Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Reminiscing Hayden Prairie

We headed south last week, a few miles into northwest Iowa. Near Lime Springs is a remnant of Americas frontier past. A 300 acre plot of never tilled land. Its called Hayden Prairie.
Named after Ada Hayden, who was the first woman to receive a doctorate at Iowa State College (now called Iowa State University). Her doctorate was earned in 1918, making her the fourth student, male or female, to obtain a Ph.D. at Iowa State College. In 1920 she was appointed Assistant Professor of Botany at Iowa State. Teaching probably occupied a great deal of her time until 1934, when her appointment was changed to a research position in the Agriculture Experiment Station.
She devoted herself to prairie preservation and research. She wrote 29 papers, most dealing with Iowa flora. She campaigned for a system of prairie preserves.

You have to get up close and personal to spot the hundreds of different wildflowers, as they change with each passing season. Naturally, I brought my binoculars so I didn't miss any. On this particular day I was specifically looking for gray-headed coneflowers. Also sunflowers were also on my list as I heard there were hundreds  of varieties. Now where are they?
Perhaps Baron might spot a few. He has a nose for finding things.
Wait somebody else in on the path. It's Joe Pye(weed)!

Putting my binocs down I noticed the gray-headed coneflowers all around me. And stretching far into the distance.

Walking further down the path, I saw a bunch of blazing stars... and its wasn't even dark yet!
Swamp Milkweed one of  the wildflower paparazzi's (Mrs. T's) many targets.
Although full professor status was denied her, and she received little public recognition for her accomplishments, she continued to work for what she believed in until her death in 1950. During her time at Iowa State, she collected over 30,000 plant specimens for the herbarium and also sent many duplicates to other institutions. Hayden Prairie is a remarkable place and its naming is a fitting tribute to a remarkable woman. Way to go Iowa!


  1. Great that Ada Hayden was recognised by naming the prairie after her. I love stories like this.

  2. What a treat to find this place and all of the indigenous flowers.

  3. I am glad that she was finally recognized for her accomplishments. I also love hearing stories like this one. :-)

  4. Dear Troutbirder, thank you for sharing this excursion of yours to a place I've never heard of. I'm so glad the prairie was named after this valiant woman--Ada Hayden. Peace.

  5. I am so glad she got some recognition with the naming of the prairie. I am always amazed at women who flourished in fields that they were generally banned from. Today with all the opportunities women are offered, we owe the likes of Ada Hayden.

  6. Thanks for the glimpse of the untrammeled prairie. From reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a kid to trying to imagine how Native Americans lived to hearing it invoked by Garrison Keillor, the prairie has always had for me a legendary status, so it's fascinating and exciting to see what it looks like in its natural state.

    Thirty thousand damn species. Damn. I wish I had the kind of comprehensive knowledge of plants as you and she. How many of those make you sneeze, I wonder. I'll be lucky to know what kind of tree falls on me and kills me.

  7. What fun it would have been to follow her around for a day on that prairie:)

  8. Ms Hayden looks like such a sweet young lady. Isn't it amazing to think there is virgin land in the Midwest that has never been plowed? I think you picked a perfect day to visit.

  9. Hi Troutbirder! Wow, I sure enjoy your posts about our prairie lands. When I first found your blog, several years ago, the thing that caught my attention was your interest in Yellowstone and Montana. As time has gone by, it has been so neat to see that you are also interested in the prairie lands. I sure enjoyed your report on your visit to Hayden Prairie. I appreciate the way you give us the background in addition to your photography. I enjoyed this post so much that I had to go back and take another look at earlier posts you did on the prairies. Lots of great photos to enjoy in those posts! For the benefit of anyone else wanting to go back and look at those posts, here is a list from recent years:
    Monday, August 31, 2015: Two Prairies
    Saturday, August 23, 2014: Shooting Star Bike Trail
    Tuesday, April 22, 2014: Where The Sky Began - Land of the Tall Grass Prairie
    Sunday, June 30, 2013: Prairie Smoke
    Tuesday, May 24, 2011: Touch The Sky Prairie
    Thursday, September 9, 2010: Blue Mounds.
    Thanks for all those posts!

  10. A great find indeed, and what lovely photos too. Thanks for sharing.

  11. What a lovely day out. I have always loved wild flowers and I get very upset when people call them weeds!

  12. Another post with interesting facts ! I learn so much by following you.