Gift to Iowa’s Future Day celebrates Iowa landowners

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On Thursday, March 24, a group of Iowa landowners were honored at the state capitol building for gifts of conservation land, land value and conservation easements made in 2015. “Gift To Iowa’s Future” day is an annual celebration of private landowners and organizations who protect their land for natural resources and recreation opportunities. 2015 gifts totaled more than $10 million and protected over 4,500 acres in 15 counties.

16 of the 23 landowners honored worked in partnership with Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to protect their land.

“Private landowners are instrumental in protecting Iowa’s land, water and wildlife,” said INHF President Joe McGovern. “Gift to Iowa’s Future Day is a chance for us to celebrate the generous contributions individual Iowans make to conservation each year. It is truly humbling to see the impact of these gifts across the state.”
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Two new nature areas for Story County

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We recently announced the opportunity to create two new nature areas in Story County. A public presentation on March 22 by INHF President Joe McGovern introduced the public to efforts to establish the new Carroll Prairie and the Ronald “Dick” Jordan Family Wildlife Area.

“While the majority of the funding for both these new areas is expected to come from competitive public grants, private contributions will also be needed for both projects,” said McGovern.

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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

Clean Water Concert

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The sun sets over West Okoboji Lake. (Photo by Don Poggensee)

The Okoboji Protective Association will host its annual Clean Water Concert at Preservation Plaza in Arnolds Park as part of a clean water awareness effort on Saturday, August 8, from 4-7 p.m. There will be information sessions and family-friendly activities throughout the evening.

The public is invited to hear INHF president Joe McGovern speak at the OPA’s annual meeting, which will run from 5-6 p.m. at the event. Big Blue Sky Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Continue reading

Picture perfect prairies

A tour participant photographs a wood lily at the Stinson Prairie State Preserve.

A tour participant photographs a wood lily at Stinson Prairie State Preserve.

On Saturday, June 27, INHF president Joe McGovern led tours of three prairies in Kossuth County, co-sponsored by INHF, the Iowa Native Plant Society and the Iowa Prairie Network.

INHF vice president and development director Anita O’Gara and land stewardship director Erin Van Waus also attended the tours. “The neat thing about the day is that we had a variety of attendees – people who know prairie really well, those that enjoy photography and those that haven’t ever set foot on a prairie,” Van Waus said. “So it was a nice mix of attendees of all ages.” Continue reading

DeCook Field Day

Buffalo roam DeCook's ranch in Monroe County. (Photo by Ron Huelse)

Buffalo roam DeCook’s ranch in Monroe County. (Photo by Ron Huelse)

INHF board member Mike DeCook will host a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day at his ranch in Lovilia on Tuesday, July 28, from 1-4 p.m. The afternoon will be an opportunity for guests to brush up on their pollinator, prairie and bison-grazing education. Continue reading

McGovern to lead tour of Kossuth County prairies

The sun sets over Wildin Prairie.

The sun sets over Wildin Heritage Prairie. (Photo by Joe McGovern)

INHF President Joe McGovern will lead tours of three prairies in Kossuth County on Saturday, June 27. The field trips will last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are co-sponsored by INHF, the Iowa Native Plant Society and the Iowa Prairie Network. Continue reading

“Concert on the Prairie” returns

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Concert on the Prairie at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge returns for its third year on Friday, June 5, for a night of art, music and—of course—nature. Join retired U.S. Congressman Neal Smith and INHF President Joe McGovern for an eventful evening:

5:00 PM – Wines of Iowa, including Soldier Creek Winery, will host a tasting. Full bottles of wine will be available for a donation.

6:00 PM – Dinner will be provided by Magg Family Catering.

7:00 PMInfluenced by folk, bluegrass, blue and reggae styles, Iowa musicians Jon Stravers and Big Blue Sky will perform in celebration of Iowa’s natural heritage.

8:30 PM – Enjoy a guided twilight walk on the Overlook Trail.

Throughout the evening, local artist Michael Wilson’s new exhibition, Spirit of Place, will also be on display in the Visitor Center.

Register for Concert on the Prairie here by Monday, June 1. Event registration costs $50 per person. All proceeds, donations and a portion of art sales during the exhibition will benefit the purchase of new educational displays in the Prairie Learning Center.

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Periodical Cicadas

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INHF President Joe McGovern with Alex and Henry, 2014 land stewardship interns, at Snyder Heritage Farm. Henry is holding one of the 17-year cicadas as Joe explains their life cycle.

This summer marks the emergence of the 17-year-cycle Brood cicadas III, Magicicada spp, in Iowa and  northwestern parts of Illinois. There are three species of 17-year-cycle cicadas, and they can be found in the northern part of the United States. Most of them emerge during the months of May and June. Continue reading

2014 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award

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The 2013 Hagie Heritage Award recipient, Jimmie Thompson, receiving the award from INHF President Joe McGovern.

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation invites you, your agency, partners or friends to nominate an outstanding Iowa conservationist for the 2014 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award.

The nomination process is easy and a great way to bring deserved recognition for your nominee and for the nominating organization(s). Nominations are due July 14, 2014! Continue reading