The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is located in Jasper County, Iowa, east of Des Moines. The Refuge was created in 1990 to recreate 8000 acres of tallgrass prairie and oak savanna. This unique endeavor is being carried out by dedicated staff and volunteers. Native Gardens with over 70 native plants species are being managed by the Refuge staff with help of volunteers from the Friends of the Prairie. Several of these native plant species have been identified as being particularly useful for making phenological observations.