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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

* 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

* 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.

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

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

* 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

* 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

* 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.

* 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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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.


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.