Open to the Public
Berry Woods was the first preserve owned by the Conservancy in Iowa. It continues to be a great example of central high oak woodland.
Why You Should Visit
Berry Woods is a high-quality mature white oak, red oak, basswood and shagbark hickory woodland that is home to many wildflowers and fungi. Gorgeous wildflower displays in the spring and fall make the site popular for photographers.
4.5 miles northwest of Indianola in Warren County
What to See: Plants
Common trees at Berry Woods include white oak, red oak, basswood and shagbark hickory. Other plants to see here are wild ginger, spring beauty, Dutchman’s breeches, toothwort, white trout-lily, showy orchis, wild geranium, liverleaf, false rue anemone, Indian pipe, ironwood, bloodroot and bellwort.
What to See: Animals
There are many birds, such as the ruby-throated hummingbird, eastern wood pewee, catbird, northern oriole, red-headed woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, cardinal, white-breasted nuthatch, house wren and American robin. Other animals include opossum, eastern cottontail and eastern chipmunk.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Berry Woods is the Iowa Chapter’s first preserve. Don L. Berry, the late newspaper publisher and conservationist, deeded this woodland to the Conservancy in 1961 as a memorial to his grandfather and father who had owned and protected the woods for nearly a century. The preserve was dedicated as a biological State Preserve in 1980.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
In addition to the conservation work here, the preserve serves as an outdoor classroom and laboratory for Simpson College biology classes.
From the intersection of Highway 65 and Highway 69 on the south edge of Des Moines, drive south 5 miles on the combined Highway 65/69 to County Highway G24. Turn west and drive 1.5 miles west to 115thAvenue. Turn south onto 115th Avenue and drive 1.75 miles to the preserve on the east side of the road (sign: Berry Woods). Access is through a gate in the fence. Please note the preserve does not stretch south to the adjoining road.