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People and Biological Diversity

Microscopic life
Vascular plants
Aquatic inverts.
Aquatic snails
Land snails
People and Biological Diversity

Iowa ranks near the bottom of the States in the U.S. in terms of percentage of publically accessible state or federal lands.  However, we do have a large number of small parks and preserves with different degrees of ease of access.  Our 99 counties each have some public lands--all together, we have several hundred small pieces of property that are open to the public.  Whether getting out to fish, hike, camp, or bird watch, the areas are available.  It is hard to find a wild area with great spans of wildness in Iowa, but there are a number of small wild areas that are really easy to reach.

There are a number of events dealing with biological diversity, but you don't really need an event to interact with nature.  Just get out and do it.  To me, nothing beats the solitude of crawling around on the forest floor and photographing wildflowers in the spring, or chasing bugs in the prairie in the summer.  Subtle or spectacular colors can be found amongst the vegetation in the autumn, and bryophytes can be spectacular in the winter.

But if you prefer to socialize while enjoying nature, we have a number of events that you might like.  Reiman Gardens in Ames has an annual Day of Insects, bringing a hundred or more insect enthusiasts together for a day packed full of fun.  The gardens also have a number of other nature-inspired events every year.

Iowa Prairie Network is a statewide organization that is also divided into smaller regional groups.  They host a few meetings and a number of field trips, both on the regional and the state level.  One of my favorite events has been the Martha Skillman Birthday Prairie Walk and Pie Tasting, usually hosted by one of the regional groups of the Iowa Prairie Network.

The Iowa Native Plant Society hosts a number of  field trips, usually to some pretty nice nature preserves or normally inaccessible private areas.

The Iowa Ornithologists Union sponsor meetings and events.  Many of the smaller bird clubs listed on the web site have field trips or bird walks. 

The Prairie States Mushroom Club hosts a number of field trips (forays) to look for mushrooms.

The Loess Hills Prairie Seminar is an annual weekend event hosted by the Northwest Area Education Association.  It is basically a camping event with a number of wonderful field trips hosted by local experts. This is held in the Sy Runkle State Preserve, in Iowa's Loess Hills.  Watch for it--it is well worth attending.

Iowa has a number of County Conservation Offices.  Most have events throughout the year--field trips, maple sugar tapping events, bird walks, etc.  Keep an eye out for local events--sometimes they are the most fun.