RAVE along the Great Western Trail

INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel (second from left) with volunteers at last year's Taco RAVE.

INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel (second from left) with volunteers at last year’s Taco RAVE.

Do you like biking? Do you like conservation? And most importantly, do you like volunteering? Then you’re in luck!

INHF, Polk County, Warren County Conservation and Bike Month will host the second annual Taco RAVE at Great Western Trail on Tuesday, May 19. From 5 p.m. to sundown, you can not only enjoy a bike ride to support conservation but also participate in a Random Act of Volunteering for Earth by picking up trash and spreading prairie seed along the trail. RAVE programs get people directly involved with their natural areas.

Participants can stop at various booths along the trail to pick up prairie seed bombs, see a live raptor and take advantage of drink specials at Outskirtz, a bar on the trail near Orilla.

Those who participate will earn a free drink at the Cumming Tap.

Parking for the Taco RAVE will be available by Orlondo’s Bar and Grill at the trailhead on Valley Drive and George Flagg Parkway near Park Avenue.

Questions about INHF’s volunteer program? Contact Mary Runkel at mrunkel@inhf.org or call 515-288-1846.


An early Earth Day celebration


INHF staff and volunteers collect seed at Turin Loess Hills State Preserve and Wildlife Management Area in Monona County.

According to an article in The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Earth Day started in 1970 when San Francisco activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson separately asked Americans to join in a grassroots environmental demonstration. McConnell chose the spring equinox, March 21, 1970, and Nelson chose April 22. Millions of people participated, and today Earth Day continues to be widely celebrated with events on both dates. Continue reading

Volunteer spotlight: Folks at Faulkes Heritage Woods

Walking through snow in Iowa in early March turns into a rewarding experience for these 17 volunteers from INHF, Trees Forever, the City of Marion Parks and Rec. and Winding Pathways, LLC. The group cleaned Japanese barberry from Faulkes Heritage Woods near Marion.

One of the best kept secrets in Linn County is the 110-acre Faulkes Heritage Woods – located on the Cedar Rapids/Marion border just south of Highway 100 and east of I-380.

On a snowy Saturday in March, 17 volunteers from INHF, Trees Forever, the City of Marion Parks and Recreation and Winding Pathways, LLC, enlisted hand saws and loppers to spring clean the invasive Japanese barberry from the area. Continue reading

Folks at Faulkes: Winter Edition

_MG_9939 ice storm HDRUpdate: This event has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

INHF, Trees Forever, Winding Pathways, LLC. and the City of Marion are hosting our first winter volunteer day on Saturday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Faulkes Heritage Woods in Marion, Iowa. Join locals passionate about this public woodland in restoring its native ecosystem.

Volunteers will assist in the removal of invasive species, such as maple trees and Japanese barberry, from the oak woodland. Removing these maples allows sunlight to reach the forest floor, which then gives the native oaks a chance to flourish.

Doing this work in winter offers a new way to experience Iowa, meet like-minded people and observe the natural beauty of the winter woods. Not to mention that there will be less brush, less humidity and–most importantly–fewer bugs.

No experience is necessary to volunteer, and teenagers to adults are welcome! Participants are encouraged to wear extra layers and boots. And don’t forget your handsaws and loppers, if you have them. Hot cocoa and snacks will be provided.

To RSVP (recommended), email Dustin Hinrichs at dhinrichs@treesforever.org or call 319-640-0757.

For questions about INHF’s volunteer program, contact Mary Runkel at mrunkel@inhf.org or 515-288-1846, ext. 17.


Morning Prairie Seed Harvest

palepurpleviewJoin the INHF staff for a fun-filled morning collecting native prairie seed from an INHF-owned remnant prairie on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. The event will take place from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Breen Prairie located approximately 3 miles north of Monticello on Highway 28 in Jones County. After the seed is harvested by hand, it will be distributed to other parts of the property where we would like to increase native plant diversity. Continue reading