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You can be a part of the Preserves, any time of year...

Biological Preserves Project Gallery 

Natural Areas Management and Prairie Education  

Tallgrass Prairie Center staff train students on a prescribed burn on Smith Prairie.   

Prairie Burn at Daryl Smith Prairie

Prairie Burn at Daryl Smith Prairie

Prairie Burn at Daryl Smith Prairie

    Several student organizations came out help cut and treat invading brush on Smith Prairie in Fall 2022.

Daryl Smith Prairie Brush Cleanup

Daryl Smith Prairie Brush Cleanup

Daryl Smith Prairie Brush Cleanup

‌Volunteers collect seed on the Preserves and other natural areas around campus. The Tallgrass Prairie Center shares the cleaned and packaged prairie seed at educational events across the Midwest.   

Father and Daughter collect seed

Students assist in cleaning seed

Seed packets used for outreach


UNI Science Education and Biology Courses 

Students from Inquiry to Life Sciences, a science education course, facilitate a K-12 learning activity. Roots Kerplunk simulates interconnected prairie roots capturing nutrient molecules. 

Beach ball Activity

Beach ball Activity

Beach ball Activity

Since mowing and trimming ceased at Sanders Garden in 2004, students in Ecology lab have monitored changes the process of natural succession. Each year more tree saplings grow up and shrubs expand, while animal activity changes.

Group of Students at Sanders Garden

Student preforming study at Sanders Garden

Students preforming a study

After removing woody vegetation in October 2022 and burning in April 2023, students in Biology of the Natural World and Restoration Ecology worked together during the final week of the Spring 2023 to spread prairie seed.  

Three UNI students spread seed from pails on top of a mound in Daryl Smith Prairie

One student smiles as she spreads seed from her pail

Two classes stand on top of the mound after completing work for the day


Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

Each summer, undergraduate students use the Biological Preserves to learn how to identify plants and native bees in training for their research projects. 

SURP Students monitoring pollinators

SURP Students prep for catching bees

SURP Students monitoring pollinators

Recent SURP Projects:  


Master's Theses 


Have you done a project in the Biological Preserves? Please share with us to be highlighted on the website.