Summer 2014 Calendar of Events

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Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
* Labor Day - All trails openLabor Day - All trails open

Labor Holiday - all trails are open for your enjoyment. Offices and buildings are closed.

* Level 3 OrienteeringLevel 3 Orienteering

Time: 1:00 pm

Level 3 Orienteering: Compass and Topographic Maps Saturday,September 6, 1 PM. Bring your own compass or borrow one of ours for an off-trail orienteering experience using a topographic map and compass skills to find controls. Begin with an instructional session on reading topo maps and basic compass skills. Participants will then explore the woods and prairie to find several controls using their compass and map skills. Be prepared to be off trail! This experience is for both the beginner and the experienced! To register go to Individuals: M $5; NM $8. Family: M $10; NM $15.

* Tallgrass Prairies!Tallgrass Prairies!

September 11 through November 11: Tallgrass Prairies: Past, Present and Future. Enjoy this professional exhibit created by the Iowa Association of Naturalists. On display in the barn. Hours: Monday-Friday 9-4; Sat. 11-4.

* 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

* Backyard Chicken Basics Backyard Chicken Basics

Time: 7:00 pm

Backyard Chicken Basics Thursday, September 11, 7:00 PM Learn the basics required to safely and successfully raise hens in urban and suburban areas. Participants will receive a certificate of completion enabling them to get a permit to legally keep chickens in Cedar Rapids. Registration required by 4:00 PM Wednesday, Sept. 10. Cost: M: $7; NM: $10. This will be our only fall chicken class -sign up today!

* Grant Wood’s Indian CreekGrant Wood’s Indian Creek

Time: 8:30 am

Grant Wood’s Impressions of Indian Creek Saturday, September 13 8:30-11 AM Grant Wood loved to paint the beauty of Indian Creek, which you can see in the collection of his Impressionistic paintings on display at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in Grant Wood: American Impressionist. Follow in Wood’s footsteps as we hike along the water and set up an easel to capture Indian Creek’s beauty, painting en plein air, or “in plain air” just as he did. Create your own watercolor landscape with professional instruction. This class is great for all skill levels, so beginners are welcome! To register, contact the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art at (319) 366-7503 by Wed., Sept. 10. M $10; NM $15.

* Watershed ForumWatershed Forum

Time: 10:00 am

Watershed Forum Saturday, September 13 10-11:30 AM Todd Dorman, columnist and editorial board member of The Gazette, will keynote a water quality forum and panel. Panelists include Steve Cooper, storm water manager, City of Marion; Jennifer Fenci, Indian Creek Watershed Management Authority; Rich Patterson, retired director, Indian Creek Nature Center; Martin St. Clair, Coe College chemistry professor; and Curt Zingula, farmer, Linn County. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Linn County. Free.

* Teacher Naturalist TrainingTeacher Naturalist Training

Time: 12:00 pm

Experience our Pond and Wetland Field Trip for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades. We will begin in the auditorium but will move outdoors to the ponds for a hands-on experience. Be prepared for possible mud. This training is Free and Fun! Call 362-0664 for more information.

* GSA - Senses BadgeGSA - Senses Badge

Time: 9:30 am

"Eyes, Fingers, Ears and Nose". Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. 9:30 - 11 am. Girl Scout Daisy - Your senses come alive in nature! Come participate in an exciting nature scavenger hunt, listen to nature sounds, sniff out some interesting smells, and feel the different textures found around the nature Center. We'll have a snack to explore our taste buds. This completes the Senses badge.

* GSA -Bug ClubGSA -Bug Club

Time: 12:30 pm

Saturday, September 20, 2014 12:30-2:30 PM. Girls Scouts - Brownie. Insects are everywhere and an important part of our world. Become an amateur entomologist and learn all about bugs. Observe bugs in nature, learn the usefulness of many insects, and visit our observation honey bee hive. Craft a home for pollinators for your backyard. Capture bugs in our prairie and learn about their role in nature. This completes most of the Bug badge. Cost: $11/Scout Attendance requirement: Minimum of 10 Scouts and maximum of 60. Registration and payment must be completed no later than Thursday the week prior to the scheduled workshop (at least 8 days before the workshop). Workshop registrations should be made through the Girl Scout office. To register by phone call 319-363-8335 or go to to register online.

* Bee Amazing Trail Run/WalkBee Amazing Trail Run/Walk

Time: 11:00 am

Explore the trails on an official route around the Indian Creek Nature Center! Register in advance, and plan to stay for Honey Fest afterward! Adult Run/Walk participants get in to Honey Fest FREE!

* Honey FestHoney Fest

Time: 12:00 pm

12:00 - 4:00 pm Annual Honey Fest celebration. Family Fun - enjoy honey lemonade, kid's crafts, food, music, games, demonstrations, beeswax candle making and the famous Live Bee Beard! Learn about bees and how you can support a healthy bee populations!

* Home School-Monarch ButterflyHome School-Monarch Butterfly

Time: 1:00 pm

The Monarch Butterfly Story Thursday, September 25, 1 PM. Learn about amazing Monarch butterflies and their unique life cycles and adaptations. You will participate in a monarch role-playing migration game, learn about all butterflies and moths and their various life cycle survival strategies, and use nets to capture migrating monarch and tag them for the University of Kansas’ Monarch Watch migration study. 1 ½ hours. Indoors and outdoors. Indoor program if raining. COST: $5 per student age 5 and older.

* Naturalist Badge - BSA WebeloNaturalist Badge - BSA Webelo

Time: 6:00 pm

Naturalist Badge Friday, September 26, 2014 6:00-8:00 PM Do you know what a naturalist is? Discover the naturalist in yourself as you bird watch, learn about migration flyways, identify poisonous plants and animals, and discover amazing facts about Iowa’s wild animals and their habitats. Registration closes Sept. 16th. (Fulfills Requirements: 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 & 11.)

* GSA - Animal AdventuresGSA - Animal Adventures

Time: 9:30 am

Saturday, September 27, 2014 9:30-11:30 AM - Girls Scouts - Junior Who lives in your wild backyard? Discover several animal habitats at the Nature Center. Explore animal homes and create your own bird feeder to help the birds. Investigate endangered habitats: the arctic, prairie, and rain forest. How can we help protect them? Discover who lives in your own backyard habitat. This completes most of the Animal Habitats badge. Cost: $11/Scout Attendance requirement: Minimum of 10 Scouts and maximum of 60. Registration and payment must be completed no later than Thursday the week prior to the scheduled workshop (at least 8 days before the workshop). Workshop registrations should be made through the Girl Scout office. To register by phone call 319-363-8335 or go to to register online.

* Celebrate Prairie DayCelebrate Prairie Day

Time: 1:00 pm

Celebrate Prairie Day Saturday, September 27 Join us for one or both Prairie Day programs for one low fee! M $3; NM $5; children $2. 1 PM Join our naturalist for a hands-on exploration of the Tallgrass Prairies: Past, Present and Future exhibit. The Iowa Association of Naturalists created this professional exhibit. Experience hands-on activities, games, and a “fun for all ages” prairie scavenger hunt. 2:30 PM “America’s Lost Landscape: The Tallgrass Prairie” documentary This award-winning documentary, created by Daryl Smith, University of Northern Iowa Tallgrass Prairie Center, features “extraordinary cinematography of prairie remnants, original score and archival images, delicately interwoven to create a powerful and moving viewing experience.”

* Fall Wild EdiblesFall Wild Edibles

Time: 1:00 pm

Fall Wild Edibles! Sunday, September 28, 1 PM Fall is a season of bountiful wild edibles including nuts, roots, mushrooms, and much more! Join botanist Christine Kirpes to learn about the fall feast that’s waiting for you. We’ll start by learning identification and preparation basics indoors, then move outdoors to forage for food in the “wild.” M $8; NM $12.

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Indian Creek Nature Center offers many family and kids’ activities and programs designed to connect children with the environment.  Most are divided by age and offer a varying level of interaction.  Look for programs shaded in blue on our calendar.

Ribbit’s Preschool Adventure

Ribbit’s preschool programs are designed for children 3-6 years of age, accompanied by an adult,  presented on a monthly basis.  Each program lasts approximately 60 minutes. Check our calendar for each month’s adventure.

Bringing Nature Home

This is a program designed to give parents information and activities with which to engage their children (particularly young children) in nature activities at home. Programs will include an activity at the Nature Center and materials to replicate the activity at home. Programs occur at least monthly, often more frequently.  See the calendar for specific dates and activities.

2014-2015 Home School Programs

“Explore Your Wild World”

             Fee:  $5 per student  age 5 and older

 Parents are welcome to attend free of charge with younger children age 5-7

 Ages 8 and up – your child is welcome to attend on their own.

The Monarch Butterfly Story   Thursday,  September 25, 1 PM.    Learn about amazing Monarch butterflies and  their unique life cycles and adaptations.  You will participate in a monarch  role-playing migration game, learn about all butterflies and moths and their various life cycle survival strategies, and use nets to capture migrating monarch and tag them for the University of Kansas’ Monarch Watch migration study.  1 ½ hours.   Indoors and outdoors.   Indoor program  if raining.

Birds, Migration and Preparing for Winter    Wednesday, October 15, 1 PM.   The outdoor world is scrambling to prepare for the cold and snow.   Bird activities are what we most often notice where you live in an urban or rural setting.    Learn about how birds that stay in Iowa survive, how those that migrate know when & where, and how you can help those that stay.   Learn about Citizen Scientist migration studies you can take part in. 1 ½ hours.  Indoors and outdoors.   Indoor program  if raining.

Exploring Iowa Habitats.   Thursday, November 13,  1 PM.   The beautiful fall prairie and woods is waiting for you to experience and explore.   Take a scientific look to learn about the specific animals and plants that use each  habitat and the habitats unique conditions.  Learn about food chains, photosynthesis, layers of life in each habitat, and special features different plant and animals have to help them live in these very different habitats.  2 hour program.  Be prepared to be outdoors on the trails.  If raining,  the program will be held on Monday, November 10 at 1 PM.

 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 hours.

Eagles, Owls and Hawks:  The Raptors.   Thursday, January 8, 1 PM.   Owl, hawks and eagles are common  raptors with fascinating stories.   Discover the special ways each hunts and survives in Iowa.   Dissect an owl pellet to discover what it has been eating.  Learn about the amazing flight abilities of our hawks and falcons.   A short hike will take us to the Cedar River to view eagles.  Bring your binoculars or borrow ours.    1 ½ hours

Water:  We Can’t Live Without It.   Wednesday, February 11, 1 PM.  Water is everywhere, even is some surprising places.  But is there enough?   Learn about the water cycle & where water is hidden.   Learn about water issues both here in the U.S. and around the world as you experience hands-on and  sometimes wet activities.   1 ½ hours.

Your Maple Syruping Heritage.  Thursday, March 5, 1 PM.   Maple syrup making has an interesting and unique history.  Discover both the history and  how  to’s of  maple syruping as you use tools to tap trees, visit a sugar house and enjoy maple syrup on ice cream.   Learn how to make maple syrup at home from your own maple tree.     Reading Little House in the Woods by Laura Engles Wilder is a great preparation for your experience. 1 ½ hours.

Plants, Pollinators & Seeds.  Wednesday, April 15.   Nature is bursting with growth after the winter.   This botany experience introduces you to plants and all their parts and systems beginning with the tiny seed.   Learn about some unique spring wildflowers and their relationship with insects, mammals and us!   Visit our indoor honey bees and go on a scavenger hunt to find native pollinators.   Plants are essential to us all and to the earth.  Both an indoor and outdoor experience.  1 ½ hours.

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


Summer Camp Programs

Summer Nature Camp programs offer a variety of summer outdoor experiences for preschool to pre-teen children. After-hours opportunities include Friday evening summer programming for the whole family. more details