AMES, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a free virtual wetland field day on Thursday, May 28th at 1pm CDT. From fens to oxbows to prairie potholes, each wetland has a role to play. Within a row crop system, these areas offer an opportunity to improve water quality and field profitability when allowed to function as wetlands rather than cropped areas. The wetland plants also provide a great habitat for a variety of pollinators.
May is American Wetlands Month and to celebrate, the event will take you on a tour of the diversity of wetlands found in Iowa. The event will include video footage from a variety of wetlands in North Central Iowa and live interaction with Kay Stefanik, Iowa Nutrient Research Center Assistant Director and Adam Janke, Iowa State University Assistant Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist. Together they will discuss how these sites were formed, identify features that make each wetland unique - including the wildlife and plants, and answer questions from attendees on how farmers and landowners can work with and around the wetlands.
“Most people are familiar with created wetlands used to treat agricultural runoff but may not know that natural wetlands benefit us too”, says Stefanik, a wetland and aquatic ecologist who has studied plants and nutrient cycling in freshwater ecosystems. “Natural wetlands improve water quality, help to retain floodwaters and potentially minimize downstream flooding, as well as provide critical habitat for plants and animals.”
“Because of the diverse geologic history of Iowa’s landscapes, we have a large variety of interesting and unique wetland types found throughout the state” says Janke, whose research has focused on understanding how birds use different types of wetlands. “The area in north-central Iowa we are featuring during this virtual field day is really remarkable for the diversity of wetland types it has within a small geographic area.”
Make plans to join us and participate in the live field day. Shortly before 1:00 pm CDT on May 28th, click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/s/315189792
Or, join from a dial-in phone line:
Dial: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923
Meeting ID: 315 189 792
The field day will be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. The archive is available at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/events.
A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit (CEU) has been applied for, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live field day.
Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms include the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319) and GROWMARK, Inc.
Liz (Juchems) Ripley
Conservation Outreach Specialist