The Principal takes Ingawanis

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We’d like to thank Principal Financial Group for coming out on Thursday, July 23, to Ingawanis Woodland, one of our current projects. Their eager group of volunteers assisted with many things around the property—they cleared the woodland and the trail from recent storm damage, picked up an old trash pile and assisted in uprooting tile from the floor of one of the buildings. 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

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

Beat the heat with ice cream


(Photo by Evan Feekes)

Happy National Ice Cream Month! We know you’re in need of a cold, sweet treat as you enjoy the summer sunshine. Consider making your own ice cream with berries and flowers found in Iowa—like mulberries, honeysuckle or multiflora rose. 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

RAVE at Ewing Park

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Join INHF, City of Des Moines, and the Central Iowa Trail Association (CITA) on Thursday, June 18, to bring RAVE to one of the coolest mountain biking areas in the Des Moines metro! From 4:30-6:30 p.m., we’ll remove honeysuckle—a harmful and invasive plant—from the woods along an off-road trail at Ewing Park, then all meet for a social hour following. Music will be played, and fun will be had.

All tools and instruction will be provided. Jeans or long pants and closed-toe shoes are recommended. Volunteers should meet in the parking lot south of McKinley Ave.

What is RAVE? Random Acts of Volunteering for the Earth was created to connect people to the land in compact, meaningful ways by partnering to host after-work events in easy-to-find locations. This is an opportunity to make a lasting impact in a time frame that works for your schedule.

Questions? Contact INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel at or 515-288-1846.

Learn more about INHF's volunteer program. Join the Facebook


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

The prairie calls…for volunteers!

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The sun shines on downy painted cup at Heritage Valley, an INHF property.

Looking for a fun and relaxed volunteer opportunity? You’re in luck! Join INHF and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for the a seed harvest in northeast Iowa on Thursday, July 9, from 9 a.m. to noon at Heritage Valley and Solitaire Ridge. 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 or 515-288-1846.

Learn more about INHF's volunteer program.