Life

Bioreactor, monarch habitat field day set Aug. 29 near Washington

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and National Wildlife Foundation, will host a bioreactor and monarch habitat field day on Thursday, Aug. 29.

The field day will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Rob Stout’s farm, 2449 Hemlock Ave., near Washington.

The event is free, open to the whole family and includes a complimentary meal sponsored by Iowa Corn.

Edge of field practices like bioreactors, wetlands and saturated buffers are key to reducing nitrate loss from agricultural land in Iowa. Through a natural biological process microorganisms living in the systems use the incoming nitrate for respiration and reduce the nitrate levels from incoming tile drainage, helping reach the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals. In addition to water quality benefits, these practices also provide wildlife opportunities for monarch butterflies, pheasants, quail, and much more.

The agenda will begin with a demonstration of the Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Station On The Edge trailer highlighting what occurs underground in a bioreactor and saturated buffer. Washington County farmer Rob Stout, will lead attendees to one of the first bioreactors in the area that was installed in 2014 and discuss the installation process and results of the first five years of water monitoring. Taylor Shirley, graduate research assistant at Iowa State University Department of Natural Resources and Ecology Management, will share information about ongoing research on pheasants and quail being conducted on Stout’s farm.

Holly Schutt, Pheasants Forever wildlife biologist, will be providing information on establishing and maintaining monarch habitat and how to find areas on a farm that can help provide habitat.

Reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Call Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or ilf@iastate.edu.

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit www.iowalearningfarms.org.

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable.

Partners of Iowa Learning Farms include the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319) and GROWMARK Inc.