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Fall 2021 / iloveinspired.com

“Iowa used to be covered in prairie. If you had come here 200 years ago, you would find prairie plants growing along this same river,” Decorah Park-Rec Director Andy Nimrod says. And if you had come here 20 years ago, even, things would have looked different than today. The 35-acre public park will celebrate its 20th birthday – or seed-day – in the coming year. “What we have now is more of a cultivated prairie, but in a sense, we’ve circled back to the way things were,” Andy says. The Decorah City Council first discussed converting this floodplain to parkland in the fall of 2001. Guided by Terry Haindfield, a wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, organizers drafted plans for an 11acre grass filter strip bordered by 24 acres of native plants. The first seeds were scattered in spring 2002.

More than 100 community volunteers joined Andy and his Park-Rec colleagues to plant the prairie that spring. Newspaper coverage of those early efforts shows a mix of local businesspeople, Luther employees, Master Gardeners and area families – including Andy’s daughter, who was a toddler at the time. This fall, she’ll be a senior in college. “We all met down there on a couple of different Saturday mornings and got the plants going. At first, we just threw the seeds out there to see what would grow, and then we went in with little potted plants called ‘plugs.’ We spent a lot of time planting plugs and mulching them after we had seeded everything down,” he says. That initial seed mix included 73 species of diverse prairie flowers and grasses. For the designated butterfly garden area, planners

Profile for Inspire(d) Media

Inspire(d) Fall 2021  

Change is Good! Inspire(d)’s 14th Anniversary Issue! • Decorah Prairie • Community Builders: Craig & Sara Neuzil • Melissa Wray • Josh Herte...

Inspire(d) Fall 2021  

Change is Good! Inspire(d)’s 14th Anniversary Issue! • Decorah Prairie • Community Builders: Craig & Sara Neuzil • Melissa Wray • Josh Herte...

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