Preventing Palmer Amaranth in Prairie Reconstructions

In 2016, the “super weed” Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) made headlines when it appeared in conservation plantings in dozens of Iowa counties. This was not the first time the noxious weed had appeared in Iowa. Palmer amaranth infestations first arrived in 2013, brought in by crop production materials and equipment. The speed at which the […]

Tagtows Reconstruct Iowa’s Ecological Legacy with Native Wetland, Trees, Prairie

  It was 1994, and Kelly and Angie could not wait to get out of the city. They had both grown up in the country, and after spending the first few years of their marriage living in Ankeny, they jumped at the opportunity to purchase twelve acres near Elkhart. Kelly remembers, “A small corner of […]

Restoring Family Farm Diversity with Organic Crops, Prairie, and Wetlands

Since the Lehman family purchased their farm in 1869, there has been a dramatic change in the landscape near Alleman, Iowa. The rich, flat fields in the center of Iowa once supported dairy and beef cattle, chickens, sheep, pigs, and work horses, and the forages (such as alfalfa), oats, wheat, and corn that fed them. […]

Improving Habitat for Wildlife in an Urban Forest

Laura and Shawn Lewis selected their home in Ames for its proximity to campus and downtown, and the characteristics of the house itself–not for the wooded backyard. But they wanted to understand what was growing in their urban forest and how to manage it well, so they called an urban tree expert. “The arborist mostly […]

An Edible, Perennial Landscape Takes Root Near Roland

It was moving day, and Amy and Clay Miller were feeling discouraged. They were relocating from San Antonio to central Iowa in the spring of 2015 for Clay’s work, and in spite of months of searching, they had yet to find land where their dream of growing niche fruits, nuts, and livestock could flourish. Then, […]

Acreage Owners Generate Revenue for Studio, Grow Future with Timber Sale

Last May, Kyle Eastwood married Amy Uthus, a ceramics artist. They dreamed of building a studio for her on their 11 acres near Knoxville, and were looking for a way to finance it. Many black walnut trees were growing on the land, and Kyle thought they may provide an opportunity to generate some revenue. Kyle […]

Designing a Landscape for Wildlife in the Bohemian Alps

Sue Peterson is transforming her grasslands into high quality, native prairie and managing her woodland for biodiverse wildlife habitat and timber value. When Sue Peterson and her late husband, Bob Black, purchased 94 acres in the ‘Bohemian Alps’ of northeast Johnson County, they were thrilled to see nature reclaim it. It was the early 1990s […]

Emerald Ash Borer Brings Opportunity for Reinvention on a Family Farm

  When it comes to conservation, Lee Tesdell says, ““‘Think globally, act locally’” is a good slogan to live by. We need to do what we can in our own backyards”. Over the last several years as a non-operator landowner of his family’s Century Farm, Lee has implemented several conservation practices in and around his […]

Lengeling Family Restores Oak Savanna, Prairie, and their Ecological Legacy

  Paul Lengeling still remembers what it was like before the oak savanna became a dense forest. “You can still see the trace of the path where my grandmother Grace Kimberley rode her horse as a teenager to her nearby uncle’s home. She had remarked how much smaller the trees were then, and the ground […]

Iowa’s Native Giants: Restoring an Oak Savanna Ecosystem

Restoration can yield rapid and spectacular results for this unique community that provides critical habitat for wildlife.   At the border of Iowa’s forests and prairies, there often existed another ecological community containing aspects of both, but was on the whole distinct. The oak savanna was the result of fire burning the woodland herbaceous layer, and […]