Making A Difference

With your generous contributions, PRAS is making a difference. 
Membership fees and generous donations to PRAS allow us to support many different initiatives in our service area. These projects are certainly making a difference to our communities, the environment, and bird life. Want to contribute? Make a donation today...any and all donations are appreciated!



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2021 PRAS Grant Awards
Prairie Rapids Audubon Society would like to thank everyone who paid dues and made donations to PRAS.  The goal of these grants and gifts is to provide a resource for projects that are in line with the mission of PRAS to develop an appreciation for birds along with preserving and conserving nature for people today and for future generations.

Black Hawk County (Hartman Reserve Nature Center) - $1000 for outdoor large scale bird nest model (ADA accessible) involving playscape stations.  This will be located next to the bird feeding station and pollinator parkway.

Bremer County - $1000 to purchase technology (swivl tool, etc.) for presenting virtual educational programs to various groups in Bremer County.

Butler County (Heery Woods Nature Center) - $500 for bird house building supplies.

Buchanan County (Fontana Nature Center) - $1000 for tree plantings in the new bison and prairie exhibit.

City of Denver, Iowa - $500 for various bird friendly projects including: bird and pollinator recognition signage; city bird finder using GPS functions to locate ceramic bird IDs; seeding for the future where seeds are mixed into mud balls and thrown into ditches and along trails; monarch waystation program.

Denver Public Library's Facebook post, June 21, 2021:


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Our library garden is an official Monarch Waystation. Monarch Waystations provide milkweed, nectar plants, and shelter for monarchs throughout their annual cycle of reproduction and migration. Thank you to the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society for their support in helping the library achieve this goal and their continued support of projects in the Denver community.













Hawkins Memorial Library-LaPorte City, Iowa - $500 The money they received will be used to purchase children’s books, games and puppets pertaining to birds.  These items will be used in future children’s programs.  It is never too early to educate children about our avian friends.

Jolene Kronschnabel, Library Director (left) and PRAS Board member, Charlene Heiar


Black Hawk County Soil and Water Conservation District - $500 for water quality monitoring project at Dry Run Creek.

Bird Flight Concert Video - $150 to be used by PRAS for education linking bird flight patterns, music patterns, and STEM education topics.

"Song on a Wire" - Wikimedia Commons
Bird Flight Patterns and Music Concert Program
You are now able to access the online concert video and curriculum (see link and password below-posted with permission by the copyright holder).
The link provides the full concert video and online curriculum with activities, lessons, extra musical performances, composer interviews and educational games. 
This resource will remain active through June 2022 (for one year), so utilize it for your programs, personal edification working with your children or grandchildren to teach them about music and birds!

Password:  BFPMC  (case sensitive)


Waterloo Center for the Arts - $50 to purchase prizes for "Everybirdie Welcome" event.

Fontana Nature Center - $100 for PRAS sponsorship of a Red-tailed Hawk.

Hartman Nature Center - $250 for Bricks for Birds located at the ADA accessible pollinator parkway and bird feeding station area. See photos below for a memorial stone for longtime PRAS Board member/former president, Dick Lynch. 2nd photo is for the live nest cam technology in the Hartman Visitor's Center.






2020 PRAS Grant Awards

First, I would like to thank everyone who paid dues and made donations to PRAS. The goal of these grants and gifts is to provide a resource for projects that are in line with the mission of PRAS to develop an appreciation for birds along with preserving and conserving nature for people today and for future generations. -- Dennis Schmadeke, Grants Coordinator

The following is a list and brief description of projects to which our grants and gifts were awarded.
  • Black Hawk County (Hartman Reserve Nature Center) - $270 to develop exhibits and engagements geared especially to young children. Specifically, a large-scale portable bird nest with many cloth and poly-fill eggs of different native Iowa bird species.
  • Bremer County Conservation Board - $500 to purchase educational supplies for programs including interactive props, birding supplies and pond nets.
  • Butler County (Heery Woods Nature Center) - $1000 to provide funding for the expansion of the nature center new classroom, additional exhibit space and program materials.


  • Buchanan County Conservation Board - $1000 to provide funding to purchase kayaks to give participants an opportunity to view birds and other wildlife along waterways. Also provide opportunities to talk about Iowa waterways as well as getting into kayak fishing.
  • Denver Public Library - $750 to purchase binoculars and field guides to create four birding backpacks that could be checked out from the library for a one-week period of time. They also would like to develop a hummingbird garden by the library.
  • Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation - $500 to provide funds for food and supplies for birds and other wildlife that have been rescued.
  • Jon Stravers - $500 to continue his research on Cerulean Warblers. Jon is an ornithologist in McGregor, Iowa who has spent years researching birds and has been a guest program speaker at our PRAS monthly meetings. Cerulean Warbler Populations Steady in NE Iowa details the results of Straver's research.
  • City of Denver, Iowa - $100 to pay for their first application fee on becoming a Bird Friendly Iowa city. Denver became a BFI city just this year.
  • Iowa Young Birders - $100 donation for young Iowans ages 8-18 to study and enjoy birds and birding. They offer many field trips all around Iowa. 
  • Bird ID wheel -$100 to purchase materials to construct a spinning wheel to be used for educational purposes.
  • Collidescape - $100 to purchase window strike tape samples. You will be able see these at our monthly PRAS meetings.
Total grant monies awarded: $4,920.00

2019 PRAS Grant Awards
  • Black Hawk County received $540 for rubbing plates, posts to mount plates and Olympic signs to be installed adjacent to the interpretive bird walk with interactive displays in the bird area at Hartman Reserve Nature Center.
  • The Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project received $500 for lead test kits that will help diagnose poisoning in raptors and waterfowl.
  • Bremer County received $750 to fund the purchase one kayak, one paddle and one life jacket to develop canoeing/kayaking programs initially for children on field trips and outdoor days.  They want to have a fleet of 6-8 kayaks and open programs to general public and adults. See the thank you note  and photos.
  • Buchanan County received $1000 to build an interactive kiosk at Fontana Park Nature Center.  The kiosk will feature a video of nature in area parks and natural areas.
  • At our September PRAS meeting, three articulate young Girl Scouts shared information about the Silver Award project they completed over the summer. The project consisted of the girls working with local blacksmith to create an iron tree that holds 20 bird feeders This structure will be featured in the Canfield Bird Garden in George Wyth State Park. Each young woman also did research on their favorite bird and enjoyed learning about avian species. 
  • Butler County received $1000 to create a basic tree identification exhibit at Heery Woods Nature Center. The exhibit will feature a mural with panels professionally painted. (See second photo below).
Building a nest box - Butler County - Heery Woods Nature Center

Mural and bird nest box building project.

Heery Woods Nature Center Open House Bird Nesting Box Build

2018 PRAS Grant Awards: 
  • Butler County: $800 for bird house building project. Materials for Peterson style bluebird, wren and kestrel boxes will be purchased for partnering with school children and 4-H clubs who will build & take the boxes to be installed around the county.
  • Bremer County: $575 for Epson wireless projector and speakers for programs. Programs will be done in area libraries, nursing homes, etc.
  • Buchanan County: $950 for a new hands on exploration wetlands exhibit at Fontana Nature Center.
  • Orange Elementary School: $405 for supplies for a beehive to pollinate the maturing prairie at the school and more native plants.
  • Hardin County: $500 for optics to be used to monitor wildlife responses, including bird species, to management techniques. The observations garnered will be used to make more informed habitat management decisions.

2017 PRAS Grant Awards:

  • New bird feeders at Cedar Valley Hospice were purchased; PRAS volunteers fill the feeders routinely throughout the year.
  • $500 was awarded to Jon Stravers to continue Cerulean Warbler research in NE Iowa. Straver's research is critical to the conservation of this species and helped to secure part of the Yellow River Forest being named as a globally important bird area.
  • Funds were awarded to Hartman Reserve to cover taxidermy fees for a bird display being built for their new building.
  • Buchanan Co. for a winter duck and raptor building-$1,000
  • Buchanan Co. for an egg display-$500
  • Butler Co. for phase 1 of a sod house-$1,000 (actual cost is $1,093)
  • Black Hawk Co. for a nest cam exhibit-$500Bremer Co. for 40 bluebird houses along Sweetwater Trail-$500; read thank you note from Heather Gamm, Bremer County Naturalist 

Bluebird boxes along Sweetwater Trail, Tripoli, IA


Bluebird box along Sweetwater Trail, Tripoli IA

2016 PRAS Grant Awards
Thanks to your generosity, the 2015 Bird-A-Thon broke records with over $7000 raised. The PRAS Board recently awarded grants to the following projects, putting your donations to good use. All of the counties in our PRAS service area had organizations that received funding this year.  A total of $5650 was awarded; congratulations to those who received grants!
  • Bremer County Conservation Board - Canoe trailer - $500 -- See more details here.
    PRAS funds contributed in the completion of a new canoe trailer for Bremer County. 




  • Grundy County Conservation Board- Prairie cross-section exhibit - $1000
  • Black Hawk County - Hartman Reserve - 10 binoculars - $500  See report & photo.
Buchanan County Conservation Board- Buckets for Butterflies
  • Buchanan County Conservation Board - $500 for eagle carrier & funds for the "Buckets for Butterflies" project  See report and photos.
  • Butler County Conservation Board - 20 binoculars - $650 See report.
  • Waterloo Center for the Arts - Nature camp for youth - $500
  • Sustainable Independence - PRAS purchased one solar panel - $1,000
  • Hardin County Conservation Board- Birding tower next to the observation deck at Pintail Wetlands - $1000 
    Pintail Wetlands, Hardin County
    Pintail Wetlands, Hardin County
Read about the other projects that your generous donations allowed us to support: