Bioreactor and Monarch Habitat Field Day near Washington

August 8, 2019, 11:16 am | Elizabeth Ripley

Rob Stout.AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms will host a bioreactor and monarch habitat field day on Thursday, Aug. 29, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Rob Stout’s farm near Washington. The event is held in partnership with Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and National Wildlife Foundation. It is free, open to families and includes a complimentary meal sponsored by Iowa Corn.

The field day begins with a demonstration of the Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Station On The Edge trailer highlighting what occurs underground in a bioreactor and saturated buffer. Washington County farmer Rob Stout will lead attendees to one of the first bioreactors in the area that was installed in 2014 and discuss the installation process and results of the first five years of water monitoring.

Taylor Shirley, Iowa State graduate research assistant in the department of natural resources and ecology management, will share information about ongoing pheasants and quail research being conducted on the Stout farm. Holly Schutt, Pheasants Forever wildlife biologist, will be providing information on establishing and maintaining monarch habitat and how to find areas on your farm that can help provide habitat.

Edge of field practices like bioreactors, wetlands and saturated buffers are key to reducing nitrate loss from agricultural land in Iowa. Through a natural biological process microorganisms living in the systems use the incoming nitrate for respiration and reduce the nitrate levels from incoming tile drainage, helping reach the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals. In addition to water quality benefits, these practices also provide wildlife opportunities for monarch butterflies, pheasants and quail.

The field day will be held at Rob Stout’s farm, 2449 Hemlock Avenue, Washington. From Washington, head west on 250th St./County Road G38 for five miles. Turn north on Hemlock Avenue for 0.6 miles and the farm will be located on the west side of the road. The bioreactor is located 1.5 miles north of the Stout Farm. The event is free and open to the whole family, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. RSVP to Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit


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