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Advertisement Linn Landowner Workshop and Expo draws many
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · September 21st, 2017

Around 300 people attended the Linn Landowner Workshop and Expo held Sunday, September 17, at the Monarch Research Center on Lakeside Drive.

More than 24 groups and vendors had set up tables and booths to share information, answer questions and give out all kinds of materials that guests could take home on every aspect imaginable regarding the land, gardens, water, and various animals who share the land with humans.

The day's activities began at 12:30 p.m. with registration and time to visit the vendor areas. While it was not possible to visit all of them before the regular program, there were breaks throughout the day so guests could still visit many and ask questions, pick up materials and meet others with similar interests.

Everyone spent the first session in the ballroom, where a number of speakers talked about topics of interest to everyone.

Daniel Gibbins, Cedar Rapids' Parks Superintendent spoke about the progress that has been made on the 1,000 Acre Plan. Right after Gibbins, Clark McLeod spoke about ways people can participate in the Monarch Research Project. One of the prizes in the drawing that was to be held later was a tent for raising monarch butterflies.

Shannon Ramsey of Trees Forever and John Myers, Indian Creek Nature Center, spoke about making woodlands healthier. The final presentation of the introductory session was about planting and nurturing prairie, given by Joe McGovern of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.

After a break, a number of concurrent sessions were held. They were repeated later in the day, so a guest could attend at least two of the four.

McGovern and landowner Jim Hoffman discussed the basics of planting on a prairie. They gave tips on choosing a good site, how to do the planting, and how to maintain the area while the prairie takes root.

Ramsey and Myers provided basics and a demonstration on how to improve your wooded areas.

Dana Kellogg, from Linn County Conservation, provided an in-depth demonstration on how to prepare the ground for a prairie planting.

The fourth session was conducted by McLeod and Rob Roman regarding planting or adopting a micro-prairie in a roadside. They discussed why this helps monarchs and nature, and how to be part of the pilot project.

One of the attendees was from the Johnson County Conservation staff. He found the sessions very interesting and expressed the idea that conservation staff from different counties should make an effort to meet and share knowledge with each other. He noted that Linn County's people are doing some things very well and so are those in Johnson County, but not necessarily the same things.

That was, perhaps, the main theme of the entire day's activities - learning from each other.

At the end of the day, monarch butterflies were released in the courtyard. In addition, seeds were distributed to those who had committed to plant a micro-prairie.

Of special note, among the vendors were Shane Bixby and Erin Miller who are experts in beekeeping. They will be offering presentations and classes in the area in the near future, so be sure to watch the websites for the various local county parks and nature centers.

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