Prairie seed harvest planned at Doolittle Prairie

Story County Conservation’s Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management program invites prairie enthusiasts to assist in gathering prairie seed at one of Story County’s hidden gems.

Three public seed harvests will take place at Doolittle Prairie. Participants will meet at the prairie entrance, 14249 560th Ave., south of Story City.

The dates and times are as follows:

Sunday, Sept. 24, 2-4 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 28, 4-6 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 4-6 p.m.

No experience is necessary; IRVM staff will show you where, how and what species of seeds to collect. Sturdy shoes, socks, long pants, insect repellent, hat, gloves and a water bottle are recommended.

The seed harvests are weather dependent; please register so IRVM staff can ensure enough supplies and refreshments. Registration is available at or by calling 515-232-2516.

Trails advisory committee meeting

The Story County Trails Advisory Committee invites the public to attend its monthly meeting on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Story County Conservation Center at McFarland Park, 56461 180th St., northeast of Ames.

If you enjoy biking, hiking, horseback riding or canoeing in Story County, you are invited to attend the meeting. Come to share your ideas or consider volunteering your time to improve Story County Conservation’s many trail systems.

Park festival features music, food, fun

Join Story County Conservation for the Partners Fall Festival on Sunday, Oct. 1, from 3-6 p.m. at McFarland Park, 56461 180th St., northeast of Ames. This free, public event features live music, nature activities and a food truck.

Kick off the month of October and enjoy the changing seasons while listening to traditional and modern blues music from Redz Bluez. Children will have fun making crafts and doing nature activities that unleash their creativity! The Mucky Duck Pub will offer food vending from its Mobile Mallard and is sponsoring the band. Festival-goers can take a hayrack ride around the park! Partnering organizations will be on site with booths and displays including the Iowa Purple Martin Organization, Conservation Corps Iowa, Ames Smart Watersheds and many more.

This festival is an excellent opportunity to visit McFarland Park and learn more about Story County Conservation Partners and the important things the group does for conservation efforts in Story County. Best of all, the event is free and fun for everyone! The festival will be held rain or shine; bring your blankets and lawn chairs to relax and enjoy the day! Pets must be on kept on leashes at all times.

O.W.L.S.: Honey Bees in Iowa

Story County Conservation invites the public to the monthly O.W.L.S. (Older, Wiser, Livelier Seniors) program at the Story County Conservation Center at McFarland Park, 56461 180th St., northeast of Ames, on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m.

The 2017 Iowa Honey Queen, Carly Raye Vannoy, will be sharing about honeybees, honey, beekeeping and beyond. Participants will learn about the superorganism of honeybees, how bees make mummies, the strange use of beehives in medieval Europe, the color of mystery honey, and so much more! Come find out why we want to save the bees and how we can make that happen!

O.W.L.S. programs are designed for “boomers” or older – but anyone can attend. An optional luncheon follows the program at noon. Lunch is catered for a $7.50 fee, and registration with payment is required by 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29. The planned lunch menu is pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans and apple crisp.

Registration for lunch is available at or by calling 515-232-2516.

Nocturnal raptors

Who’s “hoo” at McFarland Park? Join Story County Conservation staff on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 6:30-7:30 p.m. as they investigate the world of Iowa’s nocturnal raptors. The program is suitable for families and adults and will be inside the conservation center at McFarland Park, 56461 180th St., Ames.

Explore the unique adaptations of these impressive predators of the night. Learn how to talk to the owls and enjoy stories of encounters with these remarkable birds. With a live animal, this program is sure to be a hoot!

This program is free, but registration is required by 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13. Registration is available at or by calling 515-232-2516.

Story County Conservation manages more than 3,000 acres of parks and natural areas, including lakes, campgrounds and trails, and an additional 5,500 acres of roadside habitat through its Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management program. The environmental education staff serves Story County schools and the public with interpretive and informational programs for all ages. Story County Conservation’s volunteer program provides volunteer opportunities to individuals and groups interested in making a difference in local natural resources. No individual will be excluded from events conducted by Story County Conservation because of a disability or impairment. To request accommodations to participate, contact Story County Conservation.