Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is the leading nonprofit in conserving, protecting and restoring Iowa's natural resources. #iowa #conservation
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“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
Hepatica is a sure sign of spring all across Iowa (these were spotted in Linn County). Their flowers can range from violet to pink and white shades. They are usually grouped together and open wide on sunny days. Their fuzzy stems emerge from forest floors and help protect them.
Last week was a busy and productive one for our stewardship team. They burned over 100 acres of land all across Iowa. On just one day last week, staff, land ambassadors, land owners and volunteers collaborated on 8 different burn units in Northeast, Central and Southern Iowa. Burns continued throughout the week.
“We are continuing to practice good distancing and space between everyone who comes out on these burns, and we are very thankful for their extra help to make these burns happen,” said volunteer coordinator Melanie Schmidt.
We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our stewardship team who has and continues to make the most of this season and help encourage healthy land development.
INHF Public Policy Director Anna Gray has been talking with our senators and representatives this week about the importance of conservation as part of the Land Trust Alliance virtual advocacy days. While we weren't able to meet in person, we were grateful to be able to talk about the value of protected land, especially when people are seeking respite and restoration in the outdoors now more than ever. Thank you to @senatorchuckgrassley, @senjoniernst and @repabbyfinkenauer for taking time to talk. Our other representatives were understandably busy this week, but we appreciate the work of all our elected officials for their work in responding to the current crisis. We are proud to champion #Land4All with our fellow land trusts across the country!
“In the last few weeks, the time we've been outdoors has been some of the only time that has felt normal to our family. We're fortunate to be able to work from home, and I love having more time with the my family. But it's different. Our house has turned into a school, an office and a kitchen constantly under assault by hungry kids. When we're inside, we are teachers, students, employees, supervisors and short-order cooks. When we're outside, we're just a family, enjoying watching for signs of spring. We have always spent a lot of time in nature, but now, more than ever, it feels like a refuge. When we need a break from...everything, we get outdoors.” This sentiment comes from INHF communications director, Joe JayJack. It is important to know that while we are all learning to adjust to new changes, our natural world remains consistent.
We know life looks different right now for a lot of families. A park, your backyard or a green space down the road can be a great escape from time stuck at home and important for the health and balance of parents and kids.
For the times when staying home is necessary, we still want to provide a way for kids to connect with nature. We will be releasing activities for kids on our website each week that are Iowa land, water and wildlife related. These activities can be found through the link in our bio!
An Eastern bluebird keeps an eye out for worms, bugs and berries from its perch near Lake Panorama in Guthrie County.
Eastern bluebirds like to live in grasslands and open woods. They can found in large open areas with little ground that makes it easy for them to find food.
Eastern bluebirds eat insects, which they catch on the ground or sometimes in midair. You will often see them fly low to the ground to catch their meals. They typically feed on include caterpillars, crickets and grasshoppers. They also enjoy fruit in the fall and winter.
Bluebirds will usually find existing cavities to nest in such as dead trees and woodpecker holes that are high above the ground. Males find the best site and attract a female to build the nest.
These birds are a sign of spring and their bright color makes them easy to spot in the woods so keep an eye out!
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone
This recommendation comes from our Eastern Iowa Program Manager, Carole Teator. “I had originally discovered this book while looking for resources to help me deal with the anxiety I feel when I think about how climate change will affect the places and people I care about, especially those not yet born who will inherit the effects of the decisions we make today. I needed help so that I might become more present to the beauty and wonder around me while also figuring out what I can do to more effectively work to protect that beauty and wonder for others to enjoy. And now, in this even more immediate world crisis of COVID-19, I have turned again to this book. Its central premise is that each of us can choose creativity and action as a path toward mental and emotional resilience. If we do so collectively, we might also achieve a life-sustaining society. The writing is very accessible and buoys the reader who is able to open their heart to hope and to commit to action.” #inhfbookclub #currentlyreading #bookstagram #bookrecommendation
As the seasons change, Iowa’s landscapes begin to look different every day. Spring ephemerals emerge in from the ground in the early spring. Most spring ephemerals in Iowa are found in woodlands and use the early spring to complete their life cycle before they have to compete with other plants and tree foliage.
Trillium nivale or snow trillium (pictured) is one of the earliest blooming spring ephemerals in Iowa and sometimes even grows up throughout the late snow (hence its name). They are part of the Liliaceae (lily) family. They can be found in in wooded areas and stand only a few inches tall. As they begin to fade in late spring, their petals turn from bright white to a shade of light pink.
Spring Ephemerals are only around for a short time, so keep an eye out to spot them on the forest floor this spring.
What are some of your favorite spring ephemerals?
#spring #springephemeral #springflowers #iowa #iowaflowers
Photos by Ron Hulse
Staff at INHF feel lucky to be able to continue much of our work across Iowa during this time. Our entire staff is working remotely and taking precautions to make sure our work is done in a safe and efficient manner. Along with our staff, INHF land ambassadors are still working hard across the state to continue to steward the land. Their hard work, especially now is vital in maintaining and caring for our properties. INHF land ambassadors, Jacie and Chelsea, went out today to to remove invasive honeysuckle at Snyder Heritage Farm. We are always so grateful for the extra help and dedication of our volunteers.
If you are getting outdoors this weekend, as we would encourage you to do, make sure you are looking out for your community. The CDC recommends staying 6 feet away from others. Use these comparisons for reference of how far you should be from anyone who isn’t living in your direct household. Try to stick to less crowded areas and go out at low traffic times of day. We can all work together to enjoy our nature and keep each other healthy.
The Hiking Society link is in our bio for updates to these guidelines.
JOIN OUR TEAM!
We are now taking applications for a summer graphic design intern. Because of the current situation, it is possible this will be a remote work position, so we are encouraging students from anywhere to apply as long as they attend an Iowa school or are originally from Iowa.
INHF design interns gain real-world experience designing professional-quality publications. The design intern works across departments to create print and digital collateral, display and marketing materials, and complete special projects. Design interns gain experience working within an established brand and representing that brand to in-person and digital audiences.
Applications for summer 2020 graphic design internships are due April 20. Candidates interested in applying for summer and/or fall 2020 internships should contact Joe Jayjack at [email protected]
Or visit the link in our bio for more information!
Right now, more than ever, we can rely on nature for relief, joy and hope. While times are uncertain, grounding yourself outdoors can be beneficial to mental and physical health. A little time spent outdoors each day can be a reminder of the resilience of nature. As the seasons change, signs of spring are all around. Take time to notice them.
As we share this encouragement to continue to #getoutdoors, we also want to encourage you to keep yourself and other safe. If you are in public outdoor spaces, make sure you are staying at least 6 feet apart from other people, covering your coughs and sneezes and staying home if you're sick. Even if staying home is safest to your or others health, opening a window to feel a breeze or listen to the birds might be just what you need.
It is important that we are caring for the Earth and each other, so stay up to date on proper precautions. For more information on best practices visit the American Hiking Society website, link in our bio.
“Gift to Iowa’s Future Day is a special moment for all of us,” said INHF President Joe McGovern. “It’s important that we take the time to recognize and celebrate the generosity of these donors. It’s truly an honor to work with landowners that provide wild places for our current and future generations." Today individuals, businesses and organizations associated with more than 30 donations were scheduled to be recognized at Gift to Iowa Future Day, an annual event honoring those who made gifts of land, land value or conservation easements in the previous year.
More than 3,800 acres of land in 24 counties with an estimated value of $4.8 million was permanently protected through donations of land or land value by Iowa landowners in 2019.
To learn more about these amazing donors check out our story or link in bio to our blog!
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