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From Morels to Migratory Birds: Iowa's Desoto National Wildlife Refuge Has it All
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From Morels to Migratory Birds: Iowa's Desoto National Wildlife Refuge Has it All

For a day out with a difference, why not take your family to visit the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri Valley? Did you know that throughout spring, it's an excellent stomping ground for morel seekers? 

In case you didn’t know, morels are an edible spring mushroom. They are something of a delicacy and one of the best places to find them is the DeSoto wildlife refuge. The fruiting bodies of the fungus are found below ground, so you have to be prepared to forage for them. They’re one of the few fruits of the forest that visitors are allowed to pick without a permit or registration. And even though the evasive spring mushroom may no longer be in season, the park has so much more to offer!

Wildlife watching

DeSoto also offers some wonderful opportunities to observe the thousands of migratory waterfowl that follow the Missouri river every spring and autumn. Resident grassland species and colorful migratory songbirds also throng to DeSoto and you can spend many relaxing hours watching them during the summer and autumn months.

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge offers visitors a wonderful experience whatever time of the year you choose to visit. Take in the spectacular sight of huge flocks of migratorywaterfowll in the spring or autumn months or make a special visit to join other morel hunters in April and May. If you're already thinking about next year's spring mushroom hunt, here are a few valuable tips to bookmark:

  • You’ll need to take a mesh bag or traditional basket in which to gather any morels you find so that their spores will be scattered as you go, re-seeding the land. 
  • On arrival at the refuge, head for the visitor centre for guidelines on the best places to search. 
  • You're advised to collect wild mushrooms with caution as some are poisonous. 
  • You can check out some basic advice on mushroom identification before you go, online.
  • On returning home with your bounty, you’ll need to know how to enjoy your morels; try this old recipe: Clean the morels thoroughly then dip them in beaten egg. Roll them in seasoned flour until they’re well coated then either deep fat fry them or sauté them in butter – delicious! 

Plan your Iowa getaway now!

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