INHF at the Iowa Bike Expo

LOGOtransparentShift gears this Saturday and start thinking about spring. Join INHF at one of the Midwest’s largest bike shows, the Iowa Bike Expo!

Exhibitors from all over the country will be on hand to answer questions about equipment, destinations and gear. And educational seminars will provide insight on all things cycling.

Be sure to stop by the INHF booth — we’ll be talking about trails, exhibiting the Iowa by Trail app and selling merchandise. You can even enter to win a High Trestle Trail bike jersey!

The expo will be held on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center. Admission is free. For more information, visit iowabikeexpo.com.

The Ultimate Guide to Winter Birdwatching in Iowa

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Beat the winter blues by checking out some colorful creatures — it’s time to bird watch! Even though some species have headed south for the winter, there are still many opportunities to glimpse our feathered friends in Iowa. Check out the tips and tricks below to make the most of your experience.

Know what species to look for
Nature Worldwide has compiled a list of all the different bird species in Iowa. Each listing states the bird’s scientific name, common name and “UIA.” The UIA codes include each species abundance in the state and status of permanence. Take the red-bellied woodpecker for example. This bird has a UIA of “CN” which means that they are common birds to sight and they nest in Iowa, but are absent for part of the year. These codes can help bird watchers identify which species are around from season to season.

Where to Go:

State parks/forests
Look for areas with coniferous covering or brushy areas. Many species will feed off of remaining berries, nuts etc. Find an area near you.

Water sources
Any open water source will attract a variety of species, as many rely on aquatic animals or plants as food sources. Look for ducks, geese and other shorebirds. Be aware that many species migrate, so your sightings may vary from month to month. Continue reading

Gifts from new INHF donors matched by Principal Financial Group Foundation

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Volunteers from Principal Financial Group volunteer at Lone Tree Point on Clear Lake, an INHF project.

Thank you to The Principal Financial Group Foundation, which has just renewed its support for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Their $25,000 unrestricted grant serves as a challenge grant for new members. Every time a new member donates to INHF, their gift is matched by The Principal Financial Group Foundation.

This isn’t the first time Principal has supported INHF. In fact, they’ve contributed consistently ever since INHF was formed and they’ve been matching new gifts to INHF for many years. Through their generosity they have encouraged Iowans to join in our mission, helping to create a stable and growing membership that had made INHF ever stronger and more effective over time. Continue reading

9 great conservation projects happening right now

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From trail connections to wetland restoration to important wildlife habitat, INHF
is working on some great projects. With your help, we can protect, restore and connect these places that are so important to Iowa’s natural beauty.

Burr Wildlife Area Addition — This addition of 411 acres to the Burr Wildlife area has many people encouraged. Besides the beauty of the rolling hills, prairie and oak trees, this addition means 600 acres of public land along this corridor will be protected, allowing for increased habitat and water protection.
Support this project

 

BruceMorrison-Oxbow-OtterCreekOtter Creek Wildlife Area Addition — 67-acre property is adjacent to the 275 protected acres of the Otter Creek Wildlife Area in Sioux County Conservation Board ownership and will expand the size of the habitat available to area wildlife. The land will feature restored prairie and wetland areas, prime for wildlife viewing and hunting. Reestablishing native grasses will provide nesting and winter cover for birds.
Support this project Continue reading

Duane Sand: A career of unlocking conservation possibilities

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Thirty-two years ago, Duane Sand asked me to help him with some summer communication about a concept he hoped would become part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It would give farmers an incentive to put their most erosive acres into grassland cover for ten years. Today you know it as CRP – the Conservation Reserve Program.

In his quiet, behind-the-scenes way, Duane has always been on the forefront of fresh concepts to protect land and water. He would be the last one to draw attention to his 40-year conservation career. But I believe his story can help to inspire a new generation of conservation thinkers who might follow their own paths of innovation for the good of the cause. Continue reading

Apply Now: INHF Blufflands Land Stewardship summer internship

Looking for a summer internship but don’t want to sit at a desk all day? Get outside and come work with INHF in northeastern Iowa!

We’re looking for four motivated individuals with a passion for preserving and protecting Iowa’s landscape. Have what it takes? Check out a recap from last year and read the description below. Applications for the 2016 summer crew are due Friday, Feb. 12.

Job description
Blufflands Land Stewardship interns work hard to maintain and restore native landscapes in extreme northeast Iowa. Interns will conduct needed land management and restoration on remnant and reconstructed prairies, woodlands, oak savannas and other natural areas owned or protected by INHF. Interns will use a variety of hand tools and chainsaws to help accomplish restoration goals.

Students selected for INHF’s Blufflands internship will learn from and work closely with landowners and working professionals in the field. Educational opportunities beyond the daily work experiences will be provided, including participation in regional natural resources conferences, which will expose interns to several conservationists and organizations in a concentrated setting. First aid, CPR and harassment training will be provided at the beginning of the internship.

The internship will give interns vital skills and experience for a career in conservation or land management, as well as a greater appreciation for the importance of our natural areas. This is a physically demanding, yet very rewarding internship!

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Work examples
Much of the work will focus on prairie, oak savanna and woodland restoration with an emphasis on invasive species control. Control of species is by chainsaw, hand saw, digging, pulling and herbicide treatment. Removing Eastern Red Cedars from hill prairies, thinning oak woodlands of fire-intolerant tree species and pulling Wild Parsnip from reconstructed prairies are examples of some of the important restoration work that will be performed. Stream bank stabilization, fire break construction and prairie seed collection are other possible intern activities.

Skills/qualifications
This internship is physically demanding, requiring fit, motivated individuals. Those with a positive attitude, eagerness to learn and desire to make our natural areas healthier are well-suited for this position. Interns will work exclusively outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions including heat, humidity and rain. Driving to various work sites (mostly in Winneshiek and Allamakee counties) is required, so interns must have a working vehicle. Carpooling is highly encouraged. Prior land management experience or a farm IMG_6334background is desirable, but not required. College students of any grade level, even freshmen, are eligible for this internship. Compatible majors to this internship include, but are not limited to: Animal Ecology, Botany, Biology, Forestry, Environmental Studies or Environmental Science.

NOTE: This internship does not supply lodging or meals.

Availability
Four full-time interns will be hired and work together as a crew. The internship begins May 23 and ends August 11. Interns will work a total of 11 weeks within that period. The work week will consist of 10 hour days, Monday through Thursday. Pay is $9.75/hr.

Application info
To apply, please send Brian Fankhauser, Blufflands Program Director, the following:

  • A cover letter outlining your qualifications and why you want this position
  • Resume
  • Your college transcripts (official or unofficial)
  • Two letters of recommendation, with at least one being written by a professor in your major. The letters may be included in your application or sent separately by the writer. Include reference contact information.

Mail or email your application to the address below.  Feel free to call or email in advance if you have questions.

Our internships are sponsored by the Richard “Sandy” Rhodes Internship Program, the Svare Family Internship fund, the Robert R. Buckmaster Internship, funded by the R.J. McElroy Trust and many other idividual donors.

Brian Fankhauser, Blufflands Program Director
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
1111 S. Paine St., Suite E
Decorah, Iowa 52101

Phone:  563-382-2008
Email: bfankhauser@inhf.org

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Meet INHF’s new design intern

Hi all!
My name is Kelsea Graham and I’m the new INHF design intern this spring. I’m a junior at Drake University studying graphic design and advertising. I’m a Kansas City, MO native, but I’m excited to make Des Moines my new home.Kelsea
I spend my much-appreciated free time discovering old and new music, playing The Sims, and dying my hair crazy colors.
As a design intern I’ll be making things aesthetically pleasing, including event materials, brochures and so on. I’ll also be responsible for organizing our large collection of photos.
I’m so excited to work with INHF and put my passion toward a greater good! I can be reached at designintern@inhf.org.

Apply for INHF’s summer land stewardship internship

Looking for a summer internship? Want to help restore Iowa’s natural beauty while learning about ecology, land management, and wildlife? Then apply to be an INHF Land Stewardship intern!

Check out Matt’s story here  and read the description below to get a taste of what exactly the internship entails. Applications for the 2016 summer crew are due Sunday, January 24, 2016.

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

Gunderson Nature Park dedication

Join the City of Eldora and INHF for the dedication and celebration of the Gunderson Nature Park, Wednesday Nov. 11th at 1:00 p.m. at the entrance of the park. The park is located directly North of the Hardin County Fair Grounds (east end).

Bob and Mary Lou Gunderson have long been involved with Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and conserving Iowa’s land and water. In 2012, INHF presented the Gundersons with the Hagie Heritage Award, a recognition meant to honor Iowans who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to conservation and improvement of Iowa’s natural environment while encouraging others to do the same.

The couple has committed countless hours to conservation efforts across Iowa with much of their work benefitting Hardin County and its surrounding communities. They were founders of the Iowa River Greenbelt Resource Trust in 1987 and have been actively involved in many other projects.

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Bob and Mary Lou Gunderson receiving the 2012 Hagie Heritage Award

Earlier this year, the Gundersons were also recognized at the Gift to Iowa’s Future Day, an event hosted by the state of Iowa. The celebration is hosted at the capitol to honor individuals, corporations and organizations that permanently protect land for parks, trails, natural areas, fish and wildlife habitat and other benefits.

The Gundersons were honored by the state because of their 12 acre land donation to Eldora, which is the site of the Gunderson Nature Park. The strategic location of Gunderson Nature Park near city streets and neighborhoods brings the park closer to Eldora residents. A trail loop, prairie and savanna reconstruction, butterfly habitat and a nature-scape play area are planned by the City of Eldora now that it has transferred to them from INHF.

“The Gundersons have not only been incredible supporters of our natural resources through their time and financial support, but they have been instrumental in promoting that mentality to those around them,” wrote John Schuller, Iowa River Greenbelt Resource Trust board member.

Iowa’s land and water are truly better off thanks to the Gunderson’s efforts and inspiration. INHF hopes you will join in on the celebration of two conservation champions.

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