Attend…or help our summer daycamp

This summer, we are hosting our second summer Day Camp called Wild Warriors Kids Conservation Camp. Our camps provide a unique and authentic learning opportunity for kids. We spend every day outside with experts in areas such as wildlife, plants, survival skills, swimming, photography and more. We will be enrolling up to 32 kids and offering up to five scholarships for children to attend camp that may not have been able to attend without this support. In order to provide this unique experience, it will cost almost $300 per student…will you help sponsor a kid to attend Wild Warriors Kids Conservation Camp this summer? Every day we work to support Iowa’s natural resources and educate Iowans about conservation. We know there are many worthy causes to support, and ask you to consider investing in Prairie Rivers of Iowa. Your donation will go a long way to helping us reach out to educate young Iowans through our Kids on the Byway program about our natural resources. Prairie Rivers of Iowa is a 501(c)3...
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Periodical Cicadas Return to Iowa in 2014

It’s been a long wait but it is almost over!  This is the year that Brood III of the periodical cicadas (a.k.a. 17-year “locusts”) will emerge from the ground and appear as adults in a significant portion of the state of Iowa.  The periodical cicadas we will see and hear this summer are the offspring of the adults that we saw way back in 1997.  For 17 years, the cicada nymphs have waited underground.  This is the summer we (and they!) have waited for! For more information check out this article from Iowa State Extension: Periodical Cicadas Return to Iowa in 2014 ...
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PRAIRIE RIVERS URBAN FORESTRY SPECIALIST QUOTED IN DES MOINES REGISTER

Prairie Rivers's very own, Shane Donegan, was quoted in a Des Moines Register article. In the article "Ash Borer Headed to Ankeny", Donegan was quoted regarding EAB and the public meetings held in Ankeny, “Most people have already heard the problem is here and that it doesn’t mean good things,” said Iowa Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Specialist Shane Donegan. “These meetings have been happening more frequently and are being pretty well attended. Instead of the info just being doom-focused, we are really trying to give people options for how they can prepare.” For the full article check out the Register's website Ash Borer Headed to Ankeny...
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Learning and Exploring the Outdoors

On May 6th, North Tama's 5th graders traveled to Ferguson Timbers in Marshalltown, Iowa to partake in their third and final capstone event of the school year.  The kids are in the midst of their environmental stewardship unit and are learning about the importance of certain things such as water quality.  The day was filled with learning about current environmental issues, the how to's of camping and basic survival skills, and just a general appreciation for the outdoors. The capstone event took place at Ferguson Timbers, an educational area under a conservation easement with Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.  The area had everything from wooded trails to rolling prairies and even a glimpse of the powerful Iowa River.  It was the perfect place for the kids to interact with the handful of experts that volunteered to share their expertise. Marlene Ehresman is the executive director of the Iowa Wildlife Center and she took the students on a nature hike where she showed the...
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Sponsor a Camper

­­ This summer, we are hosting our second summer Day Camp called Wild Warriors Kids Conservation Camp. Our camps provide a unique and authentic learning opportunity for kids. We spend every day outside with experts in areas such as wildlife, plants, survival skills, swimming, photography and more. We will be enrolling up to 32 kids and offering up to five scholarships for children to attend camp that may not have been able to attend without this support. In order to provide this unique experience, it will cost almost $300 per student…will you help sponsor a kid to attend Wild Warriors Kids Conservation Camp this summer?  The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway is managed by Prairie Rivers of Iowa. Every day we work to support Iowa’s natural resources and educate Iowans about conservation. We know there are many worthy causes to support, and ask you to consider investing in Prairie Rivers of Iowa. Your donation will go a long way to helping us reach out...
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The Music of Trees

Bartholomäus Traubeck, has created a record player that turns slices of trees into music. The project is called Years and Traubeck describes how it works: "A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently." Traubeck has turned a handful of trees into music: Picea (spruce), Fraxinus (ash), Quercus (oak), Acer (maple), Alnus (alder), Juglans (walnut), Fagus (beech). Follow the link below to watch a video with a sample of the music. Years - Bartholomäus Traubeck  ...
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WINTER BURN SHOWING UP ON CONIFERS IN IOWA

Conifer trees across Iowa are showing signs of stress from last winter, including browning or bleaching needles, needle loss and some tree death.  This condition is known as winter desiccation, or winter burn. “This past winter may have been one of the colder winters on record, but we still had several days where the air temperature was above freezing and the soil remained frozen.  When this happens, trees use the water reserves in their needles but are unable to absorb new water from the frozen soil,” said Tivon Feeley, forest health program leader with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “The tree literally runs out of water.” The symptoms become more apparent as the days warm and tend to be worse on the windward side of the tree.  Reports indicate arborvitae, white pine and white fir have moderate to severe damage from winter burn. Feeley said if the needles on the tree are dead but buds are alive, new plant foliage will replace...
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Fire, Soil & Byways

In Celebration of Iowa's celebration of Soil and Water Conservation Week, I decided to discuss the prairie burns Penny, John and I saw while in Kansas. The three of us traveled to Kansas to attend the Heartland Byways Conference in Manhattan, and while at the conference had the chance to take a tour of the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway.   I was surprised to see the fire so close to the road when we were traveling on the byway. The above image shows one instance where we saw the fire approaching. Our bus and other drivers had to pull over at one point to let the fire move through. The monitoring and safety measures that were put into place were great, and it was amazing to see the fire so close.   So what does fire have to do with Soil and Water Conservation Week? Prairies have a long-standing history of healthy soil and a need for burning and grazing to keep soil full...
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Preserving and Protecting Our Water Resources

In honor of National Water and Soil Conservation Week, Kids on the Byway is dedicating this blog post to one of their partner programs, Upper Iowa University's Environmental Issues Instruction course.  EII is a graduate level course dedicated to teachers and other personnel that addresses how to teach environmental issues for grades K-12.  They do this with the following teaching model:  With this teaching model, the class is able to address multiple environmental issues every year and connect with Next Generation Science Standards as well as the Iowa Core.  This year's issue was focused on preserving and protecting our water resources. According to the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, "Although much of the discussion about climate change impacts has focused on increases in temperatures and the rise in sea level, changes that impact our nation's water resources could have the greatest impact on society" (2011).   According to the Department of Natural Resources, the major water quality problem in Iowa in nonpoint source pollution,...
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