Calendar

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* Nature's NoelNature's Noel

Time: 9:00 am

Nature’s Noel Saturday, December 6 9 AM-Noon Let heaven and nature sing! Centerpieces, wreaths and swags made with fresh greens; frozen soups and appetizers; vendors with various handmade wares; cookie dough and candy; and live music combine to create a festive holiday event. Shop early for the best selection! Sponsored by the ICNC Guild to benefit the Nature Center. Free.

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* Fighting Child Trafficking Fighting Child Trafficking

Time: 7:00 pm

Fighting Child Trafficking with Hope and Freedom through Rapha House Tuesday, December 9 at 7:00 PM Indian Creek Nature Center 6665 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids 319-362-0664 Rapha House exists to love, rescue, and heal girls who have been rescued from trafficking and sexual exploitation. This year Rapha House opened the first special needs "safe house" in Cambodia. Doug and Donna Burkle have spent the past year getting this program started. This evening will be a summation of what has been accomplished (raising chickens and creating gardens) and what needs to be done when they return to Cambodia in January. All are welcome to attend.

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* Home School-Iowa Geology Home School-Iowa Geology

Time: 1:00 pm

Home School Program 2014-15 “Explore Your Wild World” Iowa’s Geology. Wednesday, December 10, 1 PM. Many geological forces have shaped Iowa’s landscape. Learn how oceans, erosion, rivers & glaciers have shaped and carved the “land between two rivers.” Learn to identify the different kinds of rocks, discover how they form and perform experiments on various common Iowa minerals to identify each. Iowa has a rich geology that is an important part of our natural history. 1 1/2 hour. Fee: $5 per student age 5 and older

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* Coffee and ChatCoffee and Chat

Time: 9:00 am

Coffee and Chat Thursday, December 11, 9-10 a.m. On the second Thursday of each month, all are welcome to gather in the sunroom at Indian Creek Nature Center to enjoy coffee and conversation about the latest happenings at the Nature Center. Enjoy a social time, learn what’s currently happening in nature, meet Nature Center staff, and become better acquainted with our facilities, programs and trails. Free.

* Coffee and ChatCoffee and Chat

Time: 9:00 am

Coffee and Chat. Each month on the second Thursday gather in the sunroom at Indian Creek Nature Center to enjoy coffee and conversation about the latest happenings at Indian Creek Nature Center. Enjoy a social time, and learn what’s happening in nature at that time, meet Nature Center staff and become better acquainted with our facilities, programs and trails. Free

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* The Geminid WalkThe Geminid Walk

Time: 7:00 pm

The Geminid Walk. Friday , December 12 ,7 p.m. This is the weekend of the meteor shower but rather than do a watch, we would do a trail walk watching for meteors. If cloudy, the walk will still go on to enjoy an early winter evening. Free.

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* BSA - Geology BadgeBSA - Geology Badge

Time: 9:30 am

Saturday, December 13, 2014 9:30-11:30 AM Boy Scouts - Webelos Registration is CLOSED this workshop is FULL! Thanks for your support. Be a geologist for a day! Explore exciting careers in geology, discover fossils to take home, experiment with minerals, and travel back in time to learn how our planet has been shaped and reshaped. (Fulfills requirements 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 & 8)

* Winter Camping WorkshopWinter Camping Workshop

Time: 1:00 pm

Winter Camping Workshop Saturday, December 13, 1 PM Yes, winter is a great time to camp—no bugs, no crowds, and beautiful scenery. But you need to know how to be comfortable and safe. Rodney Bradley, experienced Michigan backcountry winter camper, will discuss gear, backcountry travel, clothing, food and safety. Registration recommended by 4 PM on Wednesday, December 10. M $10; NM $15.

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* Nature Center CLOSEDNature Center CLOSED

Time: 8:30 am

ICNC will be closed on Monday, December 15 for staff development.

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* Winter Solstice at PrairiewoodWinter Solstice at Prairiewood

Time: 6:00 pm

Winter Solstice at Prairiewoods Thursday, December 18 6-8 PM The hearth is the heart of the home, and the sun is Earth’s hearth. Both help to warm away night’s darkness! Commemorate the stillness of the sun and the blessing of the hearth during the winter solstice at Prairiewoods (120 E. Boyson Road, Hiawatha). Celebrate the longest night that gives way to greater light by participating in an ancient Celtic tradition of blessing the sacred hearth and welcoming the Christmas light. Please bring a symbol of home.This is part of a series of seasonal celebrations sponsored by Prairiewoods, Matthew 25, Ushers Ferry Historic Village and Indian Creek Nature.  No registration required.  Free will donation.

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* Merry ChristmasMerry Christmas

Nature Center offices and buildings are closed December 24-26 for the Christmas holiday. All trails are open for your enjoyment!

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* Merry ChristmasMerry Christmas

Nature Center offices and buildings are closed December 24-26 for the Christmas holiday. All trails are open for your enjoyment!

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* Merry ChristmasMerry Christmas

Nature Center offices and buildings are closed December 24-26 for the Christmas holiday. All trails are open for your enjoyment!

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* Orienteering - Dec. 27, 2014Orienteering - Dec. 27, 2014

Time: 1:00 pm

Orienteering Saturday, December 27, 1 PM Orienteering is a common winter sport in many northern European countries. Participate on foot, skis, or snowshoes. Bring your own compass or borrow one of ours. Receive basic compass instruction before seeking control points along the trails. Registration is suggested. M $8; NM $12; M Family $18; NM Family $25.

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* Snowshoe Adventure - Dec. 29Snowshoe Adventure - Dec. 29

Time: 10:00 am

Snowshoe Adventure Monday, December 29, 10 AM Slip on a pair of our snowshoes and join us to explore winter trails. No experience needed. Learn how to stay upright and warm, and how to maneuver over or around obstacles. Wear either winter or hiking boots. Hiking or ski poles are helpful but optional. M $8; NM $12, Adults and Children. This event is for children age second grade and up with adults. Children should wear big snow boots to fit into the snowshoes. If you are considering purchasing snowshoes and you are not sure what type would be best for you, come check us out! We have several different styles to try. If we have less than 4" of snow, we will learn about snowshoeing and go for a winter hike. Dress for the weather.

* Build a Quinzhee - Dec. 29Build a Quinzhee - Dec. 29

Time: 1:00 pm

Build a Quinzhee Monday, December 29, 1 PM Bring your snow shovel to create a quinzhee—a traditional Athabascan Native American shelter made of snow. We’ll work in two stages, with a warm-up/hot chocolate break in between. Rodney, our shelter building pro, will share ideas and tips on dressing for the weather and being safe. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please preregister. Adult or children: M $4; NM $6. If we don't have sufficient snow coverage, we will take a winter hike and learn about outdoor winter survival.

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* Tracks, Tracks, TracksTracks, Tracks, Tracks

Time: 1:00 pm

Tracks, Tracks, Tracks Tuesday, December 30, 1 PM Learn to recognize tracks you see in snow as you create a unique track t-shirt with paints and rubber animal paw molds. Transform your gently-used cotton t-shirt into a fun new garment. You provide the shirt; we bring the rest! Children must be accompanied by an adult. Adults or children: M $4; NM $6.

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History

A rear view of the Indian Creek Nature Center barn and frog pond in lush summer greeneryThe Indian Creek Nature Center sits on land previously occupied by two farms that were established in 1849.  The land changed hands several times before Milo Wolfe purchased what is known today as the Bena Farm. The farm remained in the Wolfe family until 1899, when William Christle purchased it.  For twenty years the Christle family owned the property, then sold it to Wencil and Carrie Bena on March 1, 1920.  Cary was William Christle’s  daughter.   The farm remained in the Bena family until it was sold to the Indian Creek Nature Center in 1994.

Penningroth Dairy Farm

In the mid 1920s Charles Penningroth, a Cedar Rapids attorney, purchased other land bordering Indian Creek. For the next 25 years, under Penningroth ownership, the land was in various forms of agriculture. Construction of the Penningroth Dairy Barn was completed in 1932 in the midst of the Depression.  The remodeled barn is currently used as the hub of many Nature Center activities.

Lily pads in the frog pond at the Indian Creek Nature CenterIn 1968 the City of Cedar Rapids used Federal Housing and Urban Development funds to purchased about 1000 acres of floodplain along the Cedar River.  This land, known as the Greenbelt, stretches from southeast Cedar Rapids to Indian Creek; then extends north through the lower Indian Creek valley.  The Penningroth farm was part of this purchase.

Creation of the
Indian Creek Nature Center

In 1970 B.B. Stamats visited a nature center in the Twin Cities and became an advocate for an environmental education center in the Cedar Rapids area.  B.B. and Jean O’Donnell shared this vision and recruited a steering committee of about forty community members.  The Indian Creek Nature Center was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1973 but a physical site had yet to be found. Studies found the best was the Penningroth farm, now owned by the City of Cedar Rapids.  A lease for the barn and 120 acres of land was arranged and the Indian Creek Nature Center became the first nature center in Iowa. The first public program was held on Groundhog Day in 1974. An exceptional and unexpected opportunity came in 1994 when the Bena family offered to sell their farm to the Nature Center.  The resulting transaction increased Nature Center land  210 acres.

BB Stamats’ and Jean O’Donnell’s dream of a nature center for their community materialized into green prairies, teeming wetlands, and protected woodlands that are enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.