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Enjoy An Area Treasure

September 18, 2014
Emmetsburg News

Dear Editor,

Recently, I was blessed to a "Prairie Picnic" at Telford Prairie, NE of Ayrshire (400 Street and 400 Aveue). This was another great opportunity to enjoy an area treasure and sponsored by our Palo Alto County Conservation.

Miriam taught us about prairies. We witnessed our own virgin Iowa native prairie plants in abundance - at land donated by Mary Telford. God bless her! There are very few tracts of NATIVE prairie left in Iowa and most are preserved mainly because of the crusade of ADA HAYDEN- the first female "Doctorate" from ISU and a world known botanist who visited Iowa sites of native prairie almost 100 years ago. She had the foresight to document plants of over 40,000 specimens for Iowa State University and the state of Iowa. Much of her research was done right in our own Palo Alto County!

I encourage all readers and nature lovers to visit Telford Prairie! Behold the treasure of looking at the lead plant with a root system of 25 feet deep. Enjoy the purple aster and big blue stem so tall. Listen for the prairie birds and frogs and witness the sunset in the west.

The good productive black earth we enjoy now is because of the hundreds of years of prairies past. Note what Ada Hayden wrote almost 100 years ago....

"Iowa is said to be a prairie state, but what is a prairie to the present generation? Within our 40 or 50 years, the broad stretches of tall shining grass trembling in the sunlight or tossed by the breezes into billowy waves, gorgeous as the season progresses with its pageant of brilliant hued flowers... is fast passing. Few but the farm boy and the meadow lark know where the swamp now lingers, where the marigolds gitter in the marsh, where the red-brown knoll, fanned by the winds of March, turn pale lavender as the pasque flower wakes in the spring. What park planting can equal a mile or two of flaming Turk's cap lily which frequents the damp native prairie in July, or the white beds of nodding anemones, the red and white sweet William, the purple patches of gauzy spiderwort, the gorgeous butterfly weed, the glowing goldenrod, and the banks of stately radiant sunflower. All these plants are carefully cultivated by florists in parts of the country where they are not native. Why not preserve now at a small cost what cannot be replaced at any cost?"

Ada Hayden, 1917

Enjoy a priceless treasure, appreciate and preserve those few remaining in our state and think of conservation.


(signed) Maureen Reeves Horsley

(nature lover)

Emmetsburg, IA



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