Golden Hills hosted a Forage Walk on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail in Imogene on Tuesday, May 18. Jamie Smidt Fowler of Shenandoah led a walk along the trail, discussing both native and invasive species along the trail, including edible & medicinal herbs & vegetables. Photos of the walk and some of the plants are included here.
If you decide to go foraging, always know with 100% certainty what plant you have, as some species are toxic and can even deadly if consumed. It's best to go with someone who knows proper plant identification, especially if you are new to foraging.
Below are photos of some of the common plant species discussed on the walk. Some of these are considered weeds by many people.
Shelly Eisenhauer with Bur Oak Photo attended the event and shared the photos below.
Funding for this event was provided by Fremont County Tourism. Golden Hills is hosting more outdoor events in Fremont County this year--stay tuned at goldenhillsrcd.org/fremontcounty.
Manti Park in eastern Fremont County is a hidden gem for history and nature enthusiasts. One of several parks managed by the City of Shenandoah, "Manti Park is a wooded park 41 acres in size located 1 mile south and 1 mile west of the intersection of State Highway 2 and 59. The Pottawattamie Indian Tribe originally inhabited this site. In 1852 forty Mormon families settled into the area and built the community known as Manti. Today the park is owned and maintained by the City of Shenandoah and is used for hiking, picnicking, bird watching, and many other outdoor activities."
The village of Manti once had as many as 500 residents. After the railroad was built through nearby Shenandoah, most of the townspeople relocated. Today there are few visible remnants of the community, but a cemetery is located in the southern part of the park. To learn more about the area's history, check out these links:
In addition to this history, Manti Park offers hiking trail with interpretation about some of the native plants and ecology. Many birds call the woods home, as well as numerous mammals, reptiles, & more. Take a walk and see what flora & fauna you can find in the park!
Manti Park is one of many amazing places to explore the great outdoors in southwest Iowa's Fremont County. Learn more about Golden Hills' Fremont County Outdoor Adventures here, and find tourism information for Fremont County at visitloesshills.org.
**Note that as of May 2021, the bridge immediately north of the park is closed due to construction, so check before you go to make sure you can get there. If the bridge is out, you can access Manti Park from J40 from the west.**
"May 5-15 is the absolute peak of Iowa spring migration in terms of overall diversity," according to Stephen Dinsmore with Iowa State University, and Fremont County in the southwestern corner of the state is one of the best places to see migrating birds. A 1991 Big Day count in Fremont County found 171 species of birds. Right now is the perfect time to go birding in southwest Iowa!
Global Big Day is an annual celebration of the birds around you. This year, it is Saturday, May 8--which is also World Migratory Bird Day.
To participate in Global Big Day, "report your bird observations to eBird online or with our free eBird Mobile app. If you have more time, submit checklists of birds throughout the day. You never know what you might spot. Your observations help us better understand global bird populations through products like these animated abundance maps brought to you by eBird Science."
"World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) will imbue the activity of birdwatching, a past time enjoyed by some 86 million Americans, with deeper meaning. WMBD will teach participants at more than 700 locations from Argentina to Canada how to identify birds, how to connect with them, and how to delve deeper into bird biology, investigating such topics as the difference between birdsong and call, the mysteries of migration, and the astounding power of flight." Visit their website and watch the video below to learn more.
May is also American Wetlands Month. Fremont County has some of the largest wetland complexes in the region, including Riverton Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and several WMAs along the Missouri River. Learn more about wetlands here.
WMAs are typically open to hunting so be cognizant of that during waterfowl season. Outside of hunting season, WMAs are still excellent places to go birding and wildlife-watching. While Iowa has among the lowest amounts of public lands of all states, Fremont County has among the most public land per capita in Iowa. In addition to wetlands, the Missouri and Nishnabotna rivers are migratory flyways, and the prairies and woods of the Loess Hills provide diverse habitats for upland species.
Learn more about places to go birding, download a pdf of Fremont County's bird list, and find many other birding resources at goldenhillsrcd.org/birding.
In addition to birding opportunities, Fremont County offers many other outdoor recreation activities, and Golden Hills is coordinating events to encourage people to explore and enjoy the area. Visit our Fremont County Outdoor Adventures page for details.