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Upcoming Events

Saturday, June 23, 10:45 AM (Note: Time Change!): Prairie Walk at Bobwhite State Park, Wayne County –Led by Wayne Co. Conservation Naturalist Hannah Wiltamuth. Walk the Prairie Trail at the state park and learn about prairie plants and birds and restoration work done in the area. Hosted by SIOSA and Wayne Co. Conservation.

Sunday, July 22, 10:30 AM – 12 noon at Slip Bluff County Park, Decatur County — Monarch and Milkweed Monitoring. Monitoring for Monarchs, milkweeds and nectar plants was done at Slip Bluff County Park at three areas of the park in 2016 and one area of the park in 2017. In 2018, monitoring using the Monarch Larval Monitoring Project protocol will continue with a field day for the public to learn about the monitoring and participate. Monarch density and milkweed density studies will be done on the east side of the lake and possibly in the East Oak Savanna area. A list of flowering plants will also be made. Educational materials will be provided. Drinks and snacks will be provided. Email if you plan to participate.

Next SIOSA board meeting

The next regular SIOSA meeting is Wednesday, April 4 at 1:00 pm.  We will be meeting at the Clarke County Conservation Board headquarters at East Lake Park.  The park is located just east of Osceola on Hwy 34.

Field Journal 2018 – May 13

Saturday, May 12, 2018 @ 11:05 AM
posted by veronica

Morel Season

By Sibylla Brown, Timberhill Oak Savanna

Morels Fruiting in Oak Hickory Woodland

In the thirty years that my husband Bill and I have been collecting morel mushrooms on our farm in Decatur County, Iowa, the 2018 season was the shortest ever.   Once these elusive fungi begin fruiting the season usually continues for two to four weeks.  But not this year. Our season only lasted ten days, from April 27 until May 7.  And we only collected enough for two recipes:  Morel and Asparagus Frittata and Roasted Veal Chops with morels.

The problem with morels is that conditions have to be just right for them to fruit. It takes quite a bit of rainfall, 53-degree soil temperature, and a couple of days of warm daytime temperatures to stimulate fruiting.  I don’t know whether to blame the record-setting cold weather the first three weeks of April or the lack of adequate precipitation for  our poor harvest.  The coldest monthly average April temperature used to be 43.0” F.  Last month it was a record-setting 42.3’ F.  Average April precipitation is 3.62”.    We had only twenty percent of that.  Between May 1 and May 4 we had .96” rain and then it turned hot and dry with no more precipitation until May 11.  (Morel fruiting always shuts down in hot, dry weather.)  

Morels in Mayapple Patch


At Timberhill, morels usually fruit in several locations: in prairie openings with scrub shingle oak,  in mayapple patches in the oak and hickory woodland west of our pond, in areas associated with dead elm or cottonwood , and in the elm, hackberry, and silver maple woodland along Brush Creek.  This year they only fruited in a West Creek prairie and in a mayapple patch in the Hickory Grove.

With chanterelle mushroom (another prize edible) season only a few weeks away I’m hoping the June weather will be more cooperative. 

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