Dr. Adam Janke
This fall, over 100,000 Iowans will take refuge in the fields and forests of our state to participate in an annual ritual: deer season.
Over 80% of Iowa’s landscape was once tallgrass prairie – an ecosystem comprising over 300 species of flowering plants maintained through regular fires and grazing by herds of elk and bison.
In keeping with a theme from my last blog titled “What the heck is habitat”, this month I explore another critical question within the language of conservation. What’s a wetland?
Wild turkey. Ring-necked pheasant. Trumpeter swan. Turkey vulture. Northern bobwhite. These are the remarkable birds of Iowa’s rural landscapes. They’re large, conspicuous, and broadly recognized.
As I write this, in the waning days of February, many of the wildlife that grace Iowa’s cities and farms during the spring and summer, are far away.
I have seen a wide gamut of responses to the question posed in the title of this post. While preparing for my Ph.D. candidacy exams, I was asked a version of this question as it related to ducks and agonized over the response for months (you’ll see elements of my answer below).
Taking Iowa State University resources and personalizing them for a specific area of the state can be a challenge. Researchers in Ames have knowledge and experience dealing with big-picture issues, while local conservationists are plugged into opportunities and challenges in their home area.
For many of us, conservation is our way of life. Finding ways to connect with and improve the land, the soil, the water, and wildlife consumes our thoughts and free time.
Liberty is at the heart of the American experiment: that fundamental concept that says the will of the majority should not supersede the rights of individuals. Emerging from this pillar however is a fundamental question: to what extent can one actor infringe on the rights of another?
White-tailed deer are as synonymous with the ‘acreage living’ experience as fences and ragweed. We find them everywhere in Iowa, thriving in urban forests and remote sections of cropland with little more than a ditch for cover.
In February of 2018, wildlife biologists and veterinarians investigated the suspicious death of 32 trumpeter swans in a Clinton County wetland.
The 57 species of wild mammals routinely found in Iowa is the focus of a new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication titled “Mammals of Iowa” (WL 0006).
Perhaps the greatest reward for living in a place with four well-defined seasons is the marked return of spring. It’s now that the long, motionless days of winter are, seemingly overnight, replaced with the sights and sounds of species whose likeness we haven’t seen for months.
Despite what can feel like Arctic weather sweeping into Iowa during the winter, the state still finds itself a long way from the Arctic tundra. So it would be surprising to find Arctic tundra wildlife soaring over Iowa’s picked corn fields or perching on the state’s telephone poles.
One my favorite quotes from Iowa native and conservation icon Aldo Leopold goes like this: “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” I think about that quote often this time of year because every fall, after the grand finale of summer
It’s easy to forget they’re mammals just like us. They give live birth, they nurse their young, they feed and sleep and do otherwise mundane things to stay alive and stay healthy.
Conservation is ensuring the greatest good for the greatest number of people. This idea is credited to American forester Gifford Pinchot, but many have arrived at the same conclusion.
The title to this article is the answer to a question I get often.
Most wildlife biologists and hunters, like me, admittedly have less of a mainstream attitude toward weeds. Those of us who spend fall mornings behind bird dogs or summer days glassing butterflies look upon field edges and odd areas in a different light...
We can learn about our land in a variety of ways. Local history books report on the native cultures that hunted, gathered, farmed and traded there. General Land Office surveys from the 19th century record the locations of natural features and early settlements.
Spring is just around the corner and that means it’s time to get the planter ready and to start watching the fields for the right conditions to return after a long winter. But for many Iowa landowners, spring time means more than just planting season, it’s prescribed fire season....
As USDA’s flagship voluntary conservation program, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides incentives to producers who utilize conservation practices on environmentally- sensitive lands.
We had just turned the corner around a nice oak woodlot outside my hometown in northern Indiana, home on a visit for Christmas, when I saw a familiar sight; the prints of a covey of northern bobwhites in the snow.
Brightly-colored leafs, harvest and the busy labors of squirrels burying nuts for the long winter ahead are iconic images of fall in Iowa.
For those living in rural Iowa, the sight of a brood of young gamebirds, like Hungarian partridge, bobwhite quail or ring-necked pheasant, is probably a common and welcome sight on morning drives down dusty roads.