Volunteer spotlight: ISU students volunteer for “magical” day

Six Iowa State University Natural Resource and Ecology Management (NREM) graduate students used their skills to help open up and restore a remnant prairie on a March day this spring on a Boone County woodland just 20 minutes from campus. This is the fifth time ISU’s NREM students have worked on the site.

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Students from ISU’s Natural Resource and Ecology Management department and INHF staffers work with David Marlow to reclaim a hilltop on the Gardner Property in Boone County. (Gifford the dog was a big help, too.)

“What is interesting about this student group,” INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel said, “is that even with students flowing through the program and graduating each year, the passion and knowledge never seems to leave because the leadership is handed down and new energy emerges.” Continue reading

Day of Insects

A coma butterfly rests on milkweed in the Ringgold Wildlife Area in southern Iowa. (Photo by Clint Farlinger)

A coma butterfly rests on milkweed at the Ringgold Wildlife Area in southern Iowa. (Photo by Clint Farlinger)

How much do you love insects? Probably just as much as Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens, the host of the 7th Annual Day of Insects on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Whether you’re a proud insect enthusiast or you’ve never even heard of DOI, you’re welcomed with open wings arms. Fifteen presentations from professionals, academics, advocates and enthusiasts alike will span a range of insect-related topics. Check out “Bioluminescence in Arthropods: Not Just Fireflies” or “Glimpses into the Amazing Lives of Insects and Spiders” or even “Are Bites and Stings Just B.S.?” We know you’re curious.

On Friday, March 27, a casual opening reception will connect insect enthusiasts from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The reception is available to anyone signed up to attend DOI. The deadline to register for Day of Insects is Monday, March 23. A full list of presentations can found here.

This year, DOI follows the announcement of the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, a collective established at ISU to enhance monarch butterfly reproduction and to assist community-led implementation efforts.

As a partner, INHF will provide funding and support for the Consortium. INHF president Joe McGovern voiced his excitement for the project to Iowa State:

“The consortium will build on Iowa’s experience in related conservation efforts and can make great strides in benefiting monarchs. We look forward to getting the word out to all Iowans about how they can help increase monarch habitat.”

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Meet Chris, INHF’s new landscape architecture intern

IMG_0118 copyJoin INHF in welcoming Chris Holmquist to the team!

Originally from Brookings, S.D., Chris is now a senior landscape architecture student at Iowa State University. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf and basketball.

As the new landscape architecture intern, Chris will also help with project planning, regional analysis, mapping assistance and proposal writing. His work will focus not only on landscape architectural services but also on public engagement and sustainable design.

Chris started last week, and so far he’s been doing map-making work for the Iowa By Trail app. He looks forward to the rest of his time at INHF. “I’m excited to learn more about conservation.”

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ISU Grad Students carry a land lover’s dreams to the next generation

IMG_0416On Saturday, Ryan and I were excited to host our 4th volunteer day with graduate students in Iowa State University’s Natural Resource and Ecology Management Department. Nine students from this department came and restored remnant prairie in Boone County, on a property that was donated to INHF in memory of a really cool person.

Student leaders from this group reached out to me in the spring of 2013, when INHF’s volunteer program (and my journey at INHF) was just beginning… “What can we do?” they asked, and, “When can we start?”. They were looking for a place to apply the skills they were learning; I was a “lone ranger” looking for participants to kick-start our brand new program. It was a natural fit. I was baffled by their eagerness and knew I had to have them as a part of our program, so it began. Continue reading

Iowa’s Loess Hills: Faunal Crossroads at the Edge of the Great Plains

DSCN7323On July 23, the 2014 statewide and bluffland land stewardship interns had the opportunity to participate in a program given by Dr. Bill Clark, professor emeritus at Iowa State University, near Turin in Monona County. The theme for the session was “Iowa’s Loess Hills: Faunal Crossroads at the Edge of the Great Plains,” recognizing that there are quite a few species that reach either the eastern or western edge of their range. This was an interactive field trip where Bill educated the interns on the history of the area, followed by a visit to an INHF property and the Turin State Preserve, seeing species such as yucca, skeletonweed and locoweed. Continue reading

Homegrown Lifestyle offers course on home food production and conservation

7476097438_6abd93f4cc_bInterested in growing food or practicing conservation on a small-scale portion of your land, acreage or yard? Homeowners with space to play can learn how to turn their small tracts of land into food production and conservation areas! Homegrown Lifestyle is a 12-week spring short course that “focuses on fundamental, scale-appropriate food production techniques and conservation strategies that smallholders and modern homesteaders” can use.

Homegrown Lifestyle will be offered at several Iowa locations from March 20 to June 5. Weekly sessions will be held on Thursday evenings from 6–9 p.m. Each session features an extension educator who is a state expert in relevant topics, like edible landscape design, soil and water conservation, growing and preserving vegetables, fruits and wild crops, backyard poultry, beekeeping, grazing and ruminants, and wildlife management. Continue reading

Meet INHF’s new Landscape Architecture intern

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INHF is excited to welcome a new intern to our team! Dylan Schroeder will be working this winter & spring as the newest Landscape Architecture intern. Dylan is working full-time, but will be spending half his time at RDG Planning & Design as a joint intern program with INHF. Learn a little more about Dylan:

“I am in my fourth year at Iowa State University studying Landscape Architecture. This semester I will be working with Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation as a Trail Intern and working half time with RDG Planning & Design.  I have one year left at ISU before graduation and I hope to do something wonderful with my life after that. Continue reading

Cedar River Watershed Project: Healthy Soil

Written by Larry Stone

Please don’t call it dirt!

“Soil is, in fact, a very vibrant, living community,” declared Frederick L. Kirschenmann, distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.

Continue reading