The Geller Preserve is located north of Rochester. It's another beautiful property with incredible native plants such as Indian Paintbrush, a rare, hemi-parasitic plant that requires a specific habitat. We've also found Showy orchis - a native orchid, Blue-Eyed grass - from the iris family, and shooting stars, as well as other woodland flowers like Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Jacob's ladder, phlox, columbine, trout lily, wild ginger, bloodroot, hepatica, and May apples.
Society members must call the museum before going out here; access is prohibited without express permission. The site is leased most months of the year, and our renters have first rights during those times.
The preserve is private property, so please do not trespass. CCHS is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, so this isn't a county park. We do, however, highly encourage you to come to our spring Wildflower Walks to enjoy the beauty of the preserve!
CCHS acquired the property through the generosity of Laura Geller in June of 1976. Board members at that time recognized the rarity and beauty of the parcel (never farmed) and organized wildflower walks to share it with the public. Over time, the trees and multiflora rose have filled in, but haven't yet had a large negative effect on the forbs. We are at the tipping point, however, and are discussing maintenance options. We certainly recognize the incredible gift we were given, and would like to nurture the living history found here...it is a remnant - a relic of the past. Iowa's fertile topsoil was formed under prairie, savanna, and timber, and it's incredibly important to us to keep this land as it was when the county was settled. This is the original, living history of our county!
Every spring we host two Wildflower Walks here. They are typically the first Sunday in May, and the Saturday following, both at 1 pm. We had a FANTASTIC turnout in 2011 - over 40 people came to hike with us between the two days. Due to the early spring in 2012, the flowers were past their peak blooming period, but we still were able to see all the flowers we usually see on the walks. We had over two dozen hikers with us this year. Let's hope the weather and the flowers cooperate in 2013, and that we have even more people come to share in it!