• An open vista frames two white grave stone and a flag in the distance with a white cottage in the foreground.

    Herbert Hoover

    National Historic Site Iowa

Visitors Can Discover Tallgrass Prairie This September Through Ranger-guided Walks and Volunteering

Orange and black butterfly feeds on pinkish-purple flower.
Monarch butterflies may be found feeding on New England asters in the park's 81-acre tallgrass prairie.
NPS Photo

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News Release Date: August 22, 2011
Contact: Adam Prato, (319) 643-7855

WEST BRANCH, IOWA-Visitors to Herbert Hoover National Historic Site will have a couple of different opportunities this September to experience the park's 81-acre tallgrass prairie. "September is one of the most brilliant months in the prairie," said park superintendent Pete Swisher. "It's when flocks of monarch butterflies may be found among yellow goldenrods and purple asters. Our ranger-guided walks and volunteer projects are good opportunities for people to bring their questions about the prairie and the park, and to learn in more detail about our natural and cultural resources."

On Labor Day Monday, September 5 at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site national park rangers will lead guided walks of the 81-acre tallgrass prairie. Visitors can discover how and why the National Park Service is restoring this endangered habitat as part of the landscape commemorating Herbert Hoover's life. The walk is less than a mile and lasts about one hour. The walks will start at 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Meet at the Gravesite Parking Lot. Bring water, dress for the weather, and wear comfortable walking shoes. Water, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and insect repellent are recommended. Parking is limited so please allow extra time to find a parking space.

On Saturday, September 24, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site will participate in National Public Lands Day with a volunteer project in the 81-acre tallgrass prairie. Volunteers are needed to help remove trees, shrubs, and weeds from the grassland, or with other projects to improve the park landscape. Volunteers interested in helping on September 24 may contact Adam Prato at (319) 643-7855. Work in the prairie will be from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Meet at the Visitor Center at 8:30 a.m. for an orientation and to get signed up. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable work clothes. Water, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and insect repellent are recommended. Long pants and closed-toe footwear are required.

By the time of Herbert Hoover's birth in 1874, the tallgrass prairie in eastern Iowa was already mostly converted to farmland. The National Park Service began reconstructing the endangered habitat at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in the 1970s. The deep-rooted native prairie plants help control erosion and runoff in the national park that is the home to Herbert Hoover's birthplace, gravesite, and Presidential Library and Museum. The prairie also provides open space and a natural setting to commemorate Herbert Hoover's contributions conserving public lands. During Hoover's presidency, the size of our national forests expanded by more than two million acres, and the land designated for new national parks and monuments increased by 40 percent.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are in West Branch, Iowa at exit 254 off I-80. Both are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. Parking is limited so please allow extra time to find a parking space. For more information about visiting go online to www.nps.gov/heho or call (319) 643-2541.

Did You Know?

Black and white photo of Herbert Hoover fly-fishing in a river.

Herbert Hoover was an avid fisherman. He'd often don a jacket, tie, and hat along with his waders and gear while fly-fishing. "All men are equal before fish," he wrote. More...