Iowa Prairie Network
PO Box 572
Nevada, Iowa 50201
February 8, 2002
To Whom It May Concern:
It has come to the attention of the board of the Iowa Prairie Network that Ada Hayden is being considered for admission to the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. We are sending this letter as evidence of our support for her inclusion in this admirable group of women.
We at the IPN recognize the importance of Iowa’s prairie heritage. Ada Hayden is widely considered to be the very first person to voice the need to preserve and document Iowa’s prairies. Her long term, persistent campaign to create a state owned prairie preserve system began in 1919 and continued until her death in 1950. Today one of the finest prairies in the state parks system bears her name, and many of the 22 prairies she identified as potential preserves have indeed been purchased by the state for preservation purposes.
In addition to her prairie expertise, Ada had a wide background as a talented naturalist, for example in an excerpt from a radio interview in 1946 she speaks about the problem of soil erosion on plowed ground and the need for soil conservation, she describes the fossil records of the Keokuk area, and briefly explains the glacial history of Iowa. In addition, Ada was well respected for her illustrations and photography. Her work as a conservationist was recognized by the Iowa Conservation Hall of Fame in 1967 when they awarded her membership in their group.
For a woman in the era of woman suffrage Ada was remarkable. In addition to her seminal work trying to raise public and governmental awareness of the need for prairie conservation, she was the first woman (and the 4th person) to receive a PhD from Iowa State College, where she was a member of the faculty for 32 years. She personally submitted over 30,000 plant specimens to the Iowa State University Herbarium, where she was curator for over 15 years and which has now been named for her.
Please vote to include Ada Hayden in the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.
Inger Lamb, president,
Iowa Prairie Network