Get Involved

There are multiple opportunities for students, faculty, and community members to get involved with the Biological Preserves!

Biological Preserves Project Gallery 

Volunteering at the Biological Preserves  

A group of volunteers and Tallgrass Prairie Center Staff facilitate a prescribed burn in Daryl Smith Prairie Preserves in 2022.  

Prairie Burn at Daryl Smith Prairie

Prairie Burn at Daryl Smith Prairie

Prairie Burn at Daryl Smith Prairie

A group of volunteer and Tallgrass Prairie Center Staff cut and treat brush that encroaches on Daryl Smith Prairie in 2022. 

Daryl Smith Prairie Brush Cleanup

Daryl Smith Prairie Brush Cleanup

Daryl Smith Prairie Brush Cleanup

‌Volunteers assist with seed collection at Daryl Smith Prairie and other tallgrass prairie around campus. They then have the opportunity to help clean and package the seed. Small packets are distributed at events across Iowa to encourage tallgrass prairie restoration!  

Father and Daughter collect seed

Students assist in cleaning seed

Seed packets used for outreach


Coursework at the Biological Preserves 

Students from Inquiry to Life Sciences, a Science Education course, facilitate a K-12 learning activity. Roots Kerplunk simulates interconnected prairie roots (the rope) capturing nutrient molecules (the beach balls)! 

Beach ball Activity

Beach ball Activity

Beach ball Activity

Since 2005, Dr. Laura Jackson's Ecology course has spent time studying ecological succession at Sanders Garden. Students investigate changes as tree saplings grow up and shrubs expand. They measure these changes, monitor light levels, and watch for signs of animal activity, comparing their year of study to the previous!

Group of Students at Sanders Garden

Student preforming study at Sanders Garden

Students preforming a study

In spring of 2023, students in Biology of the Natural World and Restoration Ecology classes worked together to re-seed the mound in Daryl Smith Prairie. Work seen above in the Volunteer section highlights removal of invasive woody vegetation that encroached the prairie, this removal opened space on the ground plane and created opportunity to restore prairie species. 

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 train their plant identification and bee collecting skills. 

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!