Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a free virtual wetland field day Thursday, May 28, at 1 p.m.
From fens to oxbows to prairie potholes, each wetland has a role to play. Within a row crop system, these areas offer an opportunity to improve water quality and field profitability when allowed to function as wetlands rather than cropped areas. The wetland plants also provide a great habitat for a variety of pollinators.
May is American Wetlands Month and to celebrate, the event will take participants on a tour of the diversity of wetlands found in Iowa. The event will include video footage from a variety of wetlands in north central Iowa and live interaction with Kay Stefanik, assistant director with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, and Adam Janke, assistant professor and extension wildlife specialist at Iowa State University.
Together, they will discuss how these sites were formed, identify features that make each wetland unique – including the wildlife and plants – and answer questions from attendees on how farmers and landowners can work with and around the wetlands.
“Most people are familiar with created wetlands used to treat agricultural runoff but may not know that natural wetlands benefit us too,” said Stefanik, a wetland and aquatic ecologist who has studied plants and nutrient cycling in freshwater ecosystems. “Natural wetlands improve water quality, help to retain floodwaters and potentially minimize downstream flooding, as well as provide critical habitat for plants and animals.”
“Because of the diverse geologic history of Iowa’s landscapes, we have a large variety of interesting and unique wetland types found throughout the state,” said Janke, whose research has focused on understanding how birds use different types of wetlands. “The area in north central Iowa we are featuring during this virtual field day is really remarkable for the diversity of wetland types it has within a small geographic area.”
Shortly before 1 p.m. on May 28, click the following URL, or type this web address into your internet browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/s/315189792
Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923. Meeting ID: 315 189 792
The field day will be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time.
A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live field day.