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* Using a Weave-it LoomUsing a Weave-it Loom

Time: 1:30 pm

Using a Weave-It Loom Saturday, February 7, 1:30 PM Learn the basics of using a hand-held Weave-It Loom to make your own bookmark. This craft dates back to colonial times, with a patent granted for the loom in 1934. This activity is seeing a resurgence in popularity. Learn something new and relax with friends! Supplies provided. Register by 4 PM on Thursday, February 5. M $8; NM $10

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* Home School-Water!Home School-Water!

Time: 1:00 pm

Home School Program 2014-15 “Explore Your Wild World”. 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. Fee: $5 per student age 5 and older

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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

* Backyard Chicken BasicsBackyard Chicken Basics

Time: 7:00 pm

Backyard Chicken Basics Thursday, February 12, 7 PM Get 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. Registration required by 4 PM on Wednesday, February 11. M: $7, NM: $10.

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* Closed for President's DayClosed for President's Day

Buildings and offices closed but all trails are open dawn to dusk

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* Cub Corner Preschool AdventureCub Corner Preschool Adventure

Time: 10:00 am

Cub Corner Adventures: Tails and Tales Wednesday, February 18, 10 AM Preschoolers, bring your parent(s) to Cub Corner to explore animals that have nifty tales and tails. Learn why animals need tails and how squirrels, opossums, birds and many other animals use theirs. Make a tail of your own and hear how Opossum got his tail. Please preregister. M $5; NM $8. no fee for parents

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* Astronomy Night - Feb 20, 2015Astronomy Night - Feb 20, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm

Astronomy Night Friday, February 20, 7 PM Winter evenings provide clear skies that are great for finding bright planets. Join us to catch a glimpse of a mystery planet that cannot usually be seen with the naked eye. Spend time searching the heavens for objects like Galileo, and take a tour of the constellations with an astronomer. Binoculars and a telescope will be available, but feel free to bring your own. If it’s cloudy we’ll go on a night hike. Please register in advance. M $5; NM $7; children 3-12 $3

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* Cub Corner Preschool AdventureCub Corner Preschool Adventure

Time: 10:00 am

Cub Corner Adventures: Tails and Tales Saturday, February 21, 10 AM Preschoolers, bring your parent(s) to Cub Corner to explore animals that have nifty tales and tails. Learn why animals need tails and how squirrels, opossums, birds and many other animals use theirs. Make a tail of your own and hear how Opossum got his tail. Please pre register. M $5; NM $8. parents are free

* STEM Science thru NatureSTEM Science thru Nature

Time: 1:00 pm

Explore STEM Science through Nature Saturday, February 21, 1-3 PM Families are invited to visit the Nature Center for an afternoon of STEM Science activities. Employ your designing, measuring and calculating skills as you create a critter that can survive under specific conditions; do some maple math; find solutions to community development challenges and explore water conservation issues. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please register. $5/family.

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* Volunteer Training-Maple SyrupVolunteer Training-Maple Syrup

Time: 9:30 am

Volunteer Training: Maple Syruping Season Saturday, February 28, 9:30 AM Become an ICNC volunteer and help with our maple syruping operations this March! Assist with daily syrup-making operations or teach children and adults about history, tapping maple trees, and collecting sap. Call 319-362-0664 to sign up. Free.

* Maple Syrup from your BackyardMaple Syrup from your Backyard

Time: 1:00 pm

Maple Syrup from Your Backyard Maple Tree Saturday, February 28, 1 PM Learn how to harvest maple sap and make delicious syrup as a fun, family activity using tools from your own toolbox and kitchen. Each family receives a spile for tapping their tree and handouts on how to collect and boil sap for syrup. Making maple syrup is a great heritage and STEM science activity for kids! M Family $12; NM Family $16 (includes spile).

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Land Restoration

Restoring the Nature Center’s Land

Volunteers doing restoration plantings on the Christiansen prairie at the Indian Creek Nature CenterFor approximately 6,700 years, the land that is now Indian Creek Nature Center was a mixture of prairies and savannas. The landscape ranged from riparian timber along the creek and prairie potholes to dry, sandy knobs of oak trees and little bluestem. In the 1880’s, European settlers arrived and dramatically changed the landscape. The trees were cut; the prairie was plowed; the potholes were tiles; the creeks were straightened. Wildlife vanished along with their habitats.

People brought and continue to bring new species into the area all the time. Some exotic species are particularly aggressive, like the house sparrow and the emerald ash borer, and crowd out the remaining native species.  The Nature Center is trying to once again recreate ecologically healthy, diverse landscapes. Healthy ecosystems:

  • Prevent soil erosion and loss
  • Support healthy and diverse wildlife populations
  • Create long-term habitat stability
  • Provide educational and recreational opportunities

In 1979, the Nature Center began restoring the land. Restoration includes many different tools, and always includes volunteers. Projects vary with the seasons, and can include:

  • Planting native plants and seeds, such as butterfly weed or pale purple coneflower, in highly degraded areas
  • Removing invasive or inappropriate trees and plants, such as black locust and Siberian elm, in highly degraded areas
  • Using prescribed fires to promote new growth of desirable species and help control some woody species
  • Introducing native species, such as the grass pickerel and the otter.

Restoring Your Land

The Nature Center is not an isolated island of ecology. Every landowner has a role to play in the care of the land. Some landowners plant wildflowers in their gardens to provide a natural food source for butterflies and birds; others want full-fledged prairies. Some have the landscape to create wetlands and plant trees; others can install rain gardens and native shrubs. The Nature Center offers a wide range of programs related to caring for your land, from how to construct a rain garden to conducting a controlled burn.