Prairie blossoms outside of Marshalltown library

A piece of Iowa’s wildlife can be found just around the corner.

Sarah Rosenblum, Marshalltown Public Library director, said the library has one of the few pieces of prairie left in Iowa.

“If you think about a puzzle, the prairie garden is one piece of a 1,000 piece puzzle,” Rosenblum said. “That’s all that’s left.”

The prairie was built in front of the library in 2008. Since then, with the help of volunteers and some financial support, Rosenblum said it has been filled with flowers, cultivars or native prairie grass and a walking path.

“Part of the library planning was the development of a prairie,” she said. “We are making it more of something people can relate to.”

Rosenblum said she plans to add signage to help identify flowers.

“We’re hoping to be doing some educational programs,” Rosenblum said. “We feel that we’ve made significant progress on the prairie. I want people to recognize it and respond.”

The library director said she encourages people to check it out.

“It fits in so well with our mission of education, cultural activities and it’s just plain beautiful,” she said. “It’s a real place of discovery for kids and their or their siblings. It reminds people of how important the prairie was to the development of Iowa as a state.”

Currently the prairie is part of the library’s summer reading program; children go out and draw their favorite flower.

Eventually story time and more educational opportunities will be held out there, Rosenblum said.

It’s a work in progress, she said.

“We will always be looking at some new plants, just like your garden at home – it’s never complete,” Rosenblum said. “If anybody is interested in learning about the prairie or wants to volunteer or have some thoughts contact me.”

“There is something very soothing about being out there,” Rosenblum said. “It’s beautiful. I do feel good when I go out there and see what’s going on. It’s a little bit of nature for many of our families that don’t have a beautiful yard it’s something to share with them.”

Rosenblum can be reached at 641-754-5738.