on Monday, April 30, 2018
Robinson Bird Sanctuary, Cedar Falls
Spring has arrived and our woodland areas are beginning to come to life. Soon, Virginia Bluebells, Spring Beauty and Rue Anemone will blanket the ground at George Wyth State Park (can be seen from the road on the north side as you drive through the park), the Robinson Bird Sanctuary and the Katoski Greenbelt.
May 6-12, 2018, is National Wildflower Week and we think it’s a perfect time to discover our local parks. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center first designated the week to “commemorate the colorful blossoms that bring our landscape to life.” We hope you continue to discover parks and prairie plantings throughout the summer. Parks and prairies are easily accessed by car or the Cedar Valley Trails.
Discover local prairies
The Cedar Valley is dotted with prairies that provide habitat for wildlife, a scenic landscape and conservation of Iowa’s native plants. In the summer, find our prairies covered in compass plants, butterfly milkweed, grayhead coneflowers, black-eyed susans and more.
- UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center
2412 W. 27th Street, Cedar Falls
The University of Northern Iowa’s Tallgrass Prairie Center has an example of a dry prairie planting in from of their center. The soil has the harsh growing conditions that are important for prairie species adapted to very dry, nutrient deficient soils. The prairie contains shorter prairie grasses and wildflowers such as compass plants, rough blazingstar, purple prairie clover in the summer followed by goldenrods and several asters in late summer.
You’ll find a wealth of information on the Tallgrass Prairie Center website. You’ll find information about Monarch butterflies, prairie energy, how-to videos and a list of other resources including an Iowa Prairie Seed Calculator. They also have a section called Plant Iowa Native to help you find seeds to grow your own native landscape.
- Prairie Lakes
Southeast corner of Hudson Road and Viking Road, Cedar Falls
Near the Cedar Falls Visitor Center and the Cedar Valley Trails system, you’ll find switchgrass in the lowland area, big bluestem and Indian grass on the slopes and butterfly milkweed, pale purple coneflower and purple prairie clover throughout. In the summer, the sea of yellow compass plants is stunning.
- UNI Campus Prairie
This prairie planting is located on the south side of 29th Street adjacent the bike trail between Walnut Street and College Street in Cedar Falls. It is the oldest prairie planting in Cedar Falls. Initially, big bluestem, Indian grass and switchgrass were the primary species. Since that time, the prairie has diversified with transplanted wildflowers rescued from sites that were being destroyed. Mowed trails provide access to much of the prairie and the area along the creek.
- Big Woods Rotary Prairie
This prairie is maintained by the Cedar Falls Rotary and is located on the southeast corner of Big Woods Lake in Cedar Falls. The 13-acre prairie planting holds more than 80 species of prairie plants. The prairie is easily accessed from the parking lot and is adjacent the Cedar Valley Trails system. In the summer, visitors will find a mowed walking path that begins at the kiosk and meanders through the planting.
Mark your calendar
Iowa Prairie Heritage Week – September 9-15, 2018
Iowa Prairie Conference
This conference takes place every other year, and typically takes place in July. The next conference will be in 2019. The conference is open to the public with paid registration. Visit Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development to find information about the last conference which was held in 2017.
Want to find more Things to Do, Places to Eat & Drink and Places to Stay while you’re in Cedar Falls? Visit or call the Cedar Falls Visitor Center at 800-845-1955 or at 6510 Hudson Road. The visitor center is open seven days a week.
We’d be happy to help!