Extension Publications

5 Ways to Help the Monarchs
The monarch butterfly population in North America has declined by 80% during the past 20 years. This publication includes five ways to help this iconic insect survive and thrive across Iowa and the Midwest.
Attracting Birds to Your Yard
Learn how to design a backyard oasis for birds by providing essential habitat elements including food, shelter, and water. This publication discusses key considerations for incorporating bird habitat needs into landscape designs by laying out plants that provide shelter or food in a way that mimics the natural habitats of birds. The publication also discusses bird feeding and how to safely attract more birds into view in the backyard by providing the right types of food throughout the year. This publication updates PM 1351D.
Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer
Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is a neurological disease infecting wild white-tailed deer in Iowa and throughout North America. This article reviews the most relevant and up-to-date scientific information about the disease and provides recommendations for addressing this emerging challenge in Iowa. Learn more about CWD from this video:
Enhancing Monarch Butterfly Conservation in Iowa
While the monarch butterfly is perhaps the most recognizable and iconic insect in North America, their population has declined 80% over the past two decades. This publication discusses a project undertaken by extension and research staff at Iowa State University to demonstrate conservation practices for incorporating monarch breeding habitat across the state of Iowa.
Establishing and Managing Pollinator Habitat on Saturated Riparian Buffers
Conservation practices for water quality and pollinator habitat can be complementary - using some of the same land and resources can multiply ecological benefits for water and wildlife. This publication discusses the ways saturated riparian buffers can be used for planting pollinator habitat. It provides information on site selection, preparation and establishment, management and seed mixes.
Gardening for Butterflies and Pollinators
A butterfly garden can be created as simply as planting a bunch of butterfly-favorite plants in a sunny corner of your yard. Learn about effective butterfly garden characteristics and which host and nectar plants are best for different butterflies.
Iowa Bats
Bats are an important part of Iowa's ecosystem. This infographic provides a look at the different bat species that can be found in Iowa, along with information on their diet, habitat and threats to their survival. Management practices that can preserve bat habitat are also discussed.
Iowa's Forest Birds
Iowa’s forests play host to a spectacular diversity of birds throughout the year. This article explores this diversity, describing how birds feed, nest, and move within and among many different types of forests found in Iowa. The management of forest habitats for birds is explored with recommendations for making the most of any forest parcel for birds and the people that enjoy them.
Mammals of Iowa Field Guide
Iowa has a rich diversity of mammals, ranging in form and function from the one third-of-an-ounce western harvest mouse which summits blades of grass to eat seeds in Iowa’s prairies to the over 1,000 pound bison whose diet shapes the community of grasses on which it grazes. Our fellow mammals enrich the lives of Iowans from city lots to rural farmsteads. Few sights rival that of a flight of bats at dusk on a warm summer evening, the passing flash of a gray fox in the headlights on a night drive, or the beauty of a herd of snow-covered white-tailed deer on a winter day.
Monarch Seed Mix High Diversity
This publication contains a high diversity seed mix developed by the Iowa State University Monarch Research Team for research purposes. All species are perennials native to Iowa.
Windbreaks for Wildlife
Windbreaks provide many benefits to farms such as reducing energy consumption, controlling odor, protecting buildings and livestock from the elements and improving aesthetics. This publication discusses the importance of windbreaks, their design and the best species of trees or shrubs to plant.
Woodworking for Wildlife - Aldo Leopold Bench
This publication provides a simple guide to creating the famous Aldo Leopold bench, which is perfect for observing and studying wildlife. The bench is named for Aldo Leopold, an internationally recognized figure in wildlife conservation and pioneering author and philosopher on environmental ethics and land stewardship. This guide provides materials needed in making the Aldo Leopold bench, as well as step-by-step instructions for construction.
Woodworking for Wildlife - Bat Box
This publication provides a simple guide to creating a backyard box for bats to live in during the spring, summer and fall. The guide provides materials needed in making the bat box, as well as step-by-step instructions for construction.
Woodworking for Wildlife - Blue Bird Box
This publication provides a simple guide to creating a backyard box blue birds to call home. The guide provides materials needed in making the blue bird box, as well as step-by-step instructions for construction.
Woodworking for Wildlife - Wood Duck Box
This publication provides a simple guide to creating a home for wood ducks, emulating their natural nesting locations. The guide provides materials needed in making the wood duck box, as well as step-by-step instructions for construction.