Calendar

Fall 2014 Calendar of Events

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* Labor Day - All trails openLabor Day - All trails open

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

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* 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 indiancreeknaturecenter.org Individuals: M $5; NM $8. Family: M $10; NM $15.

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* 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!

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* 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.

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* 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.

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* 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 www.girlscoutstoday.org to register online.

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* 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!

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* 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.

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* Naturalist Badge - BSA WebeloNaturalist Badge - BSA Webelo

Time: 6:00 pm

Naturalist Badge Friday, September 26, 2014 6:00-8:00 PM THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL. No more registrations will be accepted.

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* 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 www.girlscoutstoday.org 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.”

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* 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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Category Key
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Green Practices

Here at the Indian Creek Nature, we are constantly working to implement as many green practices as possible so that we tread gently on the earth. Use this guide to take your own, self-directed “Green Tour” of the Indian Creek Nature Center.

Energy Efficiency

Tankless Electric Water Heater

Heats water just before it is used, minimizing the need to constantly keep water hot. Look in kitchen (lower level) under the sink on the back wall of the cupboard.

Programmable Thermostats

These allow users to set the time they want the furnace to start and the time they want the thermostat at a cooler temperature. The furnace turns on before staff arrive, allowing staff and visitors a pleasant experience, but are set to 55 when the building is empty. There is one in the hallway by the restrooms.

Flat-Panel LCD Computer Screen Monitors

These use a fraction of the energy as standard monitors, and take up a much smaller portion of the desktop. Peek in any office.

Soy-based Wall Insulation

This product has an environmentally-friendly base, and provides a high insulating value. It also reduces mouse problems and cold air leaks, as it penetrates and fills small gaps. Look in the lower level exhibit area on the brick wall.

Air Conditioner

Where? Where? Air conditioners draw a tremendous amount of energy. For most of the summer, an open window and fan can keep the building habitable. When it does become extremely hot and muggy, as Iowa does, the Nature Center occasionally closes the doors instead of paying to keep the building climate controlled.

Lights on Motion Sensors

Reduces lights being left on when a room isn’t occupied. Found throughout the building.

Sun Tunnel

Allows natural day light into the room, often eliminating the need for lights. Second level, Resource Room

Compact Fluorescent Lighting

Significantly reduces the amount of energy used to light a space. Found throughout the building.

Photovoltaic Electrical Array

Look upstairs in the Sun room; see below for description. 

Efficient Windows

Double panes, gas between the panes, glazing, and tight trim reduce energy loss.  Look upstairs in the Sun room.

Window Quilts

Keeps cold air out.  Found throughout the building. Look upstairs in the Sun room.

Water Efficiency

Wetland Waste Water Treatment System

Built in 1994, this self-contained system is both chemical and energy free. Wastewater from the sinks and toilets pass through a septic tank, and then through two cells in which plant roots help clean the water. Located directly behind the barn, the cattails in the first basin and wildflowers in the second provide beautiful animal habitat. Wastewater remains underground. A kiosk on-site explains the process in more depth.

GrassPave Permeable Paving

Permeable paving, unlike standard asphalt or concrete, holds rainwater underground and on-site, instead of sheeting off the surface and contaminating Indian Creek. Planted in 2009, the grass reduces the heat-island affect while providing structure for vehicles and pedestrians.  Our GrassPave permeable paving is located outside the east side of the barn and between prairiegate bridge and the suspension bridge south of the building.

Grasspave2 fulfills the same function as asphalt by providing a load-bearing, sturdy structure for people to walk on or drive on. It provides the aesthetics of grass, does not heat up the way asphalt does, and, like other permeable paving systems, holds rainwater in a gravel bed underneath the surface. The water retention allows the rainwater to percolate slowly into the surrounding surface over time, allowing contaminants to settle out and reduces fast-moving surface water that scours out rivers and creeks and contributes to flooding. The Nature Center selected Grasspave2 from the Coleman Moore Company in part because it is fairly simple to install. It was installed in partnership with Metro High School students.

Permeable Concrete

Permeable concrete fulfills the same function as standard concrete by providing a load-bearing, sturdy structure for people to walk or drive on. The large size of the limestone chips in the concrete allow water to percolate downward, into a gravel bed underneath the concrete, where the water is held. Installed at the Nature Center in 2010 by Eggleston Concrete, our permeable concrete welcomes visitors on the front walk to the building. King’s Masonry and Landscape can also provide permeable pavers that provide load-bearing capability while significantly reducing runoff associated with traditional hard surfaces.

Rain Garden

Rain Gardens collect and temporarily hold water from your roof or driveway that would otherwise runoff across your lawn and be channeled into fast-moving torrents of water. In our case, it collects rainwater from the east side of the barn. Native plants in the garden help take up the water while providing attractive wildlife habitat. The Nature Center’s rain garden, constructed in 2009, is located to the southeast of the headquarters barn, near the cedar tree.  Native plants, including butterfly weed, cardinal flower, columbine, foxglove beardtongue, Jacob’s ladder, Ohio spiderwort, prairie sage, purple prairie clover, royal catchfly, aster, thimbleweed, white prairie clover, New Jersey tea,  and whorled milkweed help absorb the water and add beauty and wildlife habitat to the campus. The water slowly infiltrates from the garden into the soil, rather than creating fast moving, contaminated runoff that would directly run into storm drains or, in our case, Indian Creek.

The Nature Center created its own garden in partnership with the Iowa Conservation Corps and Metro High School. Plants were purchased from Ion Exchange. For more information about how to design and install a rain garden on your own, contact the Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service. There is cost share money available from the Linn County Soil and Water Conservation District. Locally, there are a number of rain garden designers and installers. Examples include Sue Kramer (364-5724), Ruth Fox (363-6018), and Smith Massman Landscape & Design (363-5230).

Rain Barrels

“Moby,” as we call the 65 gallon rainwater collection device on-site, usually travels between the auditorium and the exhibit area, and frequently makes off-site visits to other organizations and businesses as an educational tool. Holding roof water to be used alter for gardening is a good water-saving technique. Moby can be purchased through the website, and the Nature Center occasionally holds “make your own” rainb arrel programs.

Photovoltaics

A leader in energy efficiency, the Indian Creek Nature Center began using photovoltaics in 1993. The first system stored solar produced electricity in batteries. This type of system allows a homeowner or business to draw on the electricity even when the sun is not shining, but some possible energy is lost in the transfer into and back out of the batteries. The system was generating about 10 percent of what the Center was using.

A new system was designed in 2003. The current photovoltaic array, located on the sun room roof, is not a battery system. Instead, it is net metered into Alliant Energy’s electrical grid. When the Nature Center produces more energy than it uses, the surplus electricity enters the electric grid and is used by other Alliant customers. Selling surplus electricity to Alliant further reduces our energy bill. The system currently generates about 40 percent of our energy needs, powering lights, appliances, and computers.   Find more information on photovoltaics from Pfoff Electric, GoSolar!, Iowa Energy Center and I-Renew.