"We couldn't have been happier with the turnout," said Scott Moats, the Iowa chapter's director of land stewardship and site manager. "Our Broken Kettle Grasslands is an important feature in the heritage of the Siouxland and we were delighted to share it with our friends and neighbors."
The Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve is the largest remaining prairie preserve in Iowa, said Moats, noting that bison were gone from the Iowa landscape by 1870. But, Moats added, not only is the 70- plus animal herd historically significant, the bison's movements and grazing habits are important to maintaining the Broken Kettle prairie's plant and animal diversity.
Seeing bison up close is a rare event for the public, said Moats, noting the animals are not comfortable around groups of people.
However, the opportunity to see the bison was so popular, the Conservancy added additional bus and hayride trips to the schedule to accommodate more visitors, Moats said.
Besides the bison viewing rides, the Conservancy and local volunteers offered a variety of other events, These included plant hikes, children's activities, as well as photography, aquatic and reptile life, and prescribed fire workshops. Two Girl Scout Troops from the nearby Joy Hollow Girl Scout Camp also assisted as volunteers.