Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, located just 25 minutes east of Des Moines, Iowa, was established in 1990. Its mission is to re-construct tallgrass prairie and restore oak savanna on 8,654 acres of the Walnut Creek watershed and to provide a major environmental education facility focusing on prairie, oak savanna, and human interaction.
The refuge has been designated a Fish and Wildlife Service Land Management and Research Demonstration Area. It will facilitate development, testing, teaching, publishing, and demonstration of state-of-the-art management techniques for fish, wildlife, and plant conservation.
The Prairie Learning Center facilities include a visitor center with classrooms, exhibit area, theater, and bookstore. Miles of paved trails radiate from the center, and an auto tour through the 740-acre bison/elk enclosure is open all year. Teacher workshops, birding, hunting, and nature watching are some of the outdoor activities featured for thousands of visitors each year.