Story County Conservation board meeting

The Story County Conservation Board invites the public to attend a special board meeting on Monday, Sept. 17, at 5:30 p.m. at McFarland Park, 56461 180th St., Ames.

Meeting agendas will be available on the Friday prior to board meetings.

Prairie Seed Harvests Planned at Doolittle Prairie

Story County Conservation’s Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM) program invites prairie enthusiasts to assist in gathering prairie seed at one of Story County’s hidden gems.

Three public seed harvests will take place at Doolittle Prairie. Participants will meet at the prairie entrance (14249 560th Ave.) south of Story City. The dates and times are as follows:

Happy Hour Harvest, Sept. 22, 3–5 p.m.

Why can’t work also be fun? After collecting seed, we’ll gather at Alluvial Brewing Company to relax, mingle and enjoy discounted pints. Must be 21.

Regular Seed Harvest, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, both 4:30–6:30 p.m.

These family-friendly seed harvests are a great opportunity to learn more about the prairie.

No experience is necessary; IRVM staff will show you where, how and what species of seeds to collect. Sturdy shoes, socks, long pants, insect repellent, hat, gloves and a water bottle are recommended.

The seed harvests are weather-dependent; please register so we can ensure enough supplies and refreshments. Registration is available at or by calling our office at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday).

River Clean Up

Join Story County Conservation and the Outdoor Alliance of Story County for a TEAM (Trail Enhancement and Management) Day on Saturday, Sept. 29, beginning at 11 a.m. Volunteers will be gathering debris as we float down the South Skunk River. If you like to work outdoors, don’t mind hard work and want hands-on experience – we’d like to see you on the river!

We’ll meet at Sleepy Hollow River Access (646 W. Riverside Road, Ames) and caravan to Peterson Access. The trip back to Sleepy Hollow should take three hours. Canoes, life jackets and light snacks will be provided. Please bring a lunch if desired and a full water bottle.

Children must be 10 years of age or older to participate in this river cleanup. Prior canoe experience is preferred but not required. This event may be rescheduled, changed or cancelled based on weather and river conditions.

Registration is required by 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27 to ensure enough tools and refreshments for everyone. Registration is available at or by calling our office at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday).

O.W.L.S. Program: Story County Conservation’s Projects

Story County Conservation invites the public to the monthly O.W.L.S. (Older, Wiser, Livelier Seniors) program on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 11 a.m. at the Story County Conservation Center at McFarland Park (56461 180th St.) northeast of Ames.

Hear from Story County Conservation’s Park Superintendent Ryan Wiemold on the various ongoing and upcoming projects on Story County Conservation properties including: Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor, the Hickory Grove Lake Restoration, land acquisitions and trail updates.

An optional luncheon follows the program for just $7.50. Registration for lunch with payment is required by 4:00 p.m., Friday, September 28. The planned lunch menu is pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans and apple crisp.

Registration for lunch is available at or by calling our office at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday).

Controlled goose hunt at Hickory Grove Park

Story County Conservation is offering a controlled goose hunt to reduce the numbers and amount of time that geese use the lake as a fall and winter refuge. Large goose populations contribute to the bacterial level of the lake.

Hickory Grove Park is open for goose hunting only Sept. 29–Oct. 14, Oct. 20–Dec. 11 and Dec. 22–Jan. 19, 2019. Hunting will be confined to the main lake and its shores, except for the beach and campground waterfronts. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 10 a.m. through Oct. 31; then one-half hour before sunrise to sunset thereafter. All state and federal hunting laws apply. Hunters may use portable blinds, but gas boat motors are not allowed.

Hunting dates may be closed or modified by Story County Conservation. Hunters must report the number of geese harvested within 24 hours. Please contact the Hickory Grove Park shop at 515-598-2744 or email Park Ranger Luke Feilmeier at

Learn How to Control Erosion on Your Property

Are you a landowner looking for solutions for minor to moderate erosion? Or someone who wants to learn more about erosion’s damaging effects on our landscape? Join us for Conservation Conversations & Practice: Gully Erosion Edition on Saturday, Oct. 13, 9:15 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Story County Conservation Center (56461 180th St., Ames).

The morning will be spent in conversation with experts from Prairie Rivers of Iowa, Iowa Conservation Corps and ISU Extension. After learning about water quality in Iowa and strategies to conserve our soils, we’ll put that newly-gained knowledge into practice by building a log-type erosion control structure in McFarland Park. This type of structure can easily be replicated on your own property by using materials you already have!

Please come prepared by wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and sturdy, closed-toed shoes. Bring a water bottle and work gloves. Lunch will be provided.

Fee of $15 with registration is required by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Registration is available at or by calling our office at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday).

For more information about this or other programs, contact Story County Conservation at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday), email us at or visit