Celebrate Iowa Prairie Heritage Week across the state

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Iowa Prairie Heritage Week is an annual, week-long celebration of Iowa’s prairie past, present and future. This year, events all across the state will be held Sept. 13-19.

IPHW provides Iowans and visitors the chance to experience the prairie in its September beauty. Events—like prairie walks, seed harvests and educational tours—are scheduled at prairies in all of Iowa’s regions; participants are also encouraged to organize events of their own, introducing friends and family to diverse prairies, small and large.

For a full schedule of events, visit the Iowa Prairie Network calendar online. Continue reading

INHF-sponsored “Mysteries of the Driftless” documentary to be shown at Oneota Film Festival

Get in the film mindset before Sunday’s Academy Awards by heading over to the Oneota Film Festival in Decorah this weekend. The festival runs from Friday through Sunday and will showcase a variety of films, including the Mysteries of the Driftless documentary, funded in part by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.

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Nature Walk: Bird Insulation

Survival for birds in winter is about feather design, grooming, available flood supplies, fat reserves and protection from wind.  Feathers are a bird’s first and most important defense against cold. Birds groom contour feathers with oil to make them water resistant. Beneath this outer covering down feathers trap air and provide a critical insulation barrier. One can see this cardinal has fluffed its feathers, which increases the dead air space and their potential to insulate.

Survival for birds in winter is about feather design, grooming, available flood supplies, fat reserves and protection from wind. Feathers are a bird’s first and most important defense against cold. Birds groom contour feathers with oil to make them water resistant. Beneath this outer covering, down feathers trap air and provide a critical insulation barrier. One can see this cardinal has fluffed its feathers, which increases the dead air space and their potential to insulate.

How are you staying warm on this bitterly cold Monday? Have you seen any birds with fluffed feathers like the above?

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Nature Walk: Evening Light

For about a half hour period after sunrise or before sunset, a dramatic play of light and shadow cover the land.  Landforms we have barely noticed suddenly have great visual appeal.  Deepening shadows and glowing highlights result from the soft direct light of the rising or setting sun.  Snow-covered ground reflects the blue of a clear sky. It is winter’s magic touch.

For about a half hour period after sunrise or before sunset, a dramatic play of light and shadow cover the land. Landforms we have barely noticed suddenly have great visual appeal. Deepening shadows and glowing highlights result from the soft direct light of the rising or setting sun. Snow-covered ground reflects the blue of a clear sky. It is winter’s magic touch.

What time of day do you enjoy viewing Iowa’s natural areas? 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!

 

Hoover Nature Trail section gets new life, 5K run/walk planned

 

Section of the Hoover Nature Trail near Nichols in Muscatine County.

Section of the Hoover Nature Trail near Nichols in Muscatine County.

A section of the Hoover Nature Trail is seeing new life thanks to the town of Nichols and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF).

The Muscatine County segment of the Hoover Nature Trail, now owned by INHF after funding for the overall trail ran out, has received renewed community interest in reviving and upgrading a section that extends three miles north of Nichols and another that stretches four miles south of the town.

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INHF At RAGBRAI

INHF's bike generator was a hit at the Des Moines stop of RAGBRAI, where it supplied the energy for a stereo and cell phone charging station.  Pictured (from left to right): Trails Intern, Josh Mades; Land Projects Associate Ross Baxter; and Communications Director Hannah Inman.

INHF’s bike generator was a hit at the Des Moines stop of RAGBRAI, where it supplied the energy for a stereo and cell phone charging station.
Pictured (from left to right): Trails Intern Josh Mades; Land Projects Associate Ross Baxter; and Communications Director Hannah Inman.

Yesterday’s RAGBRAI event was a success! Check out some photos from the day below!

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Intern Orientation

Yesterday, INHF hosted an intern orientation day field trip for our 13 land stewardship interns and four office interns. We visited Jennett Heritage Area in Story County, where the interns attended stations to learn more about each department at INHF. After a picnic lunch, we then hiked the property, examining flora and wildlife species. Check out the photos below of our day!

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Perching Geese

Canada geese are large waterfowl. They usually nest on the ground, out on floating vegetation or on inlands surrounded by water. Geese, like all wildlife, are individuals, which sometimes have other ideas that are atypical of the species. Two years running this pair of geese have appeared in our front yard to check out an old silver maple tree as a potential nesting site.

Canada geese are large waterfowl. They usually nest on the ground, out on floating vegetation or on inlands surrounded by water. Geese, like all wildlife, are individuals, which sometimes have other ideas that are atypical of the species. Two years running this pair of geese have appeared in our front yard to check out an old silver maple tree as a potential nesting site.

Have you spotted birds nesting in any unusual places this spring?

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.

 

 

Land Stewardship Interns Find Turkey Nest

Turkey nest with eggs.

Turkey nest with eggs.

The 2013 statewide land stewardship intern crew began their first full day on Monday, helping to restore Iowa’s beautiful natural areas. (Learn more about the land stewardship intern program.) While doing brush work and pulling garlic mustard, they came across this turkey nest yesterday morning at one of our properties in Jasper County!

Have you ever come upon something neat unexpectedly while working on your property?

Stay tuned for more updates from the land stewardship interns!