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Rare native prairie tour Wednesday in Thurman

Rare native prairie tour Wednesday in Thurman

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THURMAN - A tour of one of Iowa's rarest native prairies will take place on the Baylor Farm in Fremont County Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

Located 2.5 miles south of Thurman on L44, participants will learn how to identify prairie plants, restore native prairies, and seek funding for prairie plant restoration.

The Fremont County Soil and Water Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service are sponsoring the walk.

A lunch will be served.

The Baylor Farm includes excellent examples of southern Loess Hills ridgeline prairie as well as a mesic prairie located in a valley known as the "Baylor Bowl."

Mesic prairies, or those with a balanced supply of water, are quite rare in the Loess Hills since most of the low-lying valleys have been cultivated.

Rare species identified on the property include: Penstemon cobaea (Cobaea penstemon) and Asimina triloba (paw paw tree).

The property has been in the family since the 1840's and is owned by Jim and Shelda Baylor and Ed and Nancy Little.

The Baylor's have been managing the property for biological diversity since about 1985. In 1992, the Baylors initiated a fire management plan onto the property in an attempt to control the woody vegetation and to stimulate the native prairie species.

In addition, the prairie is under a USDA-NRCS Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program contract to restore and manage the prairie.

Woody vegetation along the lower slopes of the ridges are being removed and prairie seed harvested from the Bowl is used to re-seed the disturbed areas.

The Baylor's have also opened up their Loess Hills prairie to many visitors during the last 10 years and encourage the utilization of the property for scientific research.

For more information, call Kristie McKinley, NRCS District Conservationist, at (712) 374-2014.

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