Field day attendees will get hands-on tours, instruction and technical assistance about how to start and improve native prairie plantings to benefit soil health, water quality and pollinator habitat.

Improving Soil Health and Wildlife Habitat Through Native Plantings Field Day to be Held September 7

 

Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s watershed team will be conducting a field day for area farmers, landowners and the general public entitled “Improving Soil Habitat Through Native Planting”. There will be morning session from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and an afternoon session from 1 to 3 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to attend one or both sessions with the morning session primarily geared towards farmers and the second session focused on urban landowners.

The morning session will begin at Upstill Park at 129 Park Ave. in Gilbert with a brief tour of a local prairie planting and bumblebee hunt.  Attendees will learn about the unique species of plants and pollinators that call Central Iowa home. Then they will move to the residence of Linda Murken and Jim Noland just west of Gilbert at the corner of 170th St. and George Washington Ave. to see a large native edge of field practice planting. Staff from Prairie Rivers of Iowa and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will be on hand to offer assistance and information to landowners interested in Conservation Reserve Program enrollment and native plantings.

“I’m looking forward to introducing interested farmers and landowners to a variety of native plants in the context of edge of field conservation practices.  The plants not only look nice, but they also have some great benefits for the quality of soil and water on the farm,” said Prairie Rivers of Iowa Watershed Coordinator David Stein.

The Big Bluestem Shelter in Moore in Memorial Park at 3050 Northridge Parkway in Ames will be the location for the second session. There’ll be informational booths from local environmental groups showcasing demonstrations and information throughout the afternoon. A brief introduction will be given about the native plants and bumblebees that guests will be able to see in the park. Tours of the local prairie teaching attendees about wetlands, early fall plants in bloom and the bumblebees that feed off them will be given during two 30 minute sessions.  Guests will learn about the benefits of a prairie in urban areas including runoff and erosion control, nutrient reduction and vital habitat for pollinators and wildlife.  Participants are encouraged to find and photograph bumblebees. Speakers will be on hand to answer any questions about specific plants, pollinators and assistance to landowners looking to establish pollinator habitat.

“Our hope is to introduce the community to an area of vital wildlife and pollinator habitat they may have never seen before, expand on the services that these natural areas provide for the city of Ames and ways homeowners can implement some of these services on their own properties,” Stein sates, “I’m also looking forward to getting more people to look for bumblebees and other pollinators.  There’s a real possibility that we can see the endangered Rusty-Patched Bumblebee during one of the tours.”

Sun protection and walking shoes are recommended. For the complete schedule, and to send RSVP’s please refer to the event’s Facebook page or call David Stein 515-232-0048 or email dstein@prrcd.org.