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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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 25 percent of our energy needs, powering lights, appliances, and computers.