Welcome to UNI's Biological Preserves
Over 60 years of preserving, restoring, and researching Iowa's natural plant and animal communities.
The University of Northern Iowa Biological Preserves System is an 88-acre complex of diverse natural and reconstructed habitats. With the adoption of Clay Prairie in the 1960’s, the Biological Preserves Program was initiated in 1970 after the appointment of a committee within the Department of Biology to develop, manage, and regulate the use of the system. Welcoming visitors in all seasons, the system includes 5.8 miles of regularly maintained trails winding through diverse landscapes and ecosystems including; mixed grass prairie, tall grass prairie, lowland forest, and upland forest.
Daryl Smith Prairie 50th Anniversary
2023 marks 50 years of tallgrass prairie restoration at UNI!
This year, Daryl Smith Prairie, a tallgrass prairie preserves, celebrates 50 years since installation. This 10 acre prairie has served countless faculty, students, and the larger Cedar Falls community throughout the years. It offers great biological diversity of native species, plants and animals alike.
Check back for information on a future celebration event!
Successional Woodland at Sanders Garden
Sanders Garden, in honor of Burton and Louise Sanders, was a Public Shrub Exhibit, established in 1985, with over 100 varieties of cultivated and native shrubs until 2003. Since then the Biology department has ceased maintenance to study and research the natural succession of the landscape.
Tallgrass Prairie at Daryl Smith Prairie Preserve
Daryl Smith Prairie Preserve, dedicated in 2019, is a 10-acre tract of tallgrass prairie restoration along W 29th Street. Dr. Smith was a professor in the Biology department serving on the Biological Preserves Committee during its conception and establishment in the 1970's. Read more about Dr. Smith here.
Off Campus Locations: Clay and Irvine Prairie
The University of Northern Iowa Foundation owns 100’s of acres of off-campus natural areas that include Clay Prairie, a small remnant of the original tallgrass prairie that used to dominate Iowa’s landscape. And Irvine Prairie, a tallgrass prairie restoration project facilitated by the Tallgrass Prairie Center.