Healing Wild Land
What We Do Now
Good land stewardship and land conservation are key parts of the Iowa Wildlife Center mission. They are also key parts of protecting wildlife and keeping individuals and populations healthy by providing ample food, water, shelter and places to raise their young.
The land IWC purchased for the future clinic and education center, with ample room left over for wildlife, is now called WildWay. During this land's long history, generations of wildlife and humans alike have seen many changes come to WildWay. And yet it has retained a few major characteristics throughout this time. While most of the land is flat and open grassland, huge old white, red and bur oaks stand scattered in the upland and along the ravines. North-facing slopes that lead down to a stream are held by maple and basswood trees while the south-facing slopes that lead down to another stream are held by oak and hickory trees. Photo above: © Marlene Ehresman/IWC
Every landowner has their own unique vision for their property and IWC's vision for restoring much of the land to a healthy ecosystem of prairie, savanna, wetland and woodland has already begun. IWC believes a healthy landscape and healthy wildlife go hand-in-hand (or paw-in-paw); stewardship activities began in early Spring 2009 with the Conservation Corps Iowa crew's savanna restoration work.
In late Spring, IWC hired Brad Meyers part-time as its land steward in partnership with INHF. Working only a day or two each week on top of his full-time job with the Fareway Store in Boone, Meyers has made a great difference on WildWay already. Meyers often had help during the summer as IWC's first program intern, Iowa State University senior Sarah Hart, learned how and where to pile cut trees and how to remove barbed-wire fence.
Community volunteers and college classes will get hands-on stewardship experience as they learn about what the renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold called the "land ethic."
Brad Meyer examines an eroding slope on
IWC's property. © Sarah Hart/IWC
What We Will Do
Healing wild land takes time, knowledge, skill and equipment. Through the coming months and years, IWC staff, interns and volunteers will continue to restore the oak savanna. We will repair the wetland this spring and expand it in the future. The grassland will be restored to tall-grass prairie a few acres each year. This spring we'll conduct a prescribed burn on part of the grassland and the wetland. We will reach out to those who understand how to work with the water that continues to erode WildWay's ravines and implement a plan to slow the process.
We'll work. We'll watch. We'll celebrate each success. Want to work, watch or celebrate? Go to our volunteer page and tell us. We'll keep you posted on workdays and events. Or, you can just check our website often.