Crossman Prairie was donated to The Nature Conservancy in 1976 by Glenn Crossman, a local conservationist who was committed to the protection of this special piece of Iowa’s natural heritage. It was dedicated as a biological State Preserve in 1980. Despite its small size, Crossman Prairie boasts a richly diverse mesic-wet tallgrass prairie and sedge meadow flora and is home to several rare species.
The state-endangered bog birch is found here, as well as more familiar wildflowers such as shooting star, hoary puccoon, compass plant and prairie smoke.
Often wet with many hummocks, clumps of sedges form mounds in mucky soil, it can be difficult to walk through, although the topography is relatively flat.
Invasion by woody plants, especially quaking aspen, was a major problem at the preserve, but intensive efforts by interns and volunteers have reduced the problem. It can now be managed with regular prescribed burns and limited cutting.