Take a day to visit prairies in the northern Loess Hills Aug. 16. The tours are hosted by Iowa Prairie Network, with DNR, Woodbury County Conservation and Iowa Native Plant Society co-sponsoring the first field trip.
The first field trip, “Insects and Wildflowers of the Prairie,” will start north of Sioux City. Open to the public, the tour kicks off at 10 a.m. from Spirit Knoll, three miles north of Stone State Park’s west entrance on state Highway 12. Join insect enthusiast M. J. Hatfield who will be sweeping for insects, doing some show and tell, and educating about insects. Bill and Dianne Blankenship, and Kevin Pape, DNR park ranger, plus many others will help with prairie plant identifications.
Spirit Knoll will be dedicated as a state preserve Oct. 11 with programs and field trips that day, also.
Iowa Prairie Network is providing additional field trips in the afternoon. Bring a brown bag lunch to eat at Calumet Shelter at Stone State Park. A visit to Mount Talbot State Preserve in the park will follow a brief annual meeting. Then those who are interested can make a short trip north to Broken Kettle Grasslands to visit The Nature Conservancy's Stevenson Preserve.
There will be a dinner at Bill and Dotty Zales' home in the rural Loess Hills of Plymouth County, a few miles from Broken Kettle, followed by a campfire and camping (if desired).
Please RSVP by Aug. 13 for dinner (and indicate if you prefer vegetarian lasagna) to Dotty Zales at 712-540-0952 or email@example.com, or to Dianne Blankenship at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, indicate if you plan to camp.
More information and maps can be found at Spirit Knoll at www.inhf.org/siouxland-nature-addition.cfm, Stone State Park map (see Calumet Shelter, Mt. Talbot State Preserve) at
www.iowadnr.gov/portals/idnr/uploads/parks/parkmaps/stonemap.pdf, Stone State Park and Mount Talbot State Preserve at www.iowadnr.gov/Destinations/StateParksRecAreas/IowasStateParks/ParkDetails.aspx?ParkID=610117, and Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve at www.nature.org/media/iowa/ia_bkg_fs.pdf.