Turin Prairie: A Treasure Worth Protecting

By Taylor on June 24, 2014 in Blog

IMG_2229Have you ever stood on a spot in Iowa and thought, “I hope it always stays just as beautiful and natural as this!”? Anita O’Gara, INHF vice president and development director, thought this when she first stood overlooking Turin Prairie.

“I added it to my list of places worth protecting forever,” Anita said. “It helps me imagine how Iowa must have looked long before my great-grandparents arrived—and I want my great-grandchildren to experience this place and sense their roots in this state we call home.”

What makes this prairie so special?

  • It’s vast. Rarely do Iowans have an opportunity to permanently protect a block of 1,000 acres of natural land! With your help, we can add 425 acres to a 600-acre state preserve and wildlife area – safeguarding and restoring over 1,000 acres of rare prairie and native woodland.
  • It’s rare.  Prairies once covered a majority of Iowa, but today 99 percent of Iowa’s original prairies have been converted to croplands, towns, roads and other uses. But Turin Prairie contains 200 acres of native prairie spreading across its hills. Plus, the loess hills topography found on this site is rare. Nowhere else in Iowa, and only some spots in the world, can you experience the uniqueness of this region’s steep, wind-formed, dune-like ridges. Some butterflies and plants survive nowhere else in Iowa besides here.
  • It’s silent. Once open to the public, this will be a great place to experience nature’s sounds and silences. There is no traffic, no noise, just the breeze and the birds, especially during migration.

Turin Prairie deserves to be saved and cared for as the treasure it is. It’s part of our unique Iowan natural heritage.

We have the opportunity to protect this place, thanks to neighboring landowners who decided to sell this land for conservation. The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is the temporary owner of this site, and we've already begun prairie stewardship to make it healthier than ever. We'll hold this land until funds can be raised to cover the protection. Then it will be joined with the Turin State Wildlife Management Area and cared for by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources into the future. You'll be able to visit this place after it’s open to the public, savoring the nature experience it offers you.

We expect public funds to cover up to 90 percent of this project. We have currently raised $40,000, and to complete this project, $160,000 must come from people like you who care about Iowa's land, water, wildlife and people.

 You can be one of the people who permanently protects Turin Prairie.

  • Every dollar you give goes into the land. You will help secure this land and protect its natural beauty forever. You'll be an important part of this project!
  • You'll be invited to hikes, volunteer workdays and a dedication at this special place.
  • Your gift will be matched by the Mildred Acklin Fund. Mildred's will bequest to INHF for Loess Hills protection is helping save several important lands, including Turin Prairie!

You can donate to this project with a gift to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Once on the donation page, under the purpose of the gift, click on Turin Prairie to make sure your donation goes directly to this project.

Please give today to protect Turin Prairie and become a part of all the action at the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Together, we will save and restore wildlife habitat…improve water quality…make Iowa a better place.