Module 3 - Putting it together in the watershed

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The third module builds on the lessons and understanding of Iowa's ecosystems and geology earned in the first two modules to find opportunities for conservation in Iowa's modern landscapes. We'll discuss the major challenges presented by Iowa's highly modified landscape and discuss opportunity areas for conservation in agricultural, urban, and natural areas in the state.

At the end of this session, participants should:

  1. Understand the key conservation challenges in agricultural, urban, and natural areas in Iowa.
  2. Be familiar with conservation practices that can be employed to address conservation challenges throughout the state.
  3. Recognize key conservation programs and policies that provide public funding for actions on private lands and how some actions are strategically implemented to provide the greatest public benefit.

Before coming to the in-person session, complete the following elements.

  1. Watch the recorded lecture (60 minutes; download PDF of slides here) by Dr. Adam Janke and Ann Staudt to learn about conservation, challenges, practices, and programs in Iowa's natural areas, agricultural areas, and urban areas.
  2. Explore the resources below to learn more about practices and programs in your area or in ecosystems you're interested in.

Supplemental resources

References supporting materials covered in this module. Explore as you have time and interest!

Episodes of Iowa Land and Sky program
The Iowa Land and Sky program from Iowa Public Broadcasting has a wonderful library of short, educational videos about Iowa's landscapes and ecology. Here's a list of episodes that add to the focus of this module.

Resources from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Conservation Programs and Resources in Iowa

Learn from some of Iowa's Conservation Champions

  • Seth Watkins farms in Taylor County. Learn more about his approach to land stewardship and agriculture in this video (7 minutes).
  • Tim Smith farms near Eagle Grove. Learn more about his approach to farming and conservation in this video from the Walton Family Foundation (2 minutes).
  • Wendy Johnson farms outside Charles City. Learn more about her farm and approach to conservation in this video from the Walton Family Foundation (2 minutes).

Examples of Strategic Conservation Strategies in Iowa


  • Bringing Nature Home: How you can sustain wildlife with native plants, (2009) by Douglas W. Tallamy and Rick Darke
  • The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook: For Prairies, Savannas, and Woodlands, (2005) Edited by Stephen Packard and Cornelia F. Mutel


Do you have ideas for how we can improve this online module? Did we miss a resource that you think should be included? Were elements too long or too short? Too technical or not technical enough? Please help us improve the Master Conservationist Program by providing feedback on this short online form?