Loess Hills Prairie Seminar

The sun sets over the Loess Hills in Monona County. (Photo by Robert Buman)

The sun sets over the Loess Hills in Monona County. (Photo by Robert Buman)

“Honoring Prairie and the Hills”

Whether avid prairie enthusiast or curious nature lover, you’re invited to join INHF at the 39th Loess Hills Prairie Seminar from Friday, May 29, to Sunday, May 31. Events will be held at the Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area northeast of Onawa and in Onawa at West Monona High School.

The Northwest Area Education Agency sponsors the seminar annually and invites educators, students, park and conservation persons, community leaders, and citizens. A living memorial to found Carolyn Frerichs Benne, a Western Hills Area Education Agency environmental educator, the prairie seminar brings together 300 people of all ages every year to promote conservation, environmental and science education.

Events for families and Iowa citizens of all ages are scheduled throughout the weekend, including campfires on Friday and Saturday nights, a silent auction and breakout sessions about birds, plants, insects, photography, history, soil, geology, ecology, prairie management, journaling, Native American heritage, landscaping and more

INHF members will lead two of the breakout sessions on Saturday, May 30, at the Outdoor Seminar Site:

8:15 a.m. | Landowners’ Conservation Options
INHF Land Stewardship Director Erin Van Waus will shed light on how and why people choose permanent protection for land they own. An introduction to land donations, bequests and conservation easements will be given, as INHF serves landowners who face these decisions.
10:15 a.m. | Place, Purpose and Prairie
INHF Loess Hills Land Conservation Consultant Tim Sproul and INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel will tell the tale of INHF using the story of Turin Prairie. They will share how and why we do what we do.

Volunteer at G.R.A.S.S. (the Great Race Against Shrubs and Shade)

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Remove woody species to keep Turin Prairie beautiful.

Join INHF, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy and other partners during the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar to explore and volunteer at Turin Prairie on Friday, May 29, at 9:00 a.m.

With thoughts of energy and impact, watch the land transform before your eyes at this annual event. Participants will work in teams to remove brush from the large hillside prairie, which may involve use of chainsaws, loppers and handsaws.


Questions about the prairie seminar should be directed to Dianne Blankenship at bennaid@hotmail.com. Questions about G.R.A.S.S. volunteer event should be directed to Mary Runkel at mrunkel@inhf.org.

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Nature Walk: Prairie Grass Clumps

“Layers of heavy wet snow can eventually flatten stands of tall prairie grasses, yet clumps often remain providing access to the surface for small critters.  For deer mice, voles and shrews, it provides an insulation barrier from the cold and protection from predators.” – Carl Kurtz

“Layers of heavy wet snow can eventually flatten stands of tall prairie grasses, yet clumps often remain providing access to the surface for small critters. For deer mice, voles and shrews, it provides an insulation barrier from the cold and protection from predators.” – Carl Kurtz

If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo or requesting information on possible use of any of our “Nature Walk” photographs, please contact Carl Kurtz at cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

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Nature Walk: July Prairie II

July Prairie 2

“Here we see a mixture of prairie blazing stars, yellow coneflowers and rattlesnake masters which are part the grand finale of the early flower season in the prairie. By mid-August tall grasses will mask goldenrods, asters, gentians and all but the tallest sunflowers.” -Carl Kurtz

If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo or requesting information on possible use of any of our “Nature Walk” photographs, please contact Carl Kurtz at cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

 

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Prairie Plants of Iowa

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Iowa prairie enthusiasts may be familiar with Paul Christiansen’s extensive guide to the plants of Iowa’s lush prairies. Prairie Plants of Iowa is full of easy tools to help identify even the trickiest prairie plant, and includes illustrations to guide the way. Look up plants by their scientific name, classification, common name or even by the Iowa county where they can be found. The book is an amazing way for experts and beginners alike to sharpen their identification skills and learn more about Iowa’s diverse plant life.