Ames High to host prairie seminar

By Todd Burras


The big bluestem, compass plants, oxeye daisies and butterfly bushes may be buried under the snow, but a prairie in full bloom will be on the minds of attendees at the annual Iowa Prairie Network seminar Saturday, Jan. 27, at Ames High School, 1921 Ames High Drive.

The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and a slate of guest speakers, including Carl Kurtz, John Pearson, Lee Burras, Loren Lown and Mike Todd, will present workshops covering the following topics: a Smartphone app for identification and inventory of prairie plants; understanding prairies and native plants; evaluating pollinator habitat; building soil with prairie; and invasive species control.

The event is free and open to the public, and there will be a silent auction that will provide funds to help manage a local prairie remnant that is in need of help.

For more information, contact Mike Todd at

Take a winter hike

If the cold weather in the first half of January kept you locked inside and afraid to go outside, maybe this weekend’s weather will warm you to the idea of getting outside for a walk or a hike.

The Outdoor Alliance of Story County has a schedule of three more winter hikes that are free and open to the public. All three hikes start at 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Here’s the remaining schedule for this winter:

  • Jan. 25 – Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s Jordan Wildlife Area at 56091 265th St., south of Ames. To get there, take South Duff Avenue south out of Ames and then turn east on 265th Street and travel 1.75 miles. All hikes end with a winter “picnic” of a light array of whatever the hikers brought to share.
  • Feb. 1 — Story County’s Heart of Iowa Trail. The trailhead is at the Cambridge City Park, Water and Third Streets (under the water tower). If you want a ride, meet others at 12:50 p.m. for departure from the old Kmart store on South Duff Avenue and South 16th Street. Meet in the southeast corner of the parking area.
  • Feb. 8 — Story County Conservation’s Sleepy Hollow Access Sleepy Hollow, 646 W. Riverside Road, just north of Ames off U.S. Highway 69 near Ada Hayden Heritage Park. Meet at the parking lot on the southwest side of the bridge over the South Skunk River.

For more information, contact Greg Vitale at (732) 328-0643 or visit

Iowans on Everest

Andy Anderson, a Boone native, will present a program about his successful summit of Mount Everest at 7 pm. Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the CPMI Event Center, at 2321 N Loop Drive, off Airport Road in Ames.

In May 2017, Anderson and his cousin John completed their 52-day trek and became the first Iowans to summit the mountain via the lesser-climbed northeast ridge in China.

Anderson will show a slide presentation and discuss all aspects of his historic ascent: his progression as a climber starting out in central Iowa; the physical and mental challenges he faced on Everest; and the life lessons he learned along the way.

For those unable to attend, the event will be live-streamed on JAX Outdoor Gear’s Facebook page,

Whitetail harvest up

The number of deer killed by hunters during Iowa’s 2017-18 whitetail season increased by nearly 4 percent over 2016-17, according to data released by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources earlier this week.

The DNR says hunters reported killing 105,544 deer, an increase of 4,100 deer from the previous year. Most deer were harvested during the shotgun seasons, including 26,546 during the first season and 19,921 in the second season.

Bow hunters killed 19,797 whitetails while landowners and tenants reported harvesting 7,376 antlerless deer and 3,785 antlered deer during the shotgun seasons and 1,445 antlerless deer and 1,246 antlered deer during the bow season.

Iowa’s deer seasons closed on Jan. 10.

Ice fishing derby, tourney
The Zearing Fire Department and Story County Conservation Board are sponsoring the third-annual Dakins Lake Ice Derby from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday Feb. 10, at the lake on the north edge of Zearing. There will be prizes and contests. The cost is $10 per person, which includes lunch. Visit for rules and registration forms. Registration will start at 6:30 a.m. the day of the event. For more information, contact Dave Skinner at

The Iowa State University Fishing Club will host a tournament from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at Clear Lake. Participants will meet at the McIntosh Woods north boat ramp. Registration is open to everyone, and the cost is $65 per two-man team. Each team can weigh 10 panfish. Registration will start at 7 a.m. on the ice. For more information, contact Blake Graves at (636) 357–4180 or


Todd Burras can be reached at


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