented; is able to adapt to a rapidly changing environment and is willing and able to work nights or weekends on occasion.

This full-time fellowship will be active between November 2016 (post-election) and May 2017 with some flexibility in start/end dates. Monthly stipend and travel expenses are provided. Benefits are not included in this temporary position.

To apply
Deadline: October, 17, 2016. Please send cover letter and resume to Marian Riggs, INHF policy director, at mriggs@inhf.org. Questions can be directed to Marian Riggs at 515-288-1846, ext. 26.

Introducing Sarah LeBlanc, INHF’s new communications intern

img_1378Hi there!

My name is Sarah LeBlanc and I’m thrilled to be the new communications intern for INHF. I’m in my last year at Drake University studying journalism and politics, and I’m originally from Madison, Wisconsin but have come to call Des Moines my home away from home.

When I have down time, you can typically find me binge watching the latest Netflix original series, running outside or reading a book. My sweet tooth also leads me to find the best ice cream and candy shops in Des Moines.

As a communications intern, I’ll be writing for INHF’s magazine, typing up press releases, blogging and a little bit of everything else in between. I’m excited to join the team here and learn more about what makes Iowa so beautiful.

If you want to get in touch with me, give me a shout at commintern@inhf.org or on Twitter: @sarahleblanc201.

IWILL: Working for action on conservation

This legislative session, Iowa’s natural resources are at the top of the priority list.

Photo by Kristy Hall

Photo by Kristy Hall

At the start of the 2016 legislative session, Gov. Terry Branstad announced a proposal to address water quality that he called his biggest and boldest proposal ever, but it did not find support from both chambers. After several other proposals, the session adjourned without reaching a compromise on how to best address these concerns.

Between now and the November election, Iowans have an opportunity to make our natural resources an issue on which candidates must take a position. Continue reading

Bringing wildness back to Clear Lake

Pre-settlement, the Clear Lake area was a wildlife haven. Now in one of the most popular tourism spots in the state, INHF is helping to restore a measure of wildness.

DSC_2039 copy

Restoration on the Pedelty property, a former golf course, will see restored wetland, prairie and savanna and will benefit the area’s many bird and non-game species. Photo by Ross Baxter, INHF

Early accounts of Clear Lake, a spring-fed lake with origins in the last glacial period, tell of its use as a favorite summer camping ground of the Sioux and Winnebago peoples. By the mid-1800s, tales of the beautiful lake with plentiful fish and wildlife had captured the attention and imagination of Euro-American settlers. In short order, what had been a wild and vast wetland-pocked prairie ecosystem, replete with a dizzying array of native plants and animals, was being domesticated. Continue reading

Meet Abby Terpstra, INHF’s new Development Specialist

this

INHF is happy to introduce our newest staff member, Abby Hade Terpstra. Abby has been working as our development specialist for a little over a month now, and we’re so glad to have her as part of the INHF family!

Abby grew up in Ames, Iowa, then headed to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. She graduated with a B.S. in Outdoor Education: Natural History.

Abby spent the next 12 years exploring a number of different jobs in a number of different cities. She’s worked at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, acted as the Membership Coordinator for Sustainable Connections in Washington state and even traveled to New Zealand for three months.

After jumping from state to state, Abby decided to return home. She now lives in Ames with her husband and two young kids.

Since coming back to Iowa, Abby has found a new home at INHF. “I love the long term thinking at INHF and the focus on permanent protection,” she said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know conservation-minded landowners. It gives me hope.”

Celebrate the Magic of Turin Prairie

Landscape View

You sit among the grasses and flowers on the steep slope, with the encompassing blue sky around and above and in places, even below you. Your gaze slides down the graceful multi-textured hillsides, then dances over the treetops huddled in the valleys. Across the flatlands below and beyond the hills, you can sense the Missouri River and Nebraska on the vague horizon. The sun and breeze caress you. Birdsong beckons amid the hush. You are immersed in nature, not focused on yourself, glad to be a small part of a vast and complex wholeness. That’s a sweet moment at Turin Prairie.

It’s time to celebrate the magic of this place, the joy of its permanence and the trust and dogged determination required to protect it. And, to pause to appreciate all the people involved in protecting Turin Prairie. Every member of Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation had a hand in this, and nearly 1,000 people reading this magazine gave specifically to protect Turin Prairie.

Turin Prairie’s numbers are impressive: hundreds of acres, $2 million, four years in the making. But Turin Prairie’s story is more about heart than numbers. Continue reading

6 ways funding the Trust will benefit Iowans

In 2010, a majority of voters created the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, a permanent and constitutionally protected funding source that will ensure Iowa’s natural areas are protected and preserved for future generations. The Trust will be funded once the Iowa legislature raises the sales tax by at least 3/8 of a cent.

Here are 6 ways funding the trust will directly benefit Iowans. Continue reading

DIY Bike Clock

Calling all cyclists–keep up the RAGBRAI spirit year round with this do-it-yourself bike clock! Full instructions below.

Supplies:

  • Bike rim
  • Metal house numbers (we used 1, 2, 3, 6, and 9)
  • Spray paint in color of your choice
  • Super glue
  • Clock kit
    • Minute hand
    • Hour hand
    • Square battery piece
    • Rubber gasket
    • Brass washer
    • Mounting nut
    • Open nut
    • Appropriate battery
  • Metal sprocket or other decoration (optional)

Steps:

  1. Gather your materials. If you’re having trouble finding an old bike rim, check out your town’s local bike collective. They might have an extra you could buy or have.
  2. Clean the bike rim of any cobwebs, dust or dirt.
  3. Lay out the house numbers in a well-ventilated area. Cover your work space with newspaper. Apply an even coat of spray paint to the front of the numbers. PRO TIP: Immediately after painting, carefully transfer the numbers to wax paper. This will allow them to dry properly without sticking to the newspaper.
  4. Once the painted numbers are dry, attach them to the rim in their designated positions with super glue. Glue the 1 and 2 next to each other to create a 12. Let dry.
  5. Next, put a battery in the square piece of the clock kit, and glue the kit in the center of the rim. Make sure to leave enough room to change the battery.
  6. Glue your sprocket or decoration, in our case an acorn, on top of the square clock piece. Let dry. PRO TIP: Make sure that your decoration has a hole in it that allows the nub of the clock kit to peek through. This is where we will attach the clock hands.
  7. Follow the instructions in your kit to attach the clock hands. We screwed on the rubber gasket, then the brass washer, mounting nut, hour hand, minute hand and open nut.
  8. Set clock to appropriate time.

Wade Franck Memorial Bicycle Ride

Thumb

Join us in honoring Wade Franck, a central Iowa cyclist who was killed by a drunk driver last August while participating in an organized bike ride in Des Moines.

A Memorial Bicycle Ride on one of Wade’s favorite trails, the High Trestle Trail, is planned on his birthday, Saturday, August 13, 2016 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The ride is free, but raffle tickets, auctions and donations will be available to raise funds for the connector trail that will link the High Trestle Trail in Woodward to the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Perry.

There will be a drawing for a custom-fit Specialized AWOL bicycle with an estimated value of $3,700. Donate or purchase your $20 raffle tickets here.

Follow #RideForWade on Twitter and stay tuned for more information!