Prairie Rivers of Iowa is now the proud owner of a prairie root display, grown by the University of Northern Iowa Tall Grass Prairie Center. The display boasts five foot tall Big Bluestem and Butterfly Milkweed roots. These examples of fibrous and tap prairie roots will help PRI staff engage the public in conversations about the importance of prairie roots in the Iowa landscape.

The massive root systems of prairie plants hold soil in place, increase infiltration, and trap pollutants while building rich, absorbent, flood-resilient soil. Prairies are also an essential part of Iowa’s native wildlife habitat and ecosystem both above and below ground. Diverse communities of organisms are found in the extensive root systems. These communities may include ground squirrels, many types of fungi, invertebrates such as earthworms, and also symbiotic bacteria. Above ground, the ecosystem is ideal for an array of birds, mammals, and pollinators.

Come see our prairie root display in action! Prairie Rivers of Iowa will be at Brookside Park this Sunday, July 9th, from 4 to 7pm for the Ames Progressive Alliance Picnic. Stop by to learn more about prairie roots and our organization!

-Rosie Manzo