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Restored Prairie

Sarah Borzo, Education and Outreach Coordinator for Metro Waste Authority, describes what a restored prairie is and their importance to ecosystems.

Metro Waste Authority Environmental Learning Center, Runnells, Iowa

Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions

  • What happened to Iowa’s original prairies?
  • How can you create a restored prairie?
  •  Why is any kind of prairie important to have and maintain?

Classroom Suggestions

  • Survey plant and animal species in a prairie plot.
  • Develop a food web based upon plant and animal species found in prairies.
  • Compare and contrast restored prairie areas, lawns and unmanaged areas (speciation, water quality, invasive species, etc.).
  • Field trip to the Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge or another accessible prairie preserve.
  • Design, develop and create a restored prairie for your school.

Related Resources

  • Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge: This website provides information on plants and animals at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Build-A-Prairie, presented by Bell LIVE!: This game allows students to choose to restore a tallgrass or shortgrass prairie. During each section of the game, they will be asked what plants or animals they would like to bring to their prairie site (includes invasive species, endangered species).
  • Teachers: Exploring the Prairie Overview: This teacher overview of several related PBL lesson plans about prairies ties history standards with Iowa-based phenomena and implications.

Iowa Core Alignment

Earth and Space Science
Disciplinary Core Idea
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity

Credit Info

Submitted by Karla St. John and Amber Fairbanks as part of their Iowa STEM Teacher Externship experience at Iowa PBS.

Location and information courtesy of Metro Waste Authority.

Media produced by Iowa PBS.


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