"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." - John Muir
Kothenbeutal Prairie
Kothenbeutel Prairie. Photo: Jack Vanden Heuvel

The Fall Equinox may still be a few weeks away, but already there's a hint of autumn in the air. The days are becoming shorter, the nights cooler, and it won't be long now until the leaves start to turn. With the approaching seasons change so too comes a transition for Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation's Volunteer Program.  

Last week, in an email to volunteers, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation's volunteer coordinator of four-and-a-half years and my dear friend Mary Runkel shared she was leaving INHF to attend graduate school in Denver this fall. I think I speak for everyone at INHF when I say we appreciate all Mary has done for INHF and wish her the best of luck in Colorado!

In that same email, Mary introduced me, Melanie Louis, as INHF's new volunteer coordinator. It's a role I am thrilled and honored to be in, and I cannot wait to meet and connect with all of you - friends new and old - at these upcoming events! I invite you to learn a bit more about me, my history with INHF, and what I'm most looking forward to as I embark on this new adventure with you here > LEARN MORE ABOUT MELANIE

From prairie hikes to moonlight seed harvests, we have some awesome events coming up. I hope you'll seize these opportunities to get outdoors, and with a little help, get your hands dirty. In the meantime, feel free to contact me at mlouis@inhf.org or 515-288-1846 x35. 

- Melanie

p.s. - I am currently on wildfire call and could be called to help fight wildfires in the western United States at anytime between now and early September. If I am a bit slow to reply to your email or voicemail, I apologize and appreciate your understanding. In the event that I am unable to attend a volunteer event, rest assured that another member of INHF's amazing staff will oversee the event. 

UpCycle Stewards
Thursday, August 17  |  5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.  |  Des Moines
Get outside and give back at one of Des Moines' most popular parks! Together, we'll remove invasive plants from the woodland around Gray's Lake, which will be upcycled into food for the animals at Blank Park Zoo. Join us at Confluence Brewing Co. after the event to toast to conservation and community. No RSVP necessary - just show up!
Kothenbeutal Prairie Hike
Thursday, September 14  |  5:30 - 7 p.m.  |  Near Mason City
Grab your hiking boots and join us for an evening hike at Kothenbeutal Prairie to celebrate Iowa Prairie Heritage Week. INHF Land Stewardship Director Ryan Schmidt will guide attendees through this stunning 40-acre prairie preserve, providing insight into its history and past, current and planned restoration projects. New and experienced hikers alike welcome!

Seeds + Cider at Heritage Valley
Saturday, September 30  |  9 a.m. - 12 p.m.  |  Waukon
Celebrate the arrival of fall with a prairie seed harvest at Heritage Valley, a 1,200 acre nature preserve in near Decorah. Together, we'll hand harvest native seed from the property's hillside prairies, which will be used to diversify and expand the prairie. We'll end the day with apple cider. 

Moonlight Seed Harvest
Saturday, September 30  |  6 p.m.  |  Maxwell
Join INHF and Polk County Conservation for a moonlit evening restoring the prairie at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, a 10-mile nature preserve half an hour northeast of Des Moines. Together, we'll hand harvest native prairie seed to support the prairie. After, we'll gather around the campfire to enjoy s'mores under the soon-to-be-full harvest moon. Families welcome!
Lend a Hand on the Land: A Prairie Seed Harvest
Saturday, October 7  |  1 - 4 p.m.  |  Elkhart
Join Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Bur Oak Land Trust, the Nature Conservancy in Iowa, Sustainable Iowa Land Trust and Whiterock Conservancy at Snyder Heritage Farm, an INHF-owned and managed nature preserve just outside of Des Moines, for or a fall prairie seed harvest. Make a day of it and stay for a guided afternoon hike through the oak savanna. 

Save the Date: Surly at Snyder
Saturday, November 4  |  9 a.m. - 12 p.m.  |  Elkhart
Join INHF and Surly Brewing Co. for a Saturday of brush cutting, brews and giving back at Snyder Heritage Farm. We'll spend the morning working in teams to restore the prairie. After we'll grab a Surly beer, compliments of the brewery, to toast to a morning well spent. No experience necessary!

More info coming soon! 
Questions, Concerns, Compliments?
Contact Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Louis at mlouis@inhf.org or 515-288-1846 x35
Learn more about INHF's volunteer program.
Corporate Volunteering
INHF has worked with many amazing corporations to get their employees out on the land to give back while team building. Does your workplace offer PTO for volunteering? 
Want to involve INHF?  Contact