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

The Importance of Native Prairie

Turin Prairie lies in the heart of the Loess Hills, adjoining a state preserve, viewed from a national scenic byway.

Turin Prairie lies in the heart of the Loess Hills, adjoining a state preserve, viewed from a national scenic byway.

This latest blast of winter weather has us dreaming of spring. It won’t be long before the snow is gone and the year’s early bloomers – pasque flower, prairie smoke, early buttercup – are lighting up our native prairies. Won’t that be nice?

Until then, we can look forward to a great educational prairie-themed event. The Bur Oak Land Trust of Johnson County is hosting the 32nd Annual Prairie Preview on Thursday, March 12, at the Celebration Farm just outside Iowa City. This event is a great opportunity to meet fellow nature lovers.

The program will include information and displays from various local environmental organizations and agencies, including INHF. Conservationist Jim Kessler’s talk, “Why Planting Local Natives and Restoring Habitat Matter,” will focus on the importance of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, sedges and grasses.

This year’s theme is “The Importance of Native Prairie.” INHF has worked both to restore and to preserve native Iowa prairie land through projects such as Razor Prairie, a prime site for harvesting native prairie seed, and Turin Prairie, a major expansion of the Turin Loess Hills Preserve and Wildlife Management Area.

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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