three pictures of the prairie stitched together to show progression through the seasons

Prairie Restoration Project

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Once land full of Tallgrass Prairie stretching up to 12 feet high, the Ashton Cross Country course has been home to the University of Iowa's men's and women's cross country teams since 2003. The course boasts a 2,000 meter perimeter layout with the ability to view races start to finish from one point. After realizing the dammage done to the land by European settlers in the mid-1800s, the University of Iowa set out to reset the natural eco system which Iowa has lacked the past few centuries. Through a grant from USG and a donation from the Iowa Native Plant Society, an acedemic course through the Department of Environmental Sciences will restore the prairie in phases over the coming years. The Ashton Cross Country Course will remain fully functional and runners will be able to enjoy the view of the growing grasses as they race. 

The Ashton Cross Country Course is named after former Hawkeyes Bill and James Ashton who both lettered in cross country and generously donated the lead gift for the course. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Dr. James Ashton earned advanced degrees from MIT and Harvard. He is known for conducting business honestly and ethically, in agreement with sustainability's empahsis on social equity. Learn more about Dr. Ashton here

Learn more about the Prairie Restoration Project here.