July 20, 2007 – Neil Smith Wildlife Refuge

Today we took our out-of-state guests to the Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge and Prairie Learning Center near Prairie City, Iowa.

There is a beautiful interpretive center nestled into a prairie hillside.  The site was at one time destined to be the site of a nuclear power plant, but those plans fell through, and it became the largest reconstructed prairie in North America. It is a grand experiment to try to turn corn and beans back into native vegetation to give those around here a small taste of what it might have been like when the first pioneers came this-away.

Blazing Star – commonly naturalized for home and butterfly gardens – liatris.

Cup plant – Saves water by the design of the stem and leaf – you’ll see this one is holding water just below the flower.

one year ago…