River Action has received a $25,000 grant to expand a natural prairie area at Nahant Marsh in west Davenport.|
The grant, awarded by The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, will go to the QC Wild Places Program to clean up a sandy area used by the Blandings Turtle for nesting.
A boardwalk and viewing platform are included in the revitalization plans to protect the turtles and educate the public about them, River Action marsh educator Brian Ritter said, adding the Blandings Turtle is listed as an endangered species in Iowa.
With more than 260 acres, clean up of the marsh began in 1999.
Kathy Wine, River Action executive director, said the grant is a great indicator the QC Wild Places program is on the right track with the community."We believe that if people are in the environment and can view it, they will do something to protect it," she said.
The QC Wild Places program includes 63 natural areas in an eight-county area within an hour's drive of the Quad-Cities. It's a partnership between 19 organizations and 27 site managers.
Ms. Wine said many programs need money for simple things such as signs to mark the entrance to a walking trail.
Also at the grant presentation were about 20 Augustana College students, who were touring the marsh to learn about wetlands on their annual Symposium Day.
"The goal is to get people to natural areas and to improve the sites," said Tim Gillman, natural resources program director at River Action.
Matt Mendenhall, vice president of programs for the community foundation, said they have been partnering with River Action for several years to protect wild areas and get people to use them. Some of it is awareness-building, he said.
Development associate Toni Yanek said the foundation awarded $4.2 million in grants in 2012. River Action received 43 grants from the foundation, the first in 1979, and $25,000 is the largest, she said.
"This is not typical for the foundation, that's why it's a big deal to us," foundation board member Jean Moran said.
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