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MidAmerican Energy News

Unique Big Sand Mound Nature Preserve to open for triennial field day

DES MOINES, Iowa – (May 23, 2018) – MidAmerican Energy Company and Monsanto Company, which jointly own a unique 510-acre preserve near Muscatine, will open the refuge to the public one day next month for the triennial Big Sand Mound Field Day.

The Big Sand Mound Nature Preserve’s undisturbed habitats, including open prairies, shallow ponds and woodlands will be open to the public Saturday, June 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Two early morning tours, including a guided birdwatching session and a combined natural history and nature photography session, begin promptly at 5:30 a.m.

The preserve features more than 400 types of plants, including prickly pear cactuses, and reptiles such as the endangered yellow mud turtle. Once every three years, the public can tour the sand prairie’s unusual and diverse environment at the Big Sand Mound Nature Preserve, south of Muscatine. The preserve is generally not open to the public because of its fragile ecosystem. The next public field day will be in 2021.

“Big Sand Mound is an Iowa environmental treasure,” Jenny McIvor, vice president, environmental programs for MidAmerican Energy, said. “Environmental respect is one of our company’s core principles. We’re proud of our efforts to protect and preserve this unique space that many amazing plants and creatures call home,” McIvor added. “We encourage the public to experience our field day, because it’s a rare opportunity to see something extraordinary for this area.”

How to register, obtain schedule of events
Participants can take short guided walking tours or rugged three-hour hikes. Participants can also take part in various sessions with topics including birds, amphibians, butterflies, insects, arrowheads, lichens and prairie management. Activities for kids include archery, wetland wading and a scavenger hunt.

A complete schedule, downloadable registration form, and map are available at muscatinecountyconservation.com. To register, download the form and pay by check or call 888-336-3907 and pay by phone. The downloadable form also offers an online registration option.

Registration is $15 per person for adults and youth 13 and over (12 and under are free), and includes a field guide, doughnut or roll, and a beverage. Participants are encouraged to take a bag lunch, as lunch is not provided.

Advance phone or mail registration and fees are due by Friday, June 1. Participants can also register and pay by cash-only on the day of the event. Registration is limited to 250 people.

Big Sand Mound history
While developing the nearby Louisa Generating Station in Muscatine in 1977, MidAmerican Energy set aside 420 acres for an environmental preserve after site evaluations indicated an ecosystem not typically found in Iowa. In 1981, Monsanto Company added another 90 acres, and together these areas became the Big Sand Mound Nature Preserve. A committee oversees the property to study, preserve and protect Big Sand Mound’s unique ecological community.

About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company is an energy provider serving 770,000 electric customers and 751,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available on the company’s website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed at MidAmerican Energy Company's website.