2016 List of Topics

Predators and Prey - In Balance - Posted December 2016

Introduction to food chains and food webs and the relationships of each member. An ecosystem really is a balancing act where all the parts must be in the correct number and location. For decades, folks have lived on the land, but not with the land simply because we have not understood all the parts. Living with the land is much different and is really a shift in thinking. This is the conservation ethic that Aldo Leopold wrote about in “A Sand County Almanac.”

Plants and Animals Prep for Winter - Posted November 2016

We aren't the only ones getting ready for winter - so are the feathered and furred, the scaly, and the smooth and slimy. Animals are now in a rush to lay eggs, grow a new coat, build a new home, gather food, migrate, prepare for sleep, slumber, or to bid farewell and parish.

With a Bright Face - Posted October 2016

With open mind, let’s take a short venture to your nearest garden or wildlife area, camera or not, and take a peek at a few of Iowa’s Orb Weavers. Known for their colorful, intricately patterned abdomens, garden spiders are the common name for the genus Argiope, which means “with a bright face” in Latin.

"Ghosts" in Iowa Woodlands - Posted September 2016

Flower or fungus? After an hour of photographing and then digging out the “old reliables” of resource books, all of these observations pointed in the direction of the ‘ghost plant,’ also known as Indian pipe and fairy smoke.

Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial - Posted August 2016

This is not the typical column that this site normally chooses, but we would like to introduce to you how Iowa, the United States, and other countries have pulled together to adopt a uniform system of protection to assure the preservation of our avian species.

Iowa home for local birds with global importance - Posted July 2016

Bird Conservation Areas have been making a dramatic impact on Iowa wildlife. Along with protecting and providing nesting habitat for many of Iowa’s native species, these areas have a positive influence on non-consumptive wildlife recreation.

Extinction? Not just for dinosaurs! - Posted June 2016

Many native wildlife species have failed to thrive within the state due to the changing landscape. Some animals here when Iowa achieved statehood are now extinct (i.e. passenger pigeon) while others were extirpated (no longer found here, but are found elsewhere) from these parts by the early 1900s.

A Year for the Birds! - Posted May 2016

Many conservation pioneers throughout history have Iowa ties, each having a deep concern for our local and global species, lands, and waters. To continue celebrating birds, International Migratory Bird Day, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial, we introduce you to John F. Lacey, known as the Pioneer of federal conservation legislation.

Feathers... of course! - Posted April 2016

A brief introduction to the function of feathers, their defining plumage and annual molts. Also defines the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Treaty Act as a commitment by four countries (United States, Russia, Japan, and Mexico) to protect birds that are regularly found in each country.

Bugs and us - all the good they do! - Posted March 2016

Let’s set aside some of our past preconceptions of creepy crawlies and look at some of the benefits they assist us with. With approximately 80,000 species of insects, some harmful, some beneficial, approximately 80 percent of them are beneficial in some way.

Invitations may create long-standing relationships - Posted February 2016

Feeding birds at a bird feeder or providing landscape plantings that provide fruits, berries, and nuts are not only enjoyable, it’s a great family activity that can be enjoyed no matter the season!

Majesty! - Posted January 2016

An essay from Bailey Anderson, Central College, Nature and Environmental Literature class: "I couldn’t understand my father’s love for nature by stealing and contorting his love for deer. My admiration for nature had to come from myself, not from my father or day camp, or even from Marla Mertz. They all wanted to foster an appreciation for the majesty of nature, but it’s not something anyone can do for me. All it took was a pair of open eyes, and a few thousand pelicans."