On the Radio: Educating Iowans about prairie plant ecosystems


Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. (Rachel Gardner/Flickr)
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. (Rachel Gardner/Flickr)
July 27, 2015

This week’s On the Radio segment looks at outreach efforts by CGRER member Laura Jackson to educate Iowans about prairie plant ecosystems. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Transcript: Educating Iowans about prairie plant ecosystems

Communicating dense scientific material to the public can be a challenge.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

As part of her responsibilities as the director of the Tallgrass Prairie Center at the University of Northern Iowa, Laura Jackson takes part in public outreach efforts that aim to educate Iowans about prairie plant ecosystems.

Jackson has partnered with the Living Roadway Trust Fund for the past year on this project. Jackson and her team have displays of root systems in 20 Iowa counties.

Jackson: “So we grow these things in big 10-foot-deep pots in a special growth medium, and fertilize them and water them. Then we preserve them so they can be displayed in education settings. It’s giving us an opportunity to start a conversation about ecosystem processes and what it means to have a diverse perennial root system in the ground as opposed to an annual row cross system.

For more information about Jackson’s efforts, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

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