2015 Intern Recap: Blufflands Land Stewardship

M.o.S crew

The second summer of the INHF Blufflands Stewardship intern crew was a success! Our Blufflands crew worked a total of 44 days on 14 sites around northeast Iowa, making a lasting impact on several properties and projects. The internship wrapped up on Aug. 13.

The first few weeks of the summer were spent at INHF’s Heritage Valley property in Allamakee Co. weeding the prairies and woodlands of things like garlic mustard, wild parsnip, queen annes lace, sweet clover, and thistles. The next few weeks involved a lot of chainsaw work both at Heritage Valley and around the driftless region, removing cedar trees from bluff prairies and combating honeysuckle and buckthorn. Interns were also able to participate in several seed harvests and volunteer events.

Interns were able to work with other conservation professionals, working with partner land stewardship organizations and volunteers either on partner properties or INHF properties. The highlight week for the interns was at Raleigh Buckmasters’, an INHF conservation easement in Allamakee Co., where they were able to see timber rattlesnakes. Interns also enjoyed their time at Indiangrass Hills in Iowa Co., along with the Iowa Prairie Conference at UNI.

Thank you, interns, for your hard work for Iowa’s land, water and wildlife!

Learn more about INHF’s Blufflands land stewardship internship.

Up in the Blufflands

Limestone bluffs along the Upper Iowa River in Winneshiek County (Photo by Clint Farlinger)

Limestone bluffs line the Upper Iowa River in Winneshiek County. (Photo by Clint Farlinger)

In passing, the split-level building in Decorah seems nondescript. The only sign indicating INHF’s presence was hurriedly printed and taped to the door. But this minimalism is by design. “We’re just not there all the time,” says INHF Blufflands Director Brian Fankhauser of the new INHF blufflands office. Instead, Fankhauser and his new assistant, Jered Bourquin, are out in the field more often than not. Continue reading

Let It Be

Jeweled Shooting Start found by INHF land stewardship intern Devon Hovey

Jeweled Shooting Start found by INHF land stewardship intern Devon Hovey

“Yesterday, Devon Hovey (an INHF Blufflands intern) made an exciting discovery at Heritage Valley. On the north side of a rock outcropping, she found “a neat purple flower.” It was Jeweled Shooting Star, a state threatened species that is associated with cool north-facing cliff habitat and occasionally found along cold water streams. As we worked our way along the bluff looking for garlic mustard, we found several more populations of the shooting star. We did not find this species during the BioBlitz events, thus it is a new one for our list.” -Brian Fankhauser, INHF Blufflands Program Manager

As the INHF Land Stewardship interns working on the bluffs in northeastern Iowa discovered last week, Iowa has some beautiful plant species you might want to take with you to show others.

However, there are some species that should not be picked. Continue reading