Pohl Prairie, commonly referred to as the Ames high Prairie, is a 22-acre native prairie remnant west of Ames High School. Named after Dr. Richard W. Pohl, Distinguished Professor of Botany at ISU, it serves as an outdoor learning laboratory for ISU and Ames High School students. It is owned by the Ames Community School District, managed by The Nature Conservancy of Iowa and is part of the State Preserve System which protects it from development.
The prairie is an example of what Iowa looked like before the landscape was converted to agricultural use. Iowa has the most altered landscape of any US state with less than one tenth of one percent of that topography remaining.
Before settlement, the prairie routinely burned, which kept the landscape free of most invasive species. Today controlled burns and hand removal do what prairie fires did in the past. The Friends of Ames High Prairie, is a volunteer group that works to help maintain the prairie, removing excess trees and non-native plants. As well, Ames High Biology classes preform significant restoration work.