Nature Walk: Simple Reflections

“On a small frozen pond the setting sun can produce dramatic reflections in surface melt water. The mirror-like surface of the water and its irregular shape are surrounded by the cold blue non-reflective surface of the ice. It is a fleeting event as the sunset sky fades into twilight.” – Carl Kurtz

“On a small frozen pond the setting sun can produce dramatic reflections in surface melt water. The mirror-like surface of the water and its irregular shape are surrounded by the cold blue non-reflective surface of the ice. It is a fleeting event as the sunset sky fades into twilight.” – 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 cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

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IWILL Lobby Day

IWiLL logo finalIowa’s Water and Land Legacy (IWILL) Capitol Day is right around the corner: Monday, Jan. 26. Don’t miss this opportunity to advocate for directing funds to the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

What is the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund?

Iowans overwhelmingly voted to create this trust fund in 2010 to conserve clean water, productive agricultural soils and abundant natural resources. Now, in 2015, we must take the crucial next step of directing revenue to the trust fund to ensure that this permanent, constitutionally protected funding source is available to conserve Iowa’s water, soil, habitat, parks, and trails for generations to come.

What are some of the benefits?

  • Economic: Natural resource protection and eco-tourism are important to our rural economy, helping attract and retain a skilled workforce and contributing to our unique quality of life.
  • Accountability: The trust will fund voluntary, non-regulatory conservation partnerships, and is accountable to taxpayers through public oversight, mandatory annual audits and regular reports submitted to the Iowa Legislature.

What about Capitol Day?

The IWILL Capitol Day will be an opportunity for members and advocates to engage with legislators. This will not only allow for legislators to learn from constituents in person on the importance of funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, but also see the momentum built up in support of funding the trust. Legislators are most likely to listen to people from their home districts who have a personal story or an interest to share.

IWILL T-shirts will be available on a first come first serve basis until they are gone. If you don’t want to wear a T-shirt, wear blue to show you are part of the IWILL effort.

Location:
Iowa Capitol, First Floor Rotunda
1007 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Schedule:
1 p.m. — Members/advocates begin arriving. There will be a table set up to sign-in and host informal activist trainings on how to talk with legislators. These will take place every half hour starting at 1:15 p.m. and include preparing your personal conservation stories and learning how to send in a note to legislators in the House and/or Senate chambers.

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. — IWILL members/advocates will be stationed in the Rotunda and up on the second floor Rotunda near the House and Senate chambers and will be available to speak with legislators. Coalition lobbyists will be available to help facilitate meetings with legislators.

Can’t attend Capitol Day?

If you can’t attend the lobby day but still want to advocate, contact your legislator and ask for support in funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

Still want more information?

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Folks at Faulkes: Winter Edition

_MG_9939 ice storm HDRINHF, Trees Forever, Winding Pathways, LLC. and the City of Marion are hosting our first winter volunteer day on Saturday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Faulkes Heritage Woods in Marion, Iowa. Join locals passionate about this public woodland in restoring its native ecosystem.

Volunteers will assist in the removal of invasive species, such as maple trees and Japanese barberry, from the oak woodland. Removing these maples allows sunlight to reach the forest floor, which then gives the native oaks a chance to flourish.

Doing this work in winter offers a new way to experience Iowa, meet like-minded people and observe the natural beauty of the winter woods. Not to mention that there will be less brush, less humidity and–most importantly–fewer bugs.

No experience is necessary to volunteer, and teenagers to adults are welcome! Participants are encouraged to wear extra layers and boots. And don’t forget your handsaws and loppers, if you have them. Hot cocoa and snacks will be provided.

To RSVP (recommended), email Heath Hupke with Trees Forever at hhupke@treesforever.org or call 319-640-0757.

For questions about INHF’s volunteer program, contact Mary Runkel at mrunkel@inhf.org or 515-288-1846, ext. 17.

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Position Available: Blufflands Field Assistant

The application deadline is Friday, Feb. 6, 2015.

INHF is seeking a passionate, well-organized self-starter to help accomplish more protection and stewardship. The Blufflands Field Assistant (BFA) works directly with the Blufflands Director to carry-out and further develop INHF’s protection and stewardship activities in Northeastern Iowa. The Bluffland program’s operational base is located in Decorah, Iowa. This is a new, non-exempt, full-time, temporary (8 month) position.

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Job duties include:

  • Assist with all aspects of natural area stewardship including prescribed fire, invasive species control, woodland management and prairie management.
  • Train, supervise and ensure the safety of the 4-person Bluffland Land Stewardship Intern crew.
  • Supervise for-hire stewardship crews and contractors.
  • Coordinate and lead volunteers.
  • Assist with all aspects of conservation easement monitoring including landowner contact, monitoring and reporting.
  • Complete annual site inspections and reporting of INHF-owned properties.
  • Maintain and repair stewardship equipment.
  • Assist in stewardship and project administration including documentation, research, grant reporting, creating maps, drafting management plans and creating baseline data reports.

Required education/skills:

  • Baccalaureate degree in natural resource management, animal ecology, wildlife biology, botany, forestry, environmental sciences or a related field.
  • Knowledge and field experience with natural area restoration and management.
  • Experience in the identification of native and non-native flora and fauna.
  • Experience operating and maintain power equipment including chainsaws, brush cutters, ATVs and tractors.
  • Experience using herbicides and application equipment.
  • Experience with prescribed fire (S130/S190 certification preferred).
  • Ability to work long hours in adverse weather conditions and difficult terrain.
  • Well-developed interpersonal communication skills.
  • Ability to lead and work with a broad range of people with different skill sets, backgrounds and personalities.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • General understanding of agricultural practices and issues.
  • General understanding of voluntary land protection methods.
  • Ability to budget time and resources among multiple demands.

How to apply:

Application should include the following:

  1. Cover letter explaining how your skill-set and experience fits the position and how you would make a valuable addition to INHF.
  2. Resume.
  3. List of three references and their contact information.

Send your completed application either electronically (PDF or Word format) or by mail to:

Brian Fankhauser
Bluffland Director
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
802 Fair Street
Decorah, IA 52101
bfankhauser@inhf.org

Reminder: The deadline is Feb. 6, 2015.

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Celebrate Iowa By Trail’s Android launch at the Iowa Bike Expo

Visit INHF at the Iowa Bike Expo on Saturday, Jan. 24, and help us celebrate the launch of Iowa By Trail for Android!

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Since the iPhone version launched last summer, Iowa By Trail has been used more than 58,000 times, and now Android users will have access to this free resource. Join us at the expo to learn more! Plus, don’t miss these opportunities:

  • Enter for a chance to win a free Iowa By Trail bike jersey.
  • Share the Iowa By Trail app on Facebook or Twitter during the expo on Saturday and be entered to win some great bike swag!
  • Buy Iowa By Trail merchandise.

One of the biggest bike shows in the Midwest, the Iowa Bike Expo will feature trail, event and equipment exhibitors from all over the country. Educational seminars will help you learn more about bike advocacy, the latest consumer trends and new places to ride. As if that’s not enough, it’s also a great time to stock up on gear. This free one-day expo will be from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines on Jan. 24.

Help us promote your trails!

INHF will also be at the Iowa Bicycle Summit on Friday, Jan. 23. Drop by our table to learn how you can promote your trail and help us make Iowa By Trail even better.

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Nature Walk: Golden Light

Light just before sunset light has a golden hue.  It is soft, may have a reddish cast and because of its low angle causes deepening shadows to form across the land.  Here a stand of big bluestem and Indian grass accent mid-winter prairie.

“Light just before sunset has a golden hue. It is soft, may have a reddish cast and because of its low angle causes deepening shadows to form across the land. Here a strand of big bluestem and Indian grass accent mid-winter prairie.” – 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 cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

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Meet Chris, INHF’s new landscape architecture intern

IMG_0118 copyJoin INHF in welcoming Chris Holmquist to the team!

Originally from Brookings, S.D., Chris is now a senior landscape architecture student at Iowa State University. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf and basketball.

As the new landscape architecture intern, Chris will also help with project planning, regional analysis, mapping assistance and proposal writing. His work will focus not only on landscape architectural services but also on public engagement and sustainable design.

Chris started last week, and so far he’s been doing map-making work for the Iowa By Trail app. He looks forward to the rest of his time at INHF. “I’m excited to learn more about conservation.”

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INHF welcomes new Communications Intern

Taylor_smallHi all!

My name is Taylor Eisenhauer, and I’m very excited to be INHF’s new Communications Intern. Currently a sophomore at Drake University, I study magazine journalism, English, and rhetoric. I hail from the small town of Herrin, Ill., but Des Moines has definitely become my second home.

In my free time, I like to read and scroll through my social media feeds. When I’m outside, I enjoy playing tennis and talking walks. Walking clears my head, and I like to see what new things I can discover when I look close enough.

As a communications intern, I’ll work with the communications team to write news releases and magazine articles about INHF projects, assist with special events (like our annual Hagie Heritage Award), write blog posts, and update our website and social media.

I’m very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to working with INHF!

If you have any questions (or just want to say hi), I can be reached at commintern@inhf.org.

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Iowa Prairie Network Winter Meeting

Prairie enthusiasts rejoice! Saturday, Jan. 17, marks the annual Winter Meeting of the Iowa Prairie Network.

Iowa’s prairie community will come together for a day of education and fun at the DMACC Ankeny Campus. Running from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the meeting will feature presentations from Mary Harris, a member of the ISU STRIPS research program, Dr. Laura Jackson, director of the Tallgrass Prairie Center at UNI, and nature photographer Bill Witt. There will be vendor tables, door prizes, and a silent auction. No registration is needed.

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The Loess Hills CCI crew will put young people to work with a focus on restoring the ecological health of the Loess Hills in western Iowa.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Loess Hills CCI crew. Several conservation agencies, including INHF, are contracting with Conservation Corps of Iowa (CCI) to create a new team of young people focused on restoring ecological health in the Loess Hills. From March to December 2015, they will devote more than 8,000 person-hours towards improving the health of the land.

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: Tufted Titmouse

“The Tufted Titmouse is a little gray bird with black-button eyes which is found in the eastern US. They are closely related to chickadees, both being woodland residents, cavity nesters and as birds go very active. Both species may be found foraging along with woodpeckers, juncos and various members of the sparrow family during the winter months. In spring and summer their primary food source is insects and their larvae while in fall and winter it is mainly seeds, nuts, and wild fruits.” – Carl Kurtz

“The Tufted Titmouse is a little gray bird with black-button eyes which is found in the eastern U.S. They are closely related to chickadees, both being woodland residents, cavity nesters and as birds go very active. Both species may be found foraging along with woodpeckers, juncos and various members of the sparrow family during the winter months. In spring and summer their primary food source is insects and their larvae while in fall and winter it is mainly seeds, nuts, and wild fruits.” – 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 cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

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