Hartley Heritage Fen

The Hartley Heritage Fen is a 33 acre underveloped natural area.  A fen is a remnant of the tallgrass prairie landscape occupying the southern portion of the Des Moines Lobe landform.  Fens are a rare system,  fed primarily by groundwater and upland drainage, rather than precipitation.  This alkaline water creates a system rich in nutrients and contributes to the special flora and chemical make-up of fens.  This unique northwestern Jasper County habitat area will be open to hunting, but will also be used for educational programs and prairie hikes.  Volunteers will be offered a hands-on approach to learning about fens by assisting with seed collection and using that seed for on-site fen restoration.  To date, 42 species of grasses and forbs have been identified at Jasper County Fen, including spring cress (Cardamine bulbosa), and marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), both offering evidence of the presence of fresh water.  Other species that have been located and are specifically characteristic of fens include: flat topped aster (Aster umbellatus), turtlehead (Chelone glabra), swamp lousewort (Pedicularis lanceolata), mad-dog skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and Riddell’s goldenrod (Solidago riddellii), as well as numerous sedge species.   In addition to all of the unique prairie flora, the fen is filled with many species of animals.  The upland area of the fen is a favorite spot for wildlife, as visitors my find numerous deer beds, and see and hear quite a few pheasants.  The many sedges and forbs throughout this site attract a variety of birds and butterflies throughout the year, and crayfish homes are often found, their distinctive towers making good use of the rich peat.


Located north of Valaria off of N. 59th Ave W.