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!

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.

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 the wheel to be used at PRAS meetings and other educational programs in our area.

Collidescape - $100 to purchase window strike tape samples. You will be able see these at our monthly PRAS meetings.

Total grant monies awarded this spring: $4920.

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.

Kayaks - Bremer County CCB
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.

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

Canfield Bird Garden-Girl Scout Silver Award

At our September PRAS meeting, three articulate young Girl Scouts shared information about the Silver Award 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. See the recent Courier article to learn more. PRAS is proud to have supported this project. 

PRAS Grant Awards for Spring 2018: Funds awarded= $3,230
  • 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.
Your donations at work-Fall 2017
  • 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.
PRAS Grant Awards for Spring 2017: Funds awarded= $3,593.00
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

Grant Awards for Spring 2016
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.
  • Hardin County Conservation Board- Birding tower next to the observation deck at Pintail Wetlands - $1000 
    Pintail Wetlands, Hardin County
    Pintail Wetlands, Hardin County
  • 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

Read about the other projects that your generous donations allowed us to support: