Annual Reports



Download Full Text (3.3 MB)


From our director:

The roots of the Tallgrass Prairie Center go back to the 1980s, when UNI Biology Professor Daryl Smith began to collaborate with the Black Hawk County Secondary Roads Department. It was passion for prairie, combined with practicality, that drove this unusual partnership. Then in 1988, the Iowa Legislature wrote a powerful idea into the Iowa code: that it is in the public interest to manage Iowa’s roadsides for multiple purposes using ecological principles.

The Native Roadside Vegetation Center at UNI was formed to meet the practical challenges of that idea. Subsequently renamed the Tallgrass Prairie Center, we empower people to value and restore resilient, diverse tallgrass prairie. Our audience has expanded beyond county roadside managers to include county decision makers, native seed producers and buyers, federal natural resource agencies, conservation professionals, farmers, and landowners.

We could claim our mission is important because of the need to sequester carbon, improve water quality or restore pollination services. All true. But unlike these abstract ecosystem services, it is possible to love a prairie, to participate in its rich cycles of life, and to be elevated by that relationship.

Document Type



Tallgrass Prairie Center--Periodicals; Prairie restoration--Iowa--Periodicals;

Publication Date




File Format


2021-2022 Tallgrass Prairie Center Highlights