Larissa Mottl Named First Recipient of the Iowa Native Plant Society's Conservation Award
Larissa Mottl, manager of Grinnell College's Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA) and outreach coordinator for the Center for Prairie Studies, was named the first recipient of the Iowa Native Plant Society's Conservation Award in recognition of Outstanding Education and Community Outreach at a ceremony on February 18, 2012, at CERA.
In presenting the award, Thomas Rosburg, professor of biology at Drake University, noted that "since 2000, Larissa has been actively promoting the goals of the INPS through her work at CERA and through serving the INPS as its president for a two-year term." At CERA, Larissa works to restore prairie, savannah, and woodland ecosystems by removing non-native species and conducting prescribed burns. She also directs research with students.
"Larissa's dedication to native plants," Rosburg said, "is also exemplified by her organization and leading of many public fieldtrips and workshops. The workshops have helped to bring a new awareness and understanding to dozens of participants about sedges, insects, woodland wildflower restoration, and prescribed burning."
Larissa earned a BA degree in Biology and Chemistry at the University of Minnesota, Morris. In 2000, she received a MS degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Iowa State University, where she studied techniques to restore native plants to woodland habitats.
The Iowa Native Plant Society is a member forum for plant enthusiasts, gardeners, professional and amateur botanists, photographers and naturalists that aims to encourage conservation and ethical use of Iowa's native plants, promote education about Iowa's plants, their habitats, ecology and cultural uses, foster the preservation of these plants and their environments, and appreciate and enjoy Iowa's native flora.
Starting in 2012, the Iowa Native Plant Society will annually present the Iowa Native Plant Society Conservation Award to recognize an individual who demonstrates outstanding success in advancing the goals of INPS.
Spring 2012 Events
Summer Opportunities in Local Foods Systems
Friday, February 3, 12:15 pm
Career Development Office, 1127 Park Street
Would you like to get some practical experience in local foods systems? Come to an information session Friday, February 3, at 12:15 p.m. at the Career Development Office, 1127 Park Street. Representatives from three different local foods entities will describe the opportunities they are offering for summer 2012 internships/apprenticeships: (1) the Grinnell Area Local Foods Alliance is offering two apprenticeships, (2) Cultivate Kansas City is offering three internships, and (3) B&B Farms near Grinnell, operated by Barney Bahrenfuse and Suzanne Castello, is offering one internship. Get involved in this national movement which always has a local focus.
Film Documentary: American Meat
Tuesday, February 14, 7:00 pm
Forum, South Lounge
American Meat is a solutions-oriented macroscopic 90 minute documentary film surveying the current state of the U.S. meat industry. Featuring Joel Salatin, Chuck Wirtz, Fred Kirschenmann, Steve Ells, Paul Willis, and tens of farmers across America. It examines the current industrial system of animal husbandry in the United States. It then shows the revolutionary changes happening in livestock raising, introducing farmers across the country who have changed their lives to start grass-based farms. The film highlights everyday tangible steps that people can take to change agriculture in America. A panel discussion of the film will follow, led by Graham Meriwether, producer of American Meat. Refreshments will be served including local bison jerky.
Saturday, February 18, 9:30 am -12:45 pm
We are seeking volunteers to help us salvage firewood-sized logs and pile branches in areas we are restoring to oak woodland. RSVP for transportation to Larissa at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll meet at the Joe Rosenfield Center drop-off area at 9:30 am. Light refreshments provided, bring your own water bottle. Wear clothes appropriate for work outside--work gloves will be provided. If you plan to drive out to CERA, please park by the Environmental Education Center and meet us at the shed at 10 am.
Publisher of Wapsipinicon Almanac
Tuesday, February 28, 7:30 pm
Grinnell Historical Museum
Tim Fay, publisher of the Wapsipinicon Almanac, will discuss running a small,independent journal,and Grinnell-based authors recently published in the almanac will give readings. Featuring local contributors Betty Moffett and Bruce Whiteman.
Chimney Swifts: Urban ecology and conservation
Monday, March 12, 7:00 pm
Drake Community Library, Caulkins Community Room
Ron Windingstad, Audubon at Home Coordinator with MN Audubon, will talk about the ecology and conservation of chimney swifts, neotropical migrants who have adapted to nesting and roosting in masonry chimneys. Chimney swifts have declined in population by over 50% in just the last 40 years. They winter in the Amazon Basin, but fly north to breed in eastern North America. Chimney swifts are a common sight in Grinnell at dusk, though we know virtually nothing about our local population. Ron's presentation will be followed by discussion of ways volunteers can help us learn more about these birds in Grinnell and their conservation needs. Building chimney-like towers is one such way to provide more habitat. Audubon MN has worked with citizens to install over 70 towers in the last few years in MN. This program is co-sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies and the Tallgrass Prairie Chapter of Iowa Audubon.
Saturday, April 7, 9:30 am -12:45 pm
The Center for Prairie Studies at Grinnell College invites you to join us in restoring bur oak woodland at the Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA), informally known as Grinnell College's bio preserve. The Center is looking for volunteers to help with piling branches and salvaging firewood-sized logs from trees that have been cut down around the oaks. Work gloves will be provided.
If you can help, please contact Larissa Mottl at email@example.com or at 269-4717. Transportation will be available. The van will leave from the JRC drop-off area on 8th Avenue at 9:30 a.m. and return by 12:45 p.m. If you drive separately, please park by the Environmental Education Center. We will meet at CERA at 10:00 a.m.
Woodland Wildflower Walk
Friday, April 13, 4:15 - 6:15 pm
Join us for a 0.5-mile hike in our oak-hickory forest to observe a myriad of spring wildflowers in bloom. Wildflower blooms we expect to see include Dutchman's breeches, trout lilies, spring beauties, bloodroot, hepatica, toothwort, mayapples, wild ginger, false rue anemone, and prairie trilliums. RSVP for transportation to Larissa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-269-4717. We'll meet at the parking light behind the John Chrystal Center at 6th Ave and Park St at 4:15 pm. Light refreshments provided.
Owner/operator of Polyface Farms, Virginia
Tuesday, April 17, 7:30 pm, Herrick Chapel
"Can We Feed the World?"
Farming and Food Guru Joel Salatin to Speak at Grinnell
Self-described "environmentalist and capitalist" Joel Salatin, owner-operator of Polyface Farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, will visit Grinnell College on Tuesday, April 17, to address one of the most pressing questions of our day: "Can We Feed the World?"
Mr. Salatin is critical of the currently dominant system of agriculture and much of the food that comes from it, but he stands out among public intellectuals who address these topics, such as Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, and Eric Schlosser, because he is a full-time farmer (when he is not on a speaking tour). In fact, Mr. Salatin is a third generation alternative farmer with a B.A. in English who has been farming since 1982.
Mr. Salatin is the author of nine books, including HOLY COWS AND HOG HEAVEN: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food ; EVERYTHING I WANT TO DO IS ILLEGAL: War stories from the Local Food Front ; and THE SHEER ECSTASY OF BEING A LUNATIC FARMER. He is also a regular contributor to such magazines such as STOCKMAN GRASS FARMER, ACRES USA, and AMERICAN AGRICULTURALIST.
Joel Salatin not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. Today, Polyface Farm serves more than 3,000 families, 10 retail outlets and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey, and forestry products using relationship marketing. Salatin passionately defends small farms, local food systems, and the right to opt out of the conventional food paradigm.
Polyface Inc. ("The Farm of Many Faces") has been featured in SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, GOURMET and countless other radio, television and print media. It achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA by Michael Pollan, and it was featured most recently in the new documentary film, AMERICAN MEAT.
Mr. Salatin will speak at 7:30 in Herrick Chapel, 1128 Park Street, on the Grinnell College campus. His presentation is free and open to the public. On-street parking is available. Mr. Salatin's visit is sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies at Grinnell College and Practical Farmers of Iowa.
Woodland Wildflower Walk
Friday. April 27, 4:15 - 6:15 pm
Join us for a 0.5-mile hike in our oak-hickory forest to observe a myriad of spring wildflowers in bloom. Wildflower blooms that we expect to see include Dutchman's breeches, trout lilies, spring beauties, toothwort, mayapples, wild ginger, false rue anemone, prairie trilliums, woodland plox, Virginia bluebells, crowfoots, and Jack-in-the-pulpits. RSVP for transportation to Larissa at email@example.com or 641-269-4717. We'll meet at the parking light behind the John Chrystal Center at 6th Ave and Park St. at 4:15 pm. Light refreshments provided.
Fall 2011 Events
Prairie and Savanna Walk
Monday, September 12; 4:15 PM
Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA)
This tour will highlight flowering plants in our prairies and bur oak savannas. Some of the species often seen in bloom in mid-September include showy goldenrod, sky blue aster, hairy aster, upland white aster, rigid goldenrod, saw-tooth sunflower, great blue lobelia, and bottle gentian. Transportation to CERA will be provided; please RSVP to Larissa Mottl at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wear long pants, socks, and shoes. Light refreshments provided also.
Farm Tours: Mark and Robert Dimit Farms
Saturday, September 17; 9:00 am until noon
The Center for Prairie Studies will sponsor a tour of a modern Iowa family farm just outside of Grinnell. Our hosts will be Mark and Janet Dimit and Mark's father, Robert. Mark farms about 3,500 acres of corn and soybeans, about one-third of which he owns. Mark's operation is highly mechanized, relying on the latest machinery and technological innovations. He plants genetically modified crop varieties and applies chemicals as needed and judiciously. Robert's farm, which Mark helps run, includes livestock as well as crops, and we will be able to compare their operations. Mark was a panelist in last fall's corn symposium and is very knowledgeable about agricultural issues. This is an excellent opportunity to see and learn about conventional Midwestern commodity agriculture.
To reserve a space in one of the college vans that will shuttle people to the farm, please contact Jan Graham, program associate at the Center, at 269-4384 or email@example.com. (Note: we are aware that some fall classes at the college will be encouraged to go on this trip, so reserve your place early.)
Green Fire: Aldo Leopold Documentary
Monday, September 26; 7:00 PM, Science 2021
The first full-length, documentary film about Iowa-born conservationist Aldo Leopold. Green Fire shares highlights from his career, explaining how he shaped conservation and the modern environmental movement. It also illustrates how Leopold's vision of a community that cares about both people and land continues to inform and inspire people across the country and around the world.
Conversation: "Sustainable Agriculture in a Growing World: A View from the U.S. State Department"
Tuesday, October 11
2:15 pm – 3:15 pm, South Lounge
NOTE: due to Mr. Fernandez's limited availability, this event is unavoidably scheduled during class time by permission of Dean Paula Smith.
Jose W. Fernandez, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, will lead an informal discussion on Tuesday, October 11, on the prospects for sustainable agriculture in a growing world. Mr. Fernandez will briefly present his views about central issues in achieving a sustainable agriculture globally – biotechnology, post-harvest losses, gender roles -- and then answer questions and lead discussion of the topic with the audience.
Mr. Fernandez's visit is sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies and the Environmental Studies Concentration.
Orientation to Prescribed Burning
Monday, October 31, Jesse Macy House, room 103
4:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
This session will cover why, what, when, and how we conduct prescribed burns at CERA, and how you can volunteer to help. Participants are added to an email list for receiving notifications of upcoming burns. Pizza will be served, RSVPs to CERA manager, Larissa Mottl at 269-4717 or firstname.lastname@example.org are appreciated but not required.
"Roots Based Singer-Songwriter Performs in Grinnell" by Chris Vallillo
Saturday, November 5, 7:30 p.m., Grinnell Arts Center, 926 Broad Street
Tickets will be available free to the campus community beginning noon, Thursday, November 3rd at the Bucksbaum ticket office or by showig your college ID at the Grinnell Arts Center, 926 Broad Street.
Chris Vallillo is a nationally acclaimed singer-songwriter and instrumentalist with an affinity for American roots music. A skilled six-string and bottleneck slide guitarist who incorporates original and traditional material to form a musical portrait of the Midwestern way of life, Vallillo's songwriting has often been compared to the poems of Edgar Lee Masters, whose famous Spoon River Anthology depicted the complex struggles of Midwestern life in simple verse. Dirty Linen magazine describes his music as "vivid, original story songs" delivered with an "eye for detail and sense of history."
On Saturday, November 5, Vallillo will perform a combination of traditional and original songs in concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Grinnell Arts Center. Vallillo pulls the listener close with his honey tenor and dexterous instrumentalism, producing rich acoustic textures in bottleneck slide, finger, and flatpicked guitar styles that echo the influences of Mississippi John Hurt, Norman Blake, Doc Watson, and John Fahey. Chris collected many of the traditional songs that he performs from the last of the pre-radio generation in rural Illinois. He also plays harmonica, jaw harp, and hammer dulcimer.
Vallillo is also a talented song-writer. Perhaps the archeology degree Vallillo earned at Beloit College helped him see the important little details of life which imbue his songs with a sense of time and place. "The Final Harvest," "Walnut Fiddle," and "Driving Into the Storm" – all from his recent album, Best of All Possible Worlds – explore the challenges, heartbreaks, and triumphs of life lived close to the land, not only in the Midwest, but in any unmetropolitan part of the country.
Tickets for the concert, to be held at the Grinnell Arts Center and Gallery (the old Stewart Library building) at 926 Broad Street, will be available for free at the Bucksbaum ticket office starting at noon, on Thursday, November 3rd. Students can also obtain a ticket at the Grinnell Arts Center by showing their student I.D.
Illinois-based singer/songwriter, will perform a mixture of traditional and original songs relating to the everyday joys and sorrows of Midwestern lives, accompanying himself on guitar (folk and steel-string slide guitar) and with percussion accompaniment. Chris's appearance is co-sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies and the Grinnell Area Arts Council.
"How Will the Midwest Survive? Visions for the Future"
Is the Midwest declining or just hanging on? What must happen for it to thrive again? Does this matter for the rest of the country? These questions are the cornerstones of a three-day symposium sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies at Grinnell College with support from the Environmental Studies Concentration and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.
Fifteen years ago, in his bestselling book Broken Heartland, journalist Osha Gray Davidson wrote, "Formerly healthy, mostly middle-class communities throughout the Midwest, the small towns that have given the area its distinctive character since its settlement, are being transformed into rural ghettos – pockets of poverty, unemployment, violence, and despair that are becoming more and more isolated from the rest of the country. As the coastal economies have boomed, the Heartland has collapsed." A strikingly different assessment of the Midwest is offered by Robert Wuthnow in his 2011 book, Remaking the Heartland: Middle America Since the 1950s: "My central claim is that the American Middle West has undergone a strong, positive transformation since the 1950s . . . . The transformation that occurred here was largely beneficial, notwithstanding the fact that millions of people were displaced from their communities, because this displacement resulted in new opportunities for employment and a healthier relationship between the region and the rest of the nation."
Is the Midwest as a whole healthy, or is the region in trouble? What about its small towns, cities, political and educational institutions, its agricultural base, commerce, the natural environment, the health of its residents, or its fabled sense of community? What is the best course of action for the Midwest to follow in securing a future of vitality and prosperity?
This symposium will focus on alternative visions for the future of the Midwest, hoping in that way to inform conversations about policy choices, investment choices, and lifestyle choices. What should our farms look like in fifteen or twenty years? What will make our communities vibrant places in which to live and work? How should we foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and environmental health? Should we (and how should we) try to stop the outflow of jobs and population decline?
Tuesday, November 8
4:15 p.m., JRC 101 Francis Thicke, farmer, author, 2010 candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, "A New Vision for Midwest Food and Agriculture"
5:45 p.m., JRC 101 Buffet Dinner
7:00 p.m., JRC 101 Interview: "Visions for Rural Economic Development in the Midwest
Bill Menner, Director of Iowa Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture interviews
Kim Didier, Executive Director, Des Moines Area Community College Business Resources
Sandy Ehrig, Economic Develpoment Administrator Renew Rural Iowa/Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
Wednesday, November 9
7:30 p.m., ARH 102 Film: "A Little Salsa on the Prairie," 2007, 55 minutes, social and economic change in Perry, Iowa
Thursday, November 10
11:00 a.m., JRC 101 Richard Longworth, Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, two times Pulitzer Prize finalist, award-winning foreign correspondent for the
Chicago Tribune, author, "The Midwest's Future in the Age of Globalism"
4:15 p.m., JRC 101 Jay Walljasper, Fellow at On the Commons, contributing editor to National Geographic Traveler, former editor of The Utne Reader, author,
"Rediscovering the Commons to Boost the Heartlands Future"
Status and Future of Grinnell's Urban Forest
Thursday, November 17; 7:00 pm, Caulkins Community Room, Drake Library
Preliminary results of a project striving to map and inventory all of Grinnell's street trees will be presented and discussed with project collaborators.