5 things you didn’t know about the “Easter Bunny”

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Photo by Michelle Tribe via Flickr Creative Commons

Here comes Peter Cottontail — and he’s right in your backyard! The cottontail rabbit is one of Iowa’s most popular native species and can be found across the state. These cute critters are common, but still hold a few surprises. Here are five unusual facts about the species:

  • Female cottontails are slightly larger than the males, but the average rabbit weighs around two pounds and is 14 to 20 inches long.
  • In states with high agriculture production, like Iowa, cottontails seek out waste grains — including corn, soybeans and wheat — to eat in the fall and winter.
  • Cottontails have eyes on the sides of their heads, which makes it easy for them to spot danger without moving.
  • Most cottontails spend their whole life within a five-acre radius.
  • Ideal rabbit habitat in Iowa includes a mix of cropland, grassland, brushy woodland, briar patches and hedgerows.

Want to learn more about the cottontail rabbit? Check out additional information from our friends at the Iowa DNR under “Mammals,” here.

Happy Easter!

INHF in action: New addition to Stephens State Forest

Yoder 5-24-2013 RAB (38)

Soap Creek runs through the 227-acre addition to Stephen’s State Forest in Davis County.

INHF recently assisted the Iowa DNR in acquiring a 227-acre addition to Stephens State Forest and Soap Creek WMA. The property is located approximately 4 miles northeast of Unionville in Davis county. INHF purchased the property in 2013 and held it until recently when the DNR was able to purchase it and open it to public use.

Indiana Bat

The Indiana bat

The area is a mix of habitats with over 100 acres of oak-hickory woodland. Part of the property borders Soap Creek, where restored riverine wetlands protect water quality.
Soap Creek is one of four Iowa Flood Center priority watersheds identified in a project with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Flooding on Soap Creek has been a problem for decades, and the protection of this property with support the goals of the Iowa Flood Center/HUD project, which include:

  • Maximize soil water holding capacity from precipitation
  • Miniminze severe soil erosion and sand deposition during floods
  • Manage water runoff in uplands under saturated soil moisture conditions
  • Reduce and mitigate structural and nonstructural flood damage

Continue reading

INHF projects receive REAP funding

Every year, REAP funding benefits Iowa’s great outdoors. This fall, a handful of REAP grants were awarded to INHF projects. Many of these projects are adjacent to rivers and waterways, and their protection will help to improve water quality in these areas. The INHF projects that received REAP grants are:

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An Oak tree on the Doyle addition in Guthrie County.

Springbrook Wildlife Management Area, Doyle addition
Guthrie County
$112,725

An added 48 acres of land adjacent to Springbrook State Park and Springbrook Wildlife Management Area, the Doyle addition brings the entire complex up to 1,413 acres of protected land. The area is known for its wildlife habitat and contiguous oak/hickory wood. Continue reading

Free Family Fun at the Iowa Outdoor Expo

banner_expo2011Bring the family for a day of free, interactive fun! The Iowa Outdoor Expo, hosted by the Iowa DNR, will take place Sept. 26-27 at Waterworks Park in Des Moines.

Learn the basics of bow fishing, check out a raptor release or brush up on your archery skills—with over 50 hands-on activities and demonstrations there’s something for everyone. All events are taught by professional instructors in a controlled environment.

The event is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. There is no admission charge.

See a full list of events here.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is sponsoring the event.

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