10 years later, Marietta becomes whole

Patrick in the Indian Grass (2)

Join INHF at the Marietta Sand Prairie on October 3 from 1-4 p.m. to harvest prairie seed, hear the story of this project and drink cider! Volunteers will hand-pick seed to be redistributed throughout the preserve.

The preserve was established in 1984 when 17 acres of native prairie was purchased by Marshall County Conservation. In 2006, 212 more acres were added to the preserve, including 56 acres of sand prairie remnant.

Restoration efforts for the prairie began a decade ago, and with this seed harvest, INHF celebrates connecting the preserve with prairie remnants. This seed harvest completes our original vision: To preserve this rare prairie legacy, and to create an extensive interior grassland habitat for songbirds, pheasants and so many other species. Continue reading

Lending a hand to the land

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(All photos by Lexi Ruskell)

Over 70 people lent a hand to the land on July 15 at Cedar Hills Sand Prairie in Black Hawk County. The event was a collaboration between six Iowa land trusts, including INHF, and the University of Northern Iowa’s Tallgrass Prairie Center, which hosted the Iowa Prairie Conference. The Nature Conservancy’s land stewardship team led the slightly overcast volunteer day, though the weather conditions ended up being perfect for working in the open space of the prairie. Continue reading

Heritage Valley: The little things in life

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An Iowa DNR member presents on a plant species to an attentive volunteer. (Photo by Jessica Rilling)

As I reflect back on our summer seed harvest on July 9 up and around Heritage Valley in northeast Iowa, I think to myself “What a great day!” But I think that I say that a lot—so this time I’ll do my best to answer WHY it was so great. Continue reading

Clean Water Concert

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The sun sets over West Okoboji Lake. (Photo by Don Poggensee)

The Okoboji Protective Association will host its annual Clean Water Concert at Preservation Plaza in Arnolds Park as part of a clean water awareness effort on Saturday, August 8, from 4-7 p.m. There will be information sessions and family-friendly activities throughout the evening.

The public is invited to hear INHF president Joe McGovern speak at the OPA’s annual meeting, which will run from 5-6 p.m. at the event. Big Blue Sky Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Continue reading

Happy trails at Camp WaNoKi


INHF acquired the 77-acre Camp WaNoKi property in November 2014. The Webster County Conservation Board manages the land (with help from volunteers like these) to keep it properly maintained.

Saturday, June 27, was a good day.

We’re sure the oak savanna agrees. It’s easy to see why Camp WaNoKi is an American Indian abbreviation for “beautiful land and scenery.” And it’s easy to imagine the fun had in the woods.

Saturday, June 27, was one of those secretly profound days. Nothing huge happened; there wasn’t a celebrity to see or even a grand view. No fireworks. Just people coming together for a cause greater than themselves. Continue reading

Volunteer spotlight: ISU students volunteer for “magical” day

Six Iowa State University Natural Resource and Ecology Management (NREM) graduate students used their skills to help open up and restore a remnant prairie on a March day this spring on a Boone County woodland just 20 minutes from campus. This is the fifth time ISU’s NREM students have worked on the site.


Students from ISU’s Natural Resource and Ecology Management department and INHF staffers work with David Marlow to reclaim a hilltop on the Gardner Property in Boone County. (Gifford the dog was a big help, too.)

“What is interesting about this student group,” INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel said, “is that even with students flowing through the program and graduating each year, the passion and knowledge never seems to leave because the leadership is handed down and new energy emerges.” Continue reading

McGovern to lead tour of Kossuth County prairies

The sun sets over Wildin Prairie.

The sun sets over Wildin Heritage Prairie. (Photo by Joe McGovern)

INHF President Joe McGovern will lead tours of three prairies in Kossuth County on Saturday, June 27. The field trips will last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are co-sponsored by INHF, the Iowa Native Plant Society and the Iowa Prairie Network. Continue reading

Iowa Prairie Conference 2015

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There will be a “field trip” to Quigley-Slattery Heritage Prairie during the conference. (Photo by Jessica Rilling)

Mingle with other prairie enthusiasts, get educated on the latest developments and network at the 2015 Iowa Prairie Conference from Thursday, July 16, to Saturday, July 18, at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. This year’s theme is “Working Prairies,” which reflects the evolving role of prairie in today’s landscape. Whether a dedicated prairie enthusiast or simply a citizen with curiosity, anyone is welcome to attend. Continue reading

Volunteer at Camp WaNoKi


Come give back to the land for a volunteer day at Camp WaNoKi southeast of Fort Dodge on Saturday, June 27. From 9 a.m. to noon, help INHF and Webster County restore an oak savanna, a beautiful ecosystem that’s one of the rarest in the U.S. We’ll work to remove invasive woody plants that surround some larger oak trees.

Camp WaNoKi—a Native American abbreviation for beautiful land and scenery—boasts nearly 80 acres of beautiful woodland along the Des Moines River, providing habitat for neotropical migrant birds and many woodland mammal species.

Come for the views and the people you might meet along the way, and stay for a social lunch hour afterward.

Bring a water bottle and make sure to dress for the weather. Closed-toe shoes are recommended, and boots are preferred. Lunch, snacks and water will be provided. All ages welcome!

RSVP to INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel at mrunkel@inhf.org or 515-288-1846.

Learn more about INHF's volunteer program.


What’s in Bloom: May

This is our third installment of “What’s in Bloom.” From time to time, INHF volunteer Catherine Wilson will let you know about native plants that are in bloom around Iowa.

Soft rains and warm weather continue encouraging wild prairie and woodland flowers to emerge from their winter rest. This week we will look for Pusseytoes, Wood betony, Bastard toadflax and Prairie smoke during prairie walks. Continue reading