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* Total Lunar Eclipse at MoonsetTotal Lunar Eclipse at Moonset

Time: 4:00 am

Join astronomer and naturalist Jenny Rupp in the prairie along Otis Road near the Nature Center’s labyrinth to enjoy a predawn lunar eclipse. Come and go as you please. Bring a lawn chair, snack, and dress warm. We will provide coffee, telescope and binoculars. Program will be cancelled if it is rainy or cloudy. $5 per person.

* Easter Egg Hunt - OrienteeringEaster Egg Hunt - Orienteering

Time: 1:00 pm

Registration is FULL, no more registrations will be accepted. NO WALK-INS. The Easter rabbit left a map showing where all the eggs are hidden. You will have to retrieve one egg from each stash to prove you’ve found each hiding place. We’ll teach compass basics and elementary map reading so you can take your map and compass out on the trails to fill your bag. After finding each stash, bring your eggs back to enjoy an Easter treat. We will finish by 3 PM. Registration is required by Thursday, April 2 Individual: age 12 or older. M $6; NM $8. Family: age 5-12 must be accompanied by adult M $15; NM $20.

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* Cub Corner: Sounds of SpringCub Corner: Sounds of Spring

Time: 10:00 am

You know it’s spring when the frog pond wakes up with a chorus of joyful singing. Children will learn about the frog life cycle and special frog features, sing frog songs, do a frog craft and go on a frog-watching hike. Evening is the frog’s favorite time to sing. Children: M $5; NM $8. Parents: Free.

* Garden Party!Garden Party!

Time: 5:30 pm

The weather is warming and the world around us is once again showing its colors. Gather to celebrate this new life as it emerges all around us. Bring your favorite pair of gloves and a light snack to share as we start to do some spring cleaning around our campus. We will discuss and highlight volunteer opportunities for upcoming land management and spend some time working in our outdoor spaces. Free. Please let us know you will be joining us by calling the nature center 362-0664.

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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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* Backyard Chickens WorkshopBackyard Chickens Workshop

Time: 6:30 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 4:00 PM on Wednesday, April 8. M $10; NM $12.

* Cub Corner: Sounds of SpringCub Corner: Sounds of Spring

Time: 6:30 pm

You know it’s spring when the frog pond wakes up with a chorus of joyful singing. Children will learn about the frog life cycle and special frog features, sing frog songs, do a frog craft and go on a frog-watching hike. Evening is the frog’s favorite time to sing. Children: M $5; NM $8. Parents: Free.

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* Plants, Pollinators & Seeds. Plants, Pollinators & Seeds.

Time: 1:00 pm

Home School Program 2014-15 “Explore Your Wild World” Plants, Pollinators & Seeds. Wednesday, April 15., 1 pm. 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. Fee: $5 per student age 5 and older

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* Volunteer & Teacher NaturalistVolunteer & Teacher Naturalist

Time: 12:00 pm

Volunteer Information Session - Teacher Naturalist Training. There are many exciting ways to volunteer at the Nature Center! Join us at noon to learn about all the opportunities. At 12:30 PM there will be a training specifically for those interested in becoming a teacher-naturalist – volunteers who lead groups of children on nature adventures. You will have an opportunity to experience being a teacher-naturalist at the pond. We will begin indoors but soon move to the wetland so come prepared for the weather. Invite a friend and begin an exciting adventure as a Nature Center volunteer. Call 319-362-0664 for more information or to register. Free.

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* BSA Naturalist BadgeBSA Naturalist Badge

Time: 9:30 am

This session is closed, no more registrations will be accepted. 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.(Fulfills requirements 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 & 11)

* BSA Forester BadgeBSA Forester Badge

Time: 9:30 am

Saturday, April 18, 2015 9:30 - 11:30 AM Boy Scouts - Webelos. This session is closed, no more registrations will be accepted. If you love to explore trees in your own backyard and would like to learn more about what a forester does, you should check out this workshop. Learn how to identify trees and other plants of the forest and more.(Fulfills requirements 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 9) Registration and payment are required prior to the event. This can be done online, in person, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. Use a separate registration form for each event. Completed registration forms, payment, and roster of scouts attending must be received by the Nature Center no later than one week prior to the scheduled workshop (by 4 p.m. on the Friday prior to the event). Late registrations will be excepted through the Wednesday preceding the event at an additional fee of $2/scout. Payment must accompany registration. To register, call 319-362-0664 or visit: www.indiancreeknaturecenter.org. To complete the process you must also download and fill out one Registration Form and one Roster sheet per pack/group and submit these two forms to ICNC via email or fax.

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* Chimney Swifts ReturnChimney Swifts Return

Time: 1:00 pm

The historic Althea R. Sherman Chimney Swift Tower, now located in Iowa City, has been restored. Linda & Robert Scarth were privileged to photograph the first family of chimney swifts to nest in the newly restored 99-year-old tower. Over several weeks the Scarths made images and detailed observations of the five nestlings as they grew. Join the Scarths’ adventure through their amazing photographs. Learn about the history of this amazing structure. This weekend is the traditional date chimney swifts return to Iowa after wintering in the upper Amazon Basin of South America. M $5; NM $8

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* Earth Day / Sense of WonderEarth Day / Sense of Wonder

Time: 6:30 pm

Earth Day Celebration and Sense of Wonder Trail Seasonal Reopening Wednesday, April 22 6:30-8 PM Celebrate Earth Day with your family in nature! Encourage your sense of wonder as you wander our certified Nature Explore classroom activity stations. Sing, play and dance along with Sheila Stevens on the music stage. Spend time at the frog pond with a net and a naturalist to find frogs and other water friends who live there. Try your “foot” at stump hopping, and discover what’s in the grass hut. Join us as we reconnect with Mother Earth and find peace in nature. Free!

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* Women in Nature Women in Nature

Time: 8:00 am

.Women in Nature (formerly Women’s Walking Workshop) registration is closed, watch for this amazing day next spring! A Day-long Wellness Retreat Saturday, April 25 8 AM-3:30 PM Enjoy a retreat into nature to reconnect with earth, self and others. In the morning, Sarah Young with zing coaching will lead Nature as our Teacher: Leadership Lessons from Mother Earth. Marsha Nieland, yoga teacher at Fusion Studio, will facilitate Brave Intuitive Creating, a fun, artistic adventure beginning with gentle yoga, a short guided meditation and art experience. Enjoy two engaging, guided walks that offer a choice of experiences including a labyrinth walk. Carlson College of Massage Therapy will provide massages and a variety of mini-sessions will be offered during the lunch break. You can register and find details at indiancreeknaturecenter.org. Call 319-362-0664 with questions. M $45; NM $55. Register by April 10 and save $5. After April 10th cost will be M $50; NM $60.

* Eagle Scout Project OrientatioEagle Scout Project Orientatio

Time: 9:00 am

Interested in learning more about Eagle Scout service project opportunities at ICNC? Join us to learn about available upcoming projects and begin the process. Meet in the Sugarhouse. Preregistration required. Call to register: 319-362-0664. Free.

* Eagle Scout OrientationEagle Scout Orientation

Time: 9:30 am

Saturday, April 25 9:30 am - 11:00am Scouts, parents, leaders!! Are you Interested in learning more about Eagle Scout service project opportunities at ICNC? Join us to learn about available upcoming projects and begin the process. Preregistration is required. Call 362-0664 to register. Free.

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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.