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The Prairie--Looking a Little Closer

Objective

Students will visit a native prairie and conduct research experiments that use standard ecological measurement techniques and biological principles to assess and compare different habitats.


Activities

Particles and Prairies
Curriculum-related materials including a teacher guide, videodisc with 37 segments, and 10 slide collections covering four aspects of the prairie: history, restoration, ecology, and use as a research site.
Purchase information from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Simply Prairie Project
A multidisciplinary, inquiry-based project is based on a research problem related to prairie grasses and forbs.

A Quadrat Study
Background information and instructions on how to collect data on prairie plant population

Wildlife Habitation Evaluation Program
Compete as teams by writing two management plans. Based on their evaluation of two particular sites with marked boundaries and landowner preferences given to them in the form of a scenario, teams write management plans to enhance the site for designated wildlife species. They also draw maps to illustrate the implementation of their recommended management practices. This activity encourages leadership skills, team cooperation, writing skills and creativity.


Field Trips In Iowa

Iowa - Places We Protect
Includes a list of prairie preserves In Iowa with directions, species list, and maps

Northern Loess Hills
Sioux City Prairie, Mt. Talbot State Preserve, Broken Kettle Preserve and Headquarters, Five Ridge Prairie Preserve.

Northwest Iowa
Freda Hafner A large glacial kettlehole dominates this 120 acre landscape of wet to dry prairie.

Northwest Iowa
Cayler Preserve is 160 acres of dry upland to wet swale prairie. This river valley area features more than 300 species of vascular plants, including the endangered Lespedeza leptostachya.

Northwest Iowa
Stinson Prairie is a small but diverse prairie on the southern end of the Algona Moraine.

Southwest Iowa
Council Bluffs Loess Hills prairies, Dinesen and Sheeder Prairie Preserves, Bundt Prairie, Kalsow Prairie Preserve Kalsow prairie, a mesic to wet prairie, with mima mounds and numerous potholes.

Northeast Iowa
Hayden one of the largest remaining black soil prairies in Iowa, 240 acres. The preserve is named for Ada Hayden, a noted Iowa prairie biologist Crossman Prairie Preserves

Northeast Iowa
Cedar Hills Sand Prairie in Blackhawk Co. and Wolters Prairie in Butler County

South Central Iowa
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and Prairie Learning Center, Prairie City, Iowa. This is a remarkable 6,000-acre reconstruction project, including re-introduced bison and elk. An extensive learning center offers videos, hands-on displays and a wealth of information about prairie ecosystems.


Resources

Tallgrass Prairie Restoration Handbook

Native Prairie Management Guide
Ray Hamilton of Maquoketa, Iowa, describes basic prairie management techniques including fire, grazing, mowing/haying, burrowing, woody vegetation, alien weeks, biological control agents, herbicides, and how to introduce native species.

 

 
   
  For Teachers:
Teacher's Overview Quick Facts Scavenger Hunt
A Prairie Problem Build A Prairie History Detective
Mystery Photo Who Was Albert Lea?
Albert's Great Adventure National Standards
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