The Iowa State Botanist
Today, in 1880 for the botanist Ada Hayden was born.
Hayden was the curator of the Iowa State University herbarium.
As a young girl growing up in Ames, Iowa, she fell in love with the flora surrounding her family’s home. Hayden was a talented photographer, artist, and writer, and she put all of those skills to good use documenting Iowa’s prairies.
Hayden became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. from Iowa State.
She inherited her grandparent's farm, and she often brought her botany students there to walk through the Prairie and to take notes on their observations.
Hayden’s life work was to save the vanishing prairie ecosystem.
Hayden loved the Prairie. She wrote,
"Throughout the season, from April to October, the colorful flowers of the grassland flora present a rainbow-hued sequence of bloom. It is identified with the open sky. It is the unprotected battleground of wind and weather."
When Dr. Hayden died, the University named a 240-acre-tract of virgin Prairie, Hayden Prairie, in her honor.