Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Prairie and Wildflower Field Trip - Saturday, May 14th!

The first of our two May field trips is coming up very quickly, THIS Saturday morning, May 14th! It is the month for new green and beautiful growth, and we have been noticing all the wildflowers on our housing site as well as in the woods of Benton Hill Park, just north of our land.

We'd like to protect and encourage these flowers! Here are some shots of them taken this morning:
 Jack in the Pulpit

 lush and colorful ground cover

Solomon's Seal

We are also planning to devote some of the area on top of our land to a prairie planting, which will include a wide variety of native plants. With all this in mind, our theme for this Saturday's field trip is Wildflowers and Prairies.

First Site: Rochester Cemetery
This is a must-see if you have any interest in wildflowers or prairie. It is quite famous, drawing people from all over. You can look it up on the web if you want to read more, but here's a line from one of the sites:  "A rare and precious patch of native Iowa prairie, one of the last and most spectacular living remnants of the vast, variegated prairie that once carpeted the state, of which now less than one-tenth of 1 percent remains."

(Above) Close-up and further view at Rochester Cemetery

Second Site: Cold Spring Pond and Prairie
Cold Spring Pond is the Fawcett family gathering spot. Ken Fawcett and friends have been maintaining a plot of prairie there for many years. It was burned just five weeks ago, and the plants are springing back with vigor. Ken is a progressive farmer who has also planted wide pollinator strips through the fields near the pond and prairie, as well as planting thousands of trees as riparian zones along the waterways. It is a beautiful place, and after walking around the site, we will eat lunch there (so bring your own bag lunch).

Third Site: Herbert Hoover Park Prairie
This park, in the middle of West Branch, has over 70 acres of prairie. There are well-maintained trails through it, good for stretching our legs before going back home. At this point, we are only about 10 minutes from Iowa City.

If you have an interest in going on this field trip, please send an email to Nan Fawcett at nanjfawcett@gmail.com. We will carpool from the old Dodge Street Hy-Vee parking lot at 9:30 am, and will probably return by around 2:00. 

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