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Forum to help bring more nature to land
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · August 31st, 2017

A number of groups have partnered with the Monarch Research Project to present a special event in September, the Linn Landowner Forum. It will be held on Sunday, September 17, at Clearwater Farms, 4970 Lakeside Rd., Marion.

The forum is free and will run from 1 to 4:30 p.m., but those in attendance will be able to speak with experts and landowners between 12:30 and 1 p.m., and 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.

Other groups involved include the following:

Indian Creek Nature Center

Trees Forever

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

Linn County Conservation

Alliant Energy

Alliant Energy Corporation is the lead sponsor, along with the Living Roadway Trust Fund of the DOT.

We recently spoke with Clark McLeod of the Monarch Research Project, and he gave us more details about the day.

The thrust of the program is a specific workshop for planting micro-prairies, whether in rights of way or on the property of a landowner.

McLeod said that everyone who attends will receive, free of charge, enough native seed mix to plant a micro-prairie of 400 square feet on their property as well as the opportunity to Adopt a Roadway for Pollinators (ARP).

He added that 20 organizations will have displays. Among them are the Monarch Consortium from Iowa State University and the Living Roadway Trust Fund of the DOT.

 This forum is part of a Linn County movement to help

landowners bring more nature to their land.

An earlier movement started not long ago with the goal of turning 1,000 unproductive acres into land which supports monarch butterflies and other pollinators. It is to cover three to five years and currently is being undertaken by individuals, cities, schools, businesses and others.

This next step is even more ambitious. The hope is to restore and preserve 10,000 additional acres of natural land in Linn County. This will benefit pollinators and wildlife, increase water quality and help mitigate flooding.

Not only are neighborhoods likely to become healthier and the water cleaner, but it will add interest to people's lives in a way that counts.

The September 17 event will provide an opportunity to meet helpful experts. In addition, attendees can learn how even small land areas benefit wildlife, pollinators and land quality.

One of the spectacular activities will be the release of around 300 monarch butterflies into the wild after the workshop.

Registration is required, even though the event is free of charge. You can sign up by email to or by calling Linn County Conservation at 319-892-6450. You can also sign up at the website for the Monarch Research Project:

Please email or call by September 4, as space is limited.

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