Here are some informative links about milkweed, milkweed and monarchs, milkweed bugs, and other milkweed-related topics:
Rodeos in western Iowa are steeped in history. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Sidney Iowa Championship Rodeo. The Iowa Tourism Office acknowledged the rodeo's history by presenting it with the award for Outstanding Rural Event at the 2023 Iowa Tourism Conference in Altoona.
Barnes PRCA Rodeo in Cherokee County has put on rodeos since 1950. Barnes PRCA Rodeo was founded with the guiding principles of integrity and hard work by Bob and Donita Barnes. The late Bob Barnes was known as "the Colonel", and today is still one of
the most respected stockman in professional rodeo. He was selected as the 1984 PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year and was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame ten years later. Donita Barnes was posthumously awarded the inaugural PRCA Lifetime Achievement Award for contract personnel at the PRCA award banquet in 2011. The PRCA Lifetime Achievement Award was renamed in her honor in 2012.
July 2-3 - Exira
Exira, IA July 2 & 3, 2022 IRA/IRCA
Grand River Rodeo Co
Added Money : RS – $500 TE – $250
Entry Fees : RS – $59 TE – $79 TR – $71 GBR – $66
Books Open : June 20, 2022 RS 9AM – 4 PM TE 10AM – 4PM
Call-in Entries : (641) – 773 – 5232
Performance : Sat, July 2nd 6:30 PM & Sun. July 3rd 1:30PM
Emergency # (641) – 773 – 5232
Notes : IRA sanctioned Ranch Bronc Riding
Grounds Address : In town, North Side Casey Store
July 6-8 - Woodbine
Join Woodbine Saddle Club for their 62nd annual rodeo!
Thursday, July 6: Kids Night
Mutton Busting Preliminaries
Friday, July 7: Rodeo
7:15 pm Queen’s Entry
7:30 pm Grand Entry followed by your favorite rodeo action
Saturday, July 8: Rodeo Parade
9 am registration at 4th and Lincoln Way
11 am start time
Saturday, July 8: Rodeo, night two
7:15 pm Queen’s Entry
7:30 pm Grand Entry and rodeo action
July 9-10 - Malvern
The Big Hat Rodeo 2023 Wild Ride Tour will be in Malvern on July 9th and 10th for two full, 7-event rodeo performances. The Mills County Fair Pro Rodeo will feature two performances on July 9th and 10th.
July 15 - Audubon
July 20 - Missouri Valley
July 23 - Denison
Wright Rodeo Company Sponsored by Smithfield
Saturday, July 23rd at 6 PM
(Grandstands Open 5:00)
Students/Military/Senior Citizens $5
Children 5 and Under Free
July 26 - Sac City
Opening night of the Sac County Fair features the Barnes PRCA Rodeo at 7:30 p.m
August 1-5 - Sidney
August 3 - Moville
Barnes PRCA Rodeo will be at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville on August 3rd.
August 3-5 - Carson
Plains Indians used the root to treat rattlesnake bites, bee stings, headaches, toothaches, sore throats, and distemper in horses. Coneflowers are still widely used today in pharmaceutical preparations.
The dry spring, including the record-setting dry month of May, has contributed to a downward trend in drought conditions in southwestern Iowa. The region had the driest month of May in the state of Iowa, at only 35% of normal precipitation. All regions of Iowa. All areas of Iowa had below normal rainfall, as the statewide average of rain, 2.54 inches, was only 52% of normal rainfall. The spring months of March, April, and May had a statewide average of 6.09 inches of rainfall, 63 percent of normal. As a result of these moisture deficits, streamflow is down, and soil moistures are lower as well. Despite recent rainfall scattered across all state and high temperatures experienced in May, soil moisture conditions have decreased considerably over the past month.
The outlook for the summer in western Iowa shows persistent drought in western Iowa. Western Iowa is the only region in the state with an area under extreme drought (D3), while also having the largest area under severe drought (D2). The drought conditions will stress agricultural irrigation and impact outdoor recreation, as many waterways will be too low for paddlers.
With persistent drought, what can you do?
There are plenty of short- and long-term steps you can take to decrease your own water needs. First, we encourage you to plant native flowers and grasses, which require less water and are tolerant of extreme weather conditions. When purchasing plants, look for natives instead of varietals. Some great native perennials are bee balm, goldenrod, milkweed, and yarrow, among others. Excellent drought-resistant native grasses include blue grama, little bluestem, big bluestem, side-oats grama, and others.
Practicing water-conscious gardening is one small action you can take to address drought in western Iowa. Limit watering lawns and gardens to three days per week. Water gardens and lawns early in the morning to minimize evaporation. Deep watering once a week is better than shorter waterings multiple times per week. Using mulch around plants prevents evaporation, keeps soil at a more consistent temperature, and keeps weeds from competing with beneficial plants.
Yucca glauca, also known as soapweed, is a member of the agave family. Agaves are stout plants with woody stems or stem-bases, often tall, even tree-like, the long and narrow leaves crowded in rosettes at ends of stems or branches, a stout rapidly growing flower stalk arising from the rosette. Members of this family are from tropical or warm regions, often where it is arid.
The Loess Hills are definitely not tropical, but there arid, creating ideal conditions for yucca to grow in west- and south-facing Loess Hills prairies. However, the plant depends on a symbiotic relationship with the yucca moth. The plant and the moth cannot live without each other. Without the yucca moth, the yucca plant would lose its only pollinator, and without the plant, the moth would lose its food source. Soapweed is pollinated by the night-flying moths who use the ovary of the flower as the site to lay their eggs. The young larvae eat the developing seeds. The yucca plant produces many seeds, so the larvae get sustenance while the plant can still reproduce.
Flowers begin blooming on the plant's stalk in early to mid-June. The white petals form a bell-shaped flower that faces downward on the tall, stout stalk that can reach up to six feet tall!
Soapweed yucca is a traditional Native American medical plant, used by the Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Lakota, and other tribes. Native Americans use yucca root for poultices for inflammations and to stop bleeding. Roots of the plant are pounded and mixed with water to make shampoo for dandruff and minor skin irritations.
On Memorial Day weekend, the third LoHi Trek was held in Plymouth and Woodbury counties. The LoHi, short for Loess Hills, is based on the concept of a walking route through the entire length of western Iowa's scenic and unique Loess Hills landform. In 2020, Monona County resident Kelly Madigan hiked more than 200 miles from South Dakota to Missouri, inspiring many others to pursue outdoor adventures in the Loess Hills. Read about Kelly's journey here and the 2021 LoHi and 2022 LoHi treks.
40 people participated in this year's LoHi trek, with five states were represented: Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Ohio. There were several repeat trekkers as well as many new hikers. The terrain they hiked was all new to the LoHi, however, as this year's trek covered the northernmost reaches of western Iowa's Loess Hills in Plymouth and Woodbury counties.
Camp Joy Hollow served as the basecamp for the 2023 LoHi Trek. The 356-acre tract was recently purchased by the Nature Conservancy, expanding the conservation footprint in western Iowa's Loess Hills. TNC's Scott Moats visited the LoHi trekkers at Camp Joy Hollow on Thursday evening to discuss Broken Kettle Grasslands and the conservation practices used to manage the largest remnant prairie in the state of Iowa.
Day 1 began on North Ridge Road near the town of Westfield. Hikers followed this loop of the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway before reaching Broken Kettle Grasslands. The level gravel road with a gentle grade was a perfect warm-up for the steep Loess Hills ridges that awaited the hikers over the course of the holiday weekend.
Thanks to the Nature Conservancy, LoHi trekkers were allowed to hike through the Broken Kettle Grasslands, including the bison enclosure. TNC staff were on hand to ensure the safety of both hikers and bison alike. This section of the trek was a highlight for many of the hikers, as the terrain they walked is closed to the public because of the presence of bison. The walk through Broken Kettle took hikers along prairie ridges with penstemon, locoweed, downy yellow painted cup, and more wildflowers. The section through Broken Kettle ended at Aalfs Family Preserve, a beautiful overlook with benches that is located on Butcher Road.
After lunch, the trek continued along Butcher Road, a loop on the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway, before heading south along another prairie ridge. The trek descended steeply into Joy Creek, an old hardwood forest that likely existed during the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Hikers made their way along the scout camp trails to return to Joy Hollow, where dinner and ice cream awaited the hungry hikers. Pizza was provided from Hummers Roadhouse Bar & Grill in nearby Westfield, while Blue Bunny ice cream was a cold treat provided by The Nature Conservancy, who hosted an open house at Joy Hollow on Friday evening. Graham McGaffin, TNC's Iowa state director, spoke to the public and LoHi trekkers about the addition of Joy Hollow and its importance to conservation in the northern Loess Hills.
Day 2 began and ended at Camp Joy Hollow, as the day's hike followed a loop through adjacent Five Ridge Prairie State Preserve and neighboring private property to return to the campsite in the evening. Hikers started at 10am so that they could arrive in the afternoon at the property of Bill and Dotty Zales, who own several hundred acres of land adjacent to Joy Hollow and Five Ridge Prairie. The morning hike followed the mowed fire breaks that serve as trails at Five Ridge Prairie. A highlight included the sweeping views of the Big Sioux River from high atop the ridge near the Five Prairie camping cabin that overlooks Highway 12 and the Big Sioux River.
Hikers arrived at the residence of Bill and Dotty Zales, two local conservationists who are active in various conservation groups such as the Loess Hills Audubon Society. Hikers were welcomed with homemade beer and plenty of shade after a hot and sunny morning hike. Some hikers even took a plunge in the Zales' farm pond! Bill Zales talked to the group about their efforts to restore prairie on their property and other conservation measures they have undertaken on their land. Later, a delicious dinner of pulled pork, cole slaw, salads, and homemade ice cream were provided thanks to the Friends of Stone State Park. After dinner, Bill Zales led a group on a guided hike back to Joy Hollow, stopping at several spots to discuss the land and its conservation.
Day 3 was the longest and toughest day of hiking on the entire 2023 LoHi Trek. The day started at Heendah Hills State Recreation Area, following prairie ridges and old maintenance tracks to reach a property called the Hummel Tract. This area, previously owned by "Curly" Hummel before it was purchased by The Nature Conservancy and now managed by the Iowa DNR, is an extensive and rugged wildlife area. Stretches of the hike followed old farm tracks used by the previous landowner. Brightly colored ribbons flagged the route for hikers until the final section, which required bushwhacking through the understory to reach Talbot Road just north of the Stone State Park.
The road was a welcome respite after the tough off-trail morning hike. Hikers refreshed at the private residence of Dr. Luis Lebredo and Ruth Rose before continuing to Calumet Shelter in Stone State Park for lunch provided thanks to the Northwest Iowa Group of Sierra Club. After lunch, a short hike through Stone State Park to Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center concluded the third day of the trek. Hikers returned to Camp Joy Hollow to recuperate after a long and difficult day of hiking.
Memorial Day was the final day of the 2023 LoHi Trek. After breaking camp at Joy Hollow, participants returned to Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center and hiked to Mount Lucia, a popular overlook in the southern part of Stone State Park. From there, hikers continued south through the state park until reaching Malloy Road. The remaining hikers gathered at the entrance to Sioux City Prairie on Talbot Road. After signing the visitor log and sharing some final thoughts, the hikers moved through Sioux City Prairie in silence to reflect on their experience. The quiet walk through one of the largest urban prairies in the world was a poignant finale to a memorable weekend.
Founded by the Missouri Prairie Foundation in 2016, National Prairie Day is celebrated the first Saturday of June every year. Its mission is to enchance public awareness about prairies, celebrate the historic and current value of prairies, recognize the vital importance of prairie conservation, encourages involvement in the prairies and their conservation.
Historically tall grass prairie covered 70-80% of Iowa’s landscape. However, today Iowa is the most altered state in the country. Since European settlement, prairie land cover in Iowa has been reduced to less than 0.1% of its original extent. Much of the remaining prairie in Iowa is in the western part of the state. The rugged terrain of the Loess Hills prevented ploughing the ridgetop prairies.
The section of Waterman Prairie south
of Highway 10 offers an accessible
prairie experience for byway visitors. A
parking lot on Wilson Avenue, 1½ miles
south of Highway 10, leads to a trail that
meanders through prairie-covered ridges
with spectacular vistas of the Little Sioux
River valley. The Iowa Department of
Natural Resources is restoring the prairie
to its original plant community.
The trail passes the Hanging Valley, a
distinctive geologic feature resulting
from the rapid outflow of Glacial Lake
Spencer during the Pleistocene era. This
is a higher valley of the Little Sioux River
abandoned about 13,000 years ago when
rushing meltwater changed the course
of the river and cut down to the present
Broken Kettle Grasslands is a sweeping reminder of nature’s beauty. Not only is it the Conservancy’s largest preserve in Iowa, but it contains the largest remaining prairie in Iowa. In 1999, the Conservancy found the prairie rattlesnake, an extremely rare species, at this site, making Broken Kettle even more important to the region.
The Nature Conservancy welcomed a herd of 28 bison at Broken Kettle Grasslands preserve in the fall of 2008—an historic event benefiting the native prairie and the bison herd itself.
Hiking is allowed south of Butcher Road in the Stevenson Family Preserve.
Dinesen Prairie in Shelby County consists of 20 acres of native prairie that has never been turned by a plow. There are 114 types of plants here, and springtime brings forbs like prairie phlos and indigo bush. Summertime flowers include Canada anemone and leadplant, and fall brings blooms like asters and blazing star. Typical grasses found here are porcupine grass and prairie horsetail. Habituating the prairie are birds including bobolink and meadowlark, as well as many small mammals like the white-tailed jackrabbit and the meadow vole. The preserve was dedicated as a biological state preserve in 1977 by Derald Dinesen, whose gravestone is on top of a hill in the preserve, from which a view of the prairie is seen.
Dog Creek Park offers quite a shoreline for dropping in your line. It also offers a fishing jetty! Dog Creek Park has a lot to offer in O'Brien County. It's breathtaking view of the lake and valley is something to see.
River Road Conservation Area has several spots for fishing, river, and pond! The Little Sioux River flows directly next to this area where you can find Northern Pike, catfish, and walleye. There are also 2 ponds that can be fished on the property.
Linn Grove Dam Area includes areas on both sides of the Little Sioux River totaling 12 acres. The low head dam on the river provides great fishing. A boat ramp provides access to the river. Primitive camping is allowed. Pit toilets, drinking water and playground equipment are available. No dogs allowed with campers.
Fish the Big Sioux River from the river bank at Big Sioux Park, or drop your boat in the river. Channel cats and walleye are among a few species to fish for in the river.
Bacon Creek Park has a fishing jetty, picnic area, trails, playground, and restrooms. Catch largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish. Rainbow trout stocked each fall and winter.
Located approximately 4 miles southeast of Moorhead, Savery Pond is 25-acre park that includes a 15-acre pond. Good populations of white crappie, bass, bluegill, carp and catfish are available to area anglers. A boat ramp is available for boat access to the pond.
Schaben Park has a 6-acre fishing lake with a boat ramp; electric motors only. There is a fishing jetty and pier. Fish include bass, bluegill and catfish. The legal size limit of bass is 15 inches or more; anything under must be released immediately.
The 80-acre Nishna Bend Recreation Area contains over 30 acres of wetland created from past gravel mining operations and is located southeast of Corley. Its acquisition was partially funded with grants from Duck Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. The ponds left from past mining operations contain bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill and bullhead to delight any angler.
Explore more than 90 easy and safe paddling spots across Iowa this summer with the Hook n’ Paddle Passport. Each check-in from May 1 to August 31 rewards you with 100 points. Keep building points to redeem for prizes. Redeem your points once you’ve reached your desired point total. See the Iowa DNR website for more information and to register for your passport.