The Importance of Native Prairie

Turin Prairie lies in the heart of the Loess Hills, adjoining a state preserve, viewed from a national scenic byway.

Turin Prairie lies in the heart of the Loess Hills, adjoining a state preserve, viewed from a national scenic byway.

This latest blast of winter weather has us dreaming of spring. It won’t be long before the snow is gone and the year’s early bloomers – pasque flower, prairie smoke, early buttercup – are lighting up our native prairies. Won’t that be nice?

Until then, we can look forward to a great educational prairie-themed event. The Bur Oak Land Trust of Johnson County is hosting the 32nd Annual Prairie Preview on Thursday, March 12, at the Celebration Farm just outside Iowa City. This event is a great opportunity to meet fellow nature lovers.

The program will include information and displays from various local environmental organizations and agencies, including INHF. Conservationist Jim Kessler’s talk, “Why Planting Local Natives and Restoring Habitat Matter,” will focus on the importance of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, sedges and grasses.

This year’s theme is “The Importance of Native Prairie.” INHF has worked both to restore and to preserve native Iowa prairie land through projects such as Razor Prairie, a prime site for harvesting native prairie seed, and Turin Prairie, a major expansion of the Turin Loess Hills Preserve and Wildlife Management Area.

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Wordless Wednesday: Turin Prairie

IMG_7436This photo of Turin Prairie was taken at this past weekend’s Loess Hills Prairie Seminar. The seminar consisted of nearly 100 people who got a taste of what this 425-acre project is about. About 65 volunteers donated their time to clear out Cedar trees from a steep, prominent hill for the Great Race Against Shade (G.R.A.S.S.) to foster the health for native prairie. The volunteers included our land stewardship interns and staff, Nature Conservancy interns, the DNR trails crew, plus DNR staff and assorted volunteers including our own board member Greg Grupp.

Photo by INHF Land Stewardship Assistant Ryan Schmidt

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