Dallas County Conservation Board plans trio of spring programs

Submitted to DCN
A Spring Equinox– Sunset Celebration will be held from 6:30–8 p.m. on Thursday, March 19 at Redfield’s Hanging Park. PHOTO SUBMITTED TO DALLAS COUNTY NEWS

The Dallas County Conservation Board (DCCB), is kicking off spring programming on the equinox.

First up is programming targeting DCCB’s prairie restoration efforts. A prairie violet restoration event will be held from 2:30-4 p.m. on Thursday, March 19 at the Kuehn Conservation Area near Earlham. This is your chance to get a little dirt under your fingernails and bring back one of our prairie’s missing flowers.

Participants at this event will learn of the unique natural history of the prairie violet. This prairie flower is the key to bringing back the threatened regal fritillary butterfly, a species of special concern in Iowa. Volunteers will assist DCCB in planting the seeds of the prairie violet, along with the seeds of several other species of prairie forbs.

Your volunteer action of planting these wild seeds will begin your opportunity to join DCCB in returning the missing pieces of our native prairie ecosystems. These initial actions of volunteerism will lead to you, later this spring, transferring your prairie violet plants to the prairies at Kuehn Conservation Area. Let’s dream back the prairies of Dallas County one prairie violet seed at a time!

Later that evening, naturalists will be on hand at Redfield’s Hanging Park for a Spring Equinox– Sunset Celebration from 6:30–8 p.m. While the sun generally rises in the east, realize, this answer is correct only two days out of the year, and the Spring Equinox is one of this dates. Between the equinox, and the solstice date in June, the sunrise will have moved across the eastern horizon some 33 degrees to the north.

If you feel the need to slow down the pace of your life and connect the meter of your life not to a piece of machinery– but to the celestial waltz of the Earth and Sun, join us. DCCB has constructed an astronomical clock– built of stones, reconstructing one placed here by First Nation Peoples long before Redfield and Hanging Rock were names on the landscape. Join us for a history lesson of time, a new connection to your place and a celebration of spring’s arrival.

Over the weekend, a stewardship day will be held at Voas Nature Area near Minburn. On Saturday, March 21, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., participants will be clearing oak savanna habitat that has been overgrown. This stewardship day will expand past efforts clearing the understory at this site. We will be using handsaws and loppers to clear honeysuckle, dogwood, and small trees. Come help us liberate these smothered “wolf” oaks.

To register for these programs please contact the Dallas County Conservation Board office at 515-465-3577 or conservation@dallascountyiowa.gov.