North American Prairie Conference returns to Iowa

By Joe Jayjack on April 25, 2023 in Press Center

Joe Jayjack,, 515-288-1846, ext. 19

The North American Prairie Conference (NAPC) is returning after a four-year hiatus, highlighting the value of one of the continent’s most important and endangered ecosystems.

North American Prairie ConferenceThe conference will be held June 26-29 in the heart of the tallgrass prairie region — Altoona, Iowa, which lies just outside Des Moines. Field trips all over central Iowa will emphasize experiential learning in high-quality prairie remnants and restorations, and dozens of sessions over four days will share the latest in prairie research, management and philosophy.

“Our future success as a society will in part derive from the degree to which we recognize and fulfill our obligation to ensure our grandchildren and their grandchildren have the opportunity to interact with and benefit from these wondrous grasslands,” wrote Douglas Ladd in an issue of the Missouri Prairie Journal. “We depend on these bio­logical systems to sustain us as a people, meeting human needs through healthy productive soils, clean and abundant waters, pollinator reservoirs, flood and erosion prevention, and countless other amenities which taken for granted, can be prohibitively expen­sive to re-create once system integrity is lost.”

Attendees can expect to hear from and meet:

  • researchers, professors and students who will share the latest findings and questions about the plants, insects of this diverse ecosystem.
  • landowners and stewardship professionals representing non-profits, public agencies and businesses who will share their experience in managing and restoring prairie.
  • thoughtful people who will share how hopeful and inspiring prairie is — offering beauty, personal rejuvenation, and resilience in the face of climate change.

A full day of field trips on June 27 will allow attendees to choose among 17 remarkable remnant native prairies, oak-hickory savannas, research sites and expansive reconstructed prairies, followed by an evening of live entertainment, food and socialization with fellow participants.

Keynote speakers at the conference will be:

  • Dr. Laura Jackson, Director of the University of Northern Iowa Tallgrass Prairie Center, speaking on “A Lost Cause? Bringing Prairie Back to the Corn Belt”
  • Eric Lee-Mäder, Co-Director of Pollinator Conservation, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, speaking on “Farmers of Forty Centuries: Reconciling Agriculture & Ecology”
  • Douglas Ladd, Former Director of Conservation at The Nature Conservancy in Missouri, speaking on “Saving the Soul of the Heartland”

NAPC, America’s oldest and most celebrated native grassland conference, has been held roughly every two years since 1968. It was last held in Houston in 2019. The conference is made possible by hundreds of attendees, volunteers, organizations and sponsors, including the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Living Roadway Trust Fund, the event’s overall sponsor.

The conference chair is Dr. Thomas Rosburg, a renowned professor of ecology and botany at Drake University in Des Moines. The conference is co-hosted by the nonprofits Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and Prairie Rivers of Iowa.

Exhibiting Sponsor, Iowa Prairie Network will be awarding scholarships to a select number of college students. Student scholarship recipients will be awarded free event registration and free lodging. Scholarship recipients will also be reimbursed up to $50 for travel expenses.

Learn more about the North American Prairie Conference and register at

What: North American Prairie Conference

When: June 26-29, 2023

Where: The Meadows Events Center in Altoona, Iowa

Learn more and register:

Members of the media wishing to attend the conference or any field trips can contact Penny Brown Huber at