Celebrate Iowa Prairie Heritage Week across the state

By Kerri Sorrell on September 4, 2015 in Blog

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Iowa Prairie Heritage Week is an annual, week-long celebration of Iowa’s prairie past, present and future. This year, events all across the state will be held Sept. 13-19.

IPHW provides Iowans and visitors the chance to experience the prairie in its September beauty. Events—like prairie walks, seed harvests and educational tours—are scheduled at prairies in all of Iowa’s regions; participants are also encouraged to organize events of their own, introducing friends and family to diverse prairies, small and large.

For a full schedule of events, visit the Iowa Prairie Network calendar online.

Some notable events:

Sunday, Sept. 13
Prairie Walk: Celebrating Iowa Prairie Heritage Week
UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center, Cedar Falls, 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.
The UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center invites you to appreciate the beauty of native plants with a leisurely walk along the trail of a UNI prairie planting. Walks will be led by Tallgrass Prairie Center founder and advocate Daryl Smith and Laura Jackson, center director at 1p.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Monarchs and Milkweeds with Conservation Naturalist Victoria DeVos
Hillview Recreation Area – Center for Outdoor Learning, 4-5 p.m.
Naturalist Victoria DeVos will speak about the prairie and pollinators. Participants will learn how to tag Monarch butterflies. Bring a butterfly net if you have one — there will be many available for use at the Center. Dress for outdoor activity–some walking involved. This is a free event and open to all.

Tuesday, Sept. 15
Hitchhike at Hitchcock Nature Center
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek, 6 p.m.
Hitchcock Nature Center- Join us for the conclusion of this summer series. This hike is a challenging one that includes exploring more remote areas of the preserve and the Loess Hills up close. We will walk through Hidden Valley out west to reach our destination- a scenic overlook of the Missouri River Valley. We invite the public to attend all of the hikes in the series. They are designed to introduce visitors to Hitchcock Nature Center as well as the Loess Hills. Bring your water bottle and join us in the fun! Cost: $2.00 per person. Weather permitting.

4th Annual “A Little Reading on the Prairie”
Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, 6:45-8 p.m.
The Center for Prairie Studies at Briar Cliff University is hosting an outdoor reading event, the 4th Annual “A Little Reading on the Prairie.” It will take place on The Nature Conservancy’s Sioux City Prairie. Inclement weather alternative is the Assisi Room in the St. Francis Center at Briar Cliff University. Participants are asked to bring their favorite passage of prairie literature or a piece of original writing with a prairie focus.

Thursday, Sept. 17
Prairie Words: Sharing Writings Related to Prairies
Ada Hayden Heritage Park, North of Ames, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
In celebration of Iowa Prairie Heritage Week, participants are asked to bring their favorite passage of prairie literature and/or a piece of original writing with a prairie focus (poems, short essays or stories, lyrics, etc.), or prairie-related music to share. If time allows, more general Nature-related literature, original writing or music may also be shared. If we have good weather, we'll likely take a short walk to read near one of the prairie areas — dress accordingly. Bring a folding chair if you wish. The maximum length of each reading will be based on the number of readers present, but will probably be ~5 minutes. Please note that this is a family-friendly event.

Monarch Butterfly Tagging in the Prairie in Woodbury County
Sioux City Prairie, 6-7 p.m.
Join us during Iowa Prairie Heritage Week to learn about the importance of prairie to Monarch butterflies. We will search for any migrating monarchs and hope to tag them on their journey to Mexico. Wear sturdy walking shoes and meet at the Talbot Road entrance to the Sioux City Prairie. Free! For more information contact the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center at 712-258-0838.

Friday, Sept. 18
Seed ‘n Feed for Iowa Prairie Heritage Week in Plymouth County
15384 N Ridge Rd, Westfield, IA 51062, USA (map), 4-8 p.m.
Bill and Dotty Zales are hosting their annual Seed ‘n Feed, this year on Friday, Sept 18. 4:00pm seed collecting party, with a BBQ at 7:00pm, or come whenever you can. Bring clippers, garden gloves and water.

Saturday, Sept. 19
Going Native: Iowa Prairies Seminar
Carnegie Library Museum, 1123 Willis Avenue, Perry (map), 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
In coordination with the Carnegie Library Museum in Perry, ISU Extension will be offering, “Going Native: Iowa Prairies Seminar.” More information.

Sioux City Prairie Volunteer Day
Sioux City Prairie, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Help Stone Park AmeriCorps worker Andrea Porter in volunteer work at Sioux City Prairie. Meet at the northeast gate to the prairie by the Briar Cliff west parking lot on top of the hill.
Brush cutting activities, so please bring loppers and wear work gloves.

Monarch Tagging and Milkweed Seed Collecting in Polk County
Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, 8700 Northeast 126 Avenue, Maxwell (map), 9-11 a.m.
Come learn about one of the world's most talked about butterflies and what makes them so unique! We will also try our hand at catching and tagging monarchs as they migrate back to their winter home in Mexico. We will also be looking for milkweed that has ripened so we can collect the seed and plant more habitat for monarch butterflies! The area’s natural features include old oxbow river channels and backwaters, marshes, and wetlands. Chichaqua also includes sandy upland hills with reconstructed prairies and native prairie remnants.

Codfish Hollow Hill Prairie walk in Jackson County
4 miles east of Maquoketa on Codfish Hollow Road (35th Street) (map), 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Twenty acres of original native prairie on one dozen outcrops, also now connected with a three-decade old reconstruction on former crop ground, functioning as a buffer and preserve for declining imminently local prairie species. We expect to see various fall asters, ladies tress orchids, many others, and maybe the prairie dependent Leonardus Skipper butterfly (last seen in eastern Iowa in late 1800’s until the more recent discovery of a residual population on this site). Rain or shine.

Gossman farm prairie and woodland walk in Jackson County
19502 159th ave, Zwingle, Ia, 52079 (map), 1-3:30 p.m.
Reconstructed prairie/pollinator habitat at various stages. Prairie remnants. Extensive woodland habitat and a wetland for those who want to extend the visit.

Know of other events happening? Be sure to post in the comments!