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Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2015

Conservation groups dedicate prairie to former ISU professor

Thursday, October 3, 2013

(Photo)
The Nature Conservancy's board chair, Lee Schoenewe (far left), Jean Day and family (center) and The Nature Conservancy's Iowa State director, Jan Glendening (far right) after the Dr. Lois Tiffany Prairie dedication ceremony. The engraved stone pictured was purchased by The Nature Conservancy to mark the spot for visitors.
(Photo submitted)
Family, friends, The Nature Conservancy Iowa, Iowa Prairie Network and Iowa Native Plant Society all turned out for the dedication of Dr. Lois Tiffany Prairie outside of Linn Grove on Sunday.

Dr. Lois Tiffany was a professor at Iowa State University, where she taught mycology and field botany. Tiffany was also well known for her research involving fungi and fungal diseases of native plants.

"We had an anonymous donor make a gift to purchase this prairie," Ash Bruxvoort, philanthropy coordinator with The Nature Conservancy in Iowa, said. "She was a student of Dr. Lois Tiffany. She was always very inspired by Dr. Tiffany and always wanted to name a prairie or preserve after her."

Tiffany's daughter, Jean Day, of New Providence, said she and her family appreciated the gift.

(Photo)
The Nature Conservancy's director of conservation programs, Susane Hickey (left) and Deb Lewis, curator of the Ada Hayden Herbarium, identify different plants found in the Dr. Lois Tiffany Prairie. Funds to purchase the 80 acres of protected tall grass prairie were donated by an anonymous donor, who was a former student of Dr. Lois Tiffany.
(Photo submitted)
"It was very kind that a former student would donate funds to purchase this, and whoever they are, we think it is just wonderful that they did this, and we're thrilled," Day said. "We really appreciate this."

According to Day, the preservation of the prairie is a fitting tribute to her mother, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 85.

"She used to teach at the Lakeside Lab and collected from some of the prairies and preserves in this area," Day explained. "She was up at Caylor Prairie near Okoboji collecting specimens a month before she died. I'm just very excited and happy. This is just wonderful. This was her whole life; plants, fungi and encouraging conservation."

The ceremony Sunday went beyond dedicating the parcel of tall grass prairie in Tiffany's name.

"The focus today was not just honoring Dr. Lois Tiffany, but her inspiration to other Iowa female scientists," Bruxvoort said.

"She was one of the first women active in the sciences to teach at Iowa State," Day said.

The section of tall grass prairie will serve to continue Tiffany's mission to teach others about nature.

"She stayed active all of her life teaching and encouraging people to learn about nature and plants," Day said. "It's a beautiful area, and I hope people will come out to see it and learn about the area."

The Dr. Lois Tiffany Prairie is part of approximately 570 acres of prairie The Nature Conservancy of Iowa protects and manages in the Little Sioux Valley. This new addition of protected prairie could yield a "rare plant species."

"It is a known site for the western prairie fringed orchid, which is a rare plant species," Bruvoort explained. "We feel, with proper management, we will find it on the preserve."

The Dr. Lois Tiffany Prairie is located about two and half miles west of Linn Grove on Clay County Road 51. The Nature Conservancy of Iowa purchased an engraved dedication stone to mark the spot for visitors.



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