Nature Walk: Sweet Coneflowers

Sweet Coneflowers

“Sweet Coneflowers are found in moist prairie swales. They are perennial, can be 5 feet in height and have dramatic spreading displays of flowers in late summer. We may think of them as Black-eyed Susans, which have very similar flowers and found in native prairies, but are biennial, much shorter in height and bloom in early summer.” -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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Together, for the Land

IMG_9829Join Iowa’s five land trusts to celebrate land protection in Iowa — come for the volunteer day; stay for live music and lunch.

A land trust is a nonprofit organization that, as all or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting in land or conservation easement acquisition, or by its stewardship of such land or easements. Continue reading

Land Stewardship Interns Wrap Up the Summer

Intern CollageUnfortunately, the statewide and blufflands summer land stewardship internship program has come to an end, and all interns have headed home. Filled with accomplishment and learning, the internship program was 11 weeks long, allowing the interns to travel to all the corners of Iowa and work on 25 sites, including private and public properties. Here are some of the tasks and events in which they participated: Continue reading

Nature Walk: Wild Plum

Wild Plum

“Wild plums are short far as trees go, often no more than 12 feet in height. They also generally appear to be clone trees, meaning they all originate from a single tree and have connected roots that form a dense domed thicket. The oldest and tallest trees are located in the center. In late summer wild plum fruits begin to ripen on small stiff branches covered with short spines. They begin small and green, turn yellow and then eventually deep red. Normally they are tart to the taste and can be used for jams and jellies.” – 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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David Zahrt: Climate March

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David Zahrt with staff members Lisa Hein, Diane Graves, Anita O’Gara and Cheri Grauer

On August 11, David Zahrt visited the INHF office. David worked here part-time until 2010 doing outreach to encourage land protection in the Loess Hills. David and his siblings together protected their multi-generation family land near Turin through INHF. Now known as Reese Homestead, the homestead is owned by Monona County Conservation Board; the prairie hills around it are owned by the Iowa DNR.

After David worked for INHF, he moved to Nevada. He stopped through Des Moines because he has been on the Climate March since March 1st, 2014. The goal of this walk is to change the heart and mind of Americans, our elected leaders and people across the world by stressing the importance of acting now to address the climate crisis. There are 320 marchers on this walk from 37 states and seven countries; 35 members have pledged to walk full time. The walk started in Los Angeles, and marchers average about 15 miles per day. They hope to reach Washington, D.C. by November 1.

We wish David the best of luck on the rest of his journey! To learn more information about the walk, read blog posts, meet the marchers and more, check out their website.

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Wordless Wednesday: Garden Spider

20140814_152705Garden Spiders, argiope aurantia, are found in sunny areas that contain plants, which are prime places for forming circular webs. Their three claws help garden spiders spin complex webs such as this one that contains a zigzagging “X” pattern called a stabilimentum. The function of the stabilimentum is unknown, but it is believed to alert birds to the presence of the web so that they don’t fly through and destroy it.

Fun Fact:The garden spider connects itself to the web and hides in the brush. When an insect gets caught, the vibrations from the impact can be felt by the spider.

Resource: National Wildlife Federation

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Nature Walk: Black Bird in Flight

Black Birds in Flight

“The art of bird identification is in the details. Here we have two large black birds in flight, a double-crested cormorant on the left and a turkey vulture on the right. The vulture has very short neck while the cormorant’s is longer and somewhat folded back. The vulture’s wings are wider with dramatic slotting on the ends designed for soaring, while the cormorant’s are designed for speed and maneuverability. These anatomical features do not take into account the location of the birds and the speed of flight, which also separates the birds.” -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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