Indiangrass Hills Celebrates 20 Years

By Haley Hodges on August 8, 2017 in Blog

Named for the abundant Indian grass covering the 750-acre property, Indiangrass Hills is a prairie marvel. 

The first piece of land making up Indiangrass Hills was originally purchased twenty years ago by three friends who took a risk at restoring the large tract of farm land. The three could see small patches of remnant prairie trying to poke through the land and hoped that with careful burning and management it could slowly be restored to the beautiful property it now is. Since then, the property has expanded to over 750 acres that have been donated to INHF for permanent protection through a reserved life estate.

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Though one of the partners, Richard "Sandy" Rhodes, is now passed, Judy Felder and Mary Brown are continuing management of the prairie as they have been for twenty years now. Two weeks ago, they celebrated the anniversary during a picnic with Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation after the Statewide Land Stewardship interns spent a long day cutting and removing invasive plants on the property. 

The team spent two days total on the property, dividing and conquering the slopes with chainsaws and brushsaws. As one intern made their way up the slope with the brushsaw, a team would follow, forming a sort of assembly line passing the cut brush back down the slope, helping the sawyer and treating all of the stumps left behind so they wouldn't regrow. The interns and land stewardship staff managed to clear an expansive area where native seeds had been introduced, creating several large piles of brush that will be left to dry and burned later in the year. 

While out working, the team enjoyed the plentiful wild blackberries, found a monarch chrysalis and saw a prairie skink as just a small sampling of all of the surprises Indiangrass Hills holds.

Mary and Judy hosted a picnic after the work day, thanking the land interns for their hard work and celebrating Indiangrass Hill's 20th anniversary at the Lake Iowa Park Nature Center, a few miles from the property.