Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Speaking for the prairie

Tommy Hexter ‘21 and Jacy Highbarger ‘22 wrote this post. The authors are co-founders of Grinnell College’s chapter of Herbicide-Free Campus; Poweshiek Soil and Water Commissioner (former), and student members of Too Much Grass student-initiative at Grinnell College.

In the spring of 2021, a group of excited Grinnell College students, along with faculty and staff, acted on a student initiative called “Too Much Grass” and came together to create a 5,200 square foot prairie in the most prominent location on campus, Mac Field.

In collaboration with the College Center for Prairie Studies and the recently-founded Herbicide-Free Grinnell, chapter of the larger organization Herbicide-Free Campus, Too Much Grass aims to remove unnecessary lawn areas on campus and plant prairie seeds in their place. The hope is to create a place where future Grinnellians for generations to come will loaf through the planting and ponder the meaning of these deep perennial roots in Iowa soil.

In just three months, this project has already sparked interest in another planting on campus scheduled for September.  

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Finding a path for people and wildlife in the Loess Hills

Patrick Swanson takes over this week’s edition of Iowa wildflower Wednesday. -promoted by Laura Belin

Earlier this month marked the first of what I hope to be a more common event in western Iowa: an organized multi-day hike through the Loess Hills. 

Conceived and orchestrated by Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) and other partners, the Lo(ess) Hi(lls) Trek, as it was called, gave about 30 folks the opportunity to walk a route through and between conservation lands in Monona County. Golden Hills RC&D recently posted an excellent day-by-day synopsis of the LoHi Trek, so I won’t recap the details here.

As a participant, I would like to offer some of my reflections on this journey.  

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One Man and a Chainsaw: A Journey in Faith and Prairie Restoration

Patrick Swanson has been restoring a prairie remnant in the Loess Hills of western Iowa. This post is a synopsis of the book he recently published about that experience, with pictures of one hillside on his Harrison County land throughout the seasons. – promoted by Laura Belin

Readers of Bleeding Heartland have seen many fine articles and commentary on environmental issues and, most particularly wildflowers, published on this site over the years. One might wonder where passion for nature, natural areas, and their denizens comes from.

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Events coming up during the next two weeks

Last month was so busy that I didn’t manage to post any event calendars here, but I am back on duty now. The highlight of this month for Democrats is the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday, November 21, featuring Vice President Joe Biden. You can buy tickets online.

Please note that November 10 is the deadline for public comments to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources about protecting our Outstanding Iowa Waters. The Farm Bureau is mobilizing public comments against these regulations. The DNR needs to hear from Iowans committed to preserving our highest-quality waterways. Click here for background and an easy to use comment form.

State Senator Staci Appel will officially announce her re-election campaign on November 12, and I’ve posted details about a fundraiser for her campaign below the fold. Appel’s Republican opponent, State Representative Kent Sorenson, is already gearing up for next year’s election. He spent the weekend in Texas attending the WallBuilders ProFamily Legislators Conference. Here’s some background on David Barton’s vision for America, chock full of Biblical interpretations supporting right-wing public policies. Barton spoke to the Iowa Christian Alliance not long ago (click that link to watch videos). Former presidential candidate Ron Paul is headlining a fundraiser for Sorenson on November 14, by the way.

Many more event details are after the jump. As always, please post a comment about anything I’ve left out, or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com).

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Events coming up this week

I heard there was a fantastic turnout over the weekend at Capital City Pridefest. If you were there, share your stories and impressions in this thread. We didn’t get downtown–instead, we hit the Blank Park Zoo on Saturday (loved the “Birdman” visiting show). We enjoyed “Sample Sunday” at three of my favorite farms the next day. As a bonus, I helped a turtle cross a country road–I was afraid it would get hit by a car if we left it to creep along.

After the jump I’ve posted details about a bunch of events coming up this week, including LGBT Pride events in Omaha, Iowa City and Davenport this weekend.

I want to highlight the fundraiser for Whiterock Conservancy in Coon Rapids on June 18. It’s a great cause, and whether or not you can come on Thursday, I highly recommend scheduling a visit if you’ve never seen the conservancy.

Democratic politicians and candidates, please let me know about any noteworthy events (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com), so I can include them on my weekly calendars. For instance, State Representative Elesha Gayman is having a fundraiser in Des Moines on June 16.

I learned recently that Bruce Stone is hosting a new liberal talk radio show in Des Moines; it airs weekdays from 6 to 7 pm on Macsworldlive.com. Here’s the link for tuning in live, and here is the link for the archive of programs.  

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