Calendar

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* Spring Plant SaleSpring Plant Sale

Time: 9:00 am

Nature Center Guild Annual Spring Plant Sale. You will find wonderful plants of all types, yard art, willow trellis & towers for your yard and garden. Local vendors also offer a wide variety of yard art, foods and garden plants for sale. Open 9 am - noon

* Backyard Chickens Workshop Backyard Chickens Workshop

Time: 2:00 pm

This Class has been rescheduled for Friday, May 8 at 6:30 pm.

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* Full Flower MoonFull Flower Moon

Time: 7:30 pm

Enjoy a casual walk beginning before sunset to enjoy spring ephemeral wildflowers along the trails. Early May is when woodland ephemeral wildflowers are in full bloom. We’ll enjoy a spring sunset and the rising full moon will light our path as we return. Meet at the barn. Walk will be approximately one mile on grass paths and natural trails in both prairie and woods. Individual: M $4; NM $6. Family: M $10; NM $15.

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* Home School-Life in the WaterHome School-Life in the Water

Time: 1:00 pm

Home School Program 2014-15 “Explore Your Wild World” Life in the Water: Exploring the Pond. Wednesday, May 6, 1 PM. This water experience focuses on all the life that lives in and around the pond and creek. The water habitats are home to many creatures, both unique and bizarre, that survive and thrive in their wet world. Use scientific tools to measure the water quality of our pond and nets to collect and examine the life in the pond. Be prepared for mud. 2 hours. Fee: $5 per student age 5 and older

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* Backyard Chickens Workshop Backyard Chickens Workshop

Time: 6:30 pm

Backyard Chickens Workshop Friday, May 8, 6:30-8:30 pm Learn the basic information you need to raise hens in urban and suburban areas. Participants will receive a certificate of completion that enables them to get a permit to legally keep chickens in Cedar Rapids and other communities. Register by 4 PM on Thursday, April 30. M $10; NM $12.

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* IOWATER WorkshopIOWATER Workshop

Time: 8:30 am

IOWATER, Iowa’s statewide volunteer water quality monitoring program, will host an introductory workshop in the auditorium. Participants will learn how to monitor and assess the quality of their local streams, rivers, and lakes through classroom instruction and hands-on training. Registration fees are $20 per person or $30 for a team and cover all program fees, meals, and testing equipment. Pre-registration required by May 2. For more information or to register, please visit www.iowadnr.gov/iowater and click on “Calendar of Events.”

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* Cub Corner: Tree TalkCub Corner: Tree Talk

Time: 10:00 am

We invite preschoolers and parents to join us for an exciting adventure each month in Cub Corner. Did you know that trees tell stories? Come hear great stories from apartment trees and the animals that live in them. Learn the parts of a tree, explore the years and celebrate a tree’s birthday by learning to read tree rings! Search for leaf shapes, feel bark textures, smell a tree, and do a craft. Children: M $5; NM $8. Parents: Free.

* Garden Party: Calling All NatuGarden Party: Calling All Natu

Time: 5:30 pm

May showers bring more flowers. Join the Garden Party Crew each month for discussion on upcoming land restoration projects, opportunities to volunteer and, of course, a little dirty work, too. Bring a snack to share if you desire, and join us in keeping our campus beautiful. All ages are welcome. Free.

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* 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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* Cub Corner: Tree TalkCub Corner: Tree Talk

Time: 10:00 am

We invite preschoolers and parents to join us for an exciting adventure each month in Cub Corner. Did you know that trees tell stories? Come hear great stories from apartment trees and the animals that live in them. Learn the parts of a tree, explore the years and celebrate a tree’s birthday by learning to read tree rings! Search for leaf shapes, feel bark textures, smell a tree, and do a craft. Children: M $5; NM $8. Parents: Free.

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* Eco-SwapEco-Swap

Time: 1:00 pm

Eco-Swap Sunday, May 17, 1-3 PM At Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center 120 E Boyson Rd, Hiawatha, IA Eco-Swaps are a way for people to come together and “swap” items they no longer want or need for items that they do want or need. Everything is FREE, so no money is exchanged. Bring an item(s) to swap and be sure it is in good condition and working order. Each individual is responsible for taking un-swapped items home with them. Don't have items to swap? No worries, you are still welcome to come. The philosophy behind an eco-swap is one of love, abundance and sharing. Partners include Indian Creek Nature Center, Catherine McAuley Center, The Tapestry, and Lovely Lane Methodist Church. For more information call Prairiewoods at 319-395-6700 or visit www.prairiewoods.org. Free.

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* CLOSED - Memorial DayCLOSED - Memorial Day

Buildings and Offices Closed. All trails are open for your enjoyment sunrise to sunset.

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* Monarchs & Milkweed Seed BombsMonarchs & Milkweed Seed Bombs

Time: 10:00 am

Andria Cossolotto and Patty Ankrum, members of Monarchs of Eastern Iowa, raised monarch caterpillars throughout last summer and released the adult butterflies to the wild. Last winter they traveled to Mexico to visit the monarch winter resting site. Come hear about their experiences and learn more about this amazing insect. Discuss how you can help monarch butterflies survive. Make milkweed seed balls from mud and seed (a.k.a.“seed bombs”); then hike out to the prairie and toss the bombs about, to increase the milkweed diversity of the prairie. We may even spot some monarch butterflies returning to Iowa by then! Participants will be welcome to take seed bombs home to introduce milkweed into the home habitat. Adults: M $5; NM $8. Children age 3 and up: $3.

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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.