Skip to Content

Webers Honored for Conservation Efforts

Posted on May 16th, 2014
Larry Weber looks quite at home behind the wheel of his tractor.

Larry Weber looks quite at home behind the wheel of his tractor.

IIHR Director Larry Weber and his wife Miechelle were recently honored with the Johnson County Heritage Trust Conservation Award for their grassroots conservation efforts. The Webers have purchased and are ecologically restoring a parcel of land they call “Old Man’s Timber,” which includes about 80 acres of upland woodland and floodplain forest along Old Man’s and Old Woman’s creeks, plus a three-acre planted prairie. The timber has remained relatively protected for several decades, with no known grazing, timber harvest, or other disturbances. Harry Graves, Johnson County conservationist, inspected Old Man’s Timber and found a mature, relatively pristine timber, providing high-quality woodland wildlife habitat — something of a rarity in Iowa. For this reason, and many others, Graves considers it one of Johnson County’s major private conservation properties.

IIHR Senior Science Writer Connie Mutel presented the award to Larry Weber on April 25 at the JCHT annual meeting. In her citation, Mutel praised the couple for their commitment to and passion for the land. She described the Webers’ tireless efforts to restore the Old Man’s Timber site, returning the land to health by thinning, burning, and planting appropriate native species. Mutel notes that they have been unflagging in their efforts and generous with their time and money.

Larry Weber says that the restoration of the land has brought with it a restoration of the spirit for him and his wife. “It’s a good place to get away,” he says. The Webers also welcome visits from students young and old, as well as colleagues and others. They enjoy the land themselves, and encourage others to care about the environment, and to become involved and active in nature’s care and health.

IIHR students Chad Drake, Ali Reza Firoozfar, and Nick Thomas helping with restoration work at Old Man's Timber.

IIHR students Chad Drake, Ali Reza Firoozfar, and Nick Thomas helping with restoration work at Old Man’s Timber.

Scarlet cup on transitional slope between ridgetop and floodplain at Old Man's Timber.

Scarlet cup on transitional slope between ridgetop and floodplain at Old Man’s Timber.

“In this case, there’s something more that makes this recipient very special,” Mutel says. Larry Weber is professionally involved in research on Iowa’s water, she explains, but also sees the connections between land and water. The restoration of one shapes the rejuvenation of the other. “Thus his profession, and his avocation, are one part of a single whole that has become his life’s mission,” Mutel says.

Larry Weber writes a blog about the preservation project that reaches people across the state: http://www.iihr.uiowa.edu/old-mans-timber. “I have a great passion for restoring the timber,” Weber says. “I love sharing that passion with anyone who has an interest.”

 

Tags: , , ,

Site by Mark Root-Wiley of MRW Web Design