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* Happy New Year!!Happy New Year!!

Nature Center offices and buildings are closed January 1st and 2nd for the New Year's Holiday. All trails are open for your enjoyment!

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* Happy New Year!!Happy New Year!!

Nature Center offices and buildings are closed January 1st and 2nd for the New Year's Holiday. All trails are open for your enjoyment!

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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

* Home School-Eagles/Owls/HawksHome School-Eagles/Owls/Hawks

Time: 1:00 pm

Home School Program 2014-15 “Explore Your Wild World” Eagles, Owls and Hawks: The Raptors. Thursday, January 8, 1 PM. Owl, hawks and eagles are common raptors with fascinating stories. Discover the special ways each hunts and survives in Iowa. Dissect an owl pellet to discover what it has been eating. Learn about the amazing flight abilities of our hawks and falcons. A short hike will take us to the Cedar River to view eagles. Bring your binoculars or borrow ours. 1 ½ hours. Fee: $5 per student age 5 and older

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* Eagles Have Super Powers!Eagles Have Super Powers!

Time: 10:00 am

Announcing: Cub Corner for Preschoolers Join us each month for an exciting adventure just for you and your parents in Cub Corner. Our first adventure will be with eagles, owls and hawk. Cub Corner Adventures begins with Eagles Have Super Powers! Saturday, January 10, 10 AM Discover eagles! Have fun learning about our national bird and where it hangs out in winter. Learn how eagle eyes work, and try stretching your eagle “wings.” Just how big is that nest? We’ll also learn about other raptors, such as owls and hawks. Adults must accompany children. M $5; NM $8. Parents: free.

* Backyard Chicken BasicsBackyard Chicken Basics

Time: 1:00 pm

Backyard Chicken Basics Saturday, January 10, 1 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. Register by 4 PM on Thursday, January 8. M $7 NM $10

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* Eagles Have Super Powers!Eagles Have Super Powers!

Time: 10:00 am

Announcing: Cub Corner for Preschoolers Join us each month for an exciting adventure just for you and your parents in Cub Corner. Our first adventure will be with eagles, owls and hawk. Eagles Have Super Powers! Tuesday, January 13, 10 AM Discover eagles! Have fun learning about our national bird and where it hangs out in winter. Learn how eagle eyes work, and try stretching your eagle “wings.” Just how big is that nest? We’ll also learn about other raptors, such as owls and hawks. Children must be accompanied by an adult. M $5; NM $8. Parents: free.

* Snowshoe AdventureSnowshoe Adventure

Time: 1:00 pm

Learn the basics and enjoy the snow! Basic techniques and safety will be covered then we will hit the trails. Program suitable for adults and children 2nd grade and up. No special equipment needed, just wear snow boots and layer clothing according to weather conditions. Members $10; Non-Members $15

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* Beginning Bee Keeping 2015Beginning Bee Keeping 2015

Time: 7:00 pm

This very popular CLASS IS FULL - no more registrations will be accepted. Please call 319-362-0664 to be added to the 2016 Interest List. This eight session series is designed for individuals serious about starting a beekeeping hobby. The series will take the participant through the annual cycle of beekeeping from establishing a hive to harvesting and marketing the honey produced. The class members will be actively involved in learning activities by working with the hives at the Indian Creek Nature Center. All classes are held at the Nature Center and last approximately two hours; attendance is critical. Starting two colonies of bees (recommended) costs approximately $600-$700. Beekeepers usually devote 2-5 hours weekly to working in their apiaries April-September, with several additional days in the early spring and fall. The city of Cedar Rapids currently has an ordinance against apiaries on residential property. Beekeeping is allowed in Linn County. Check with your local government to see if you can keep bees. Instructors: Bob Wolff, Phil Cummings, Jean Wiedenheft Fee includes classes, informational handouts, and use of the Nature Center’s Honeyhouse and extracting equipment (student must have attended session VII; extracting is scheduled between Sunday, August 23 and Tuesday, September 15, 2015. Plan to spend approximately 1 hour per super, plus an hour for setup and cleanup). Required text: The Beekeeper’s Handbook by Diane Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile, 2011. This book is available in the Creekside Gift Shop at Indian Creek Nature Center.

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* Guild Potluck & Annual MeetingGuild Potluck & Annual Meeting

Time: 12:00 pm

ICNC Guild Potluck and Annual Meeting Friday, January 16, Noon Current, past and future Guild members are invited to enjoy a potluck lunch and meeting to celebrate the group’s 2014 accomplishments. Bring a dish to share and your table service.

* Snowshoe AdventureSnowshoe Adventure

Time: 1:00 pm

1:00 pm Learn the basics and enjoy the snow! Basic techniques and safety will be covered then we will hit the trails. Program suitable for adults and children 2nd grade and up. No special equipment needed, just wear snow boots and layer clothing according to weather conditions. Members $10; Non-Members $15

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* Snowshoe AdventureSnowshoe Adventure

Time: 10:00 am

Learn the basics and enjoy the snow! Basic techniques and safety will be covered then we will hit the trails. Program suitable for adults and children 2nd grade and up. No special equipment needed, just wear snow boots and layer clothing according to weather conditions. Members $10; Non-Members $15

* Boogie in the Barn!Boogie in the Barn!

Time: 1:00 pm

Boogie in the Barn! Saturday, January 17, 1 PM Guitarist Sheila Stevens will keep your feet tapping and fingers snapping with fun sing-along songs for young and old. This lively afternoon of musical fun and activities will include musical crafts. We will create a few instruments of our own from gourds and other natural materials. M $5; NM $7; M Family $12; NM Family $15

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* ICNC Annual MeetingICNC Annual Meeting

Time: 4:30 pm

ICNC Annual Meeting Tuesday, January 27, 4:30 PM All members are cordially invited to attend Indian Creek Nature Center’s annual meeting.

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* BSA - Take Care of Your PlanetBSA - Take Care of Your Planet

Time: 6:00 pm

Friday, January 23, 2015 6:00-8:00 PM Bear Cub Achievement #6 Become an Earth Caretaker! Learn where energy and natural resources come from and how to use them more responsibly. Play a game to discover how much water a leaky faucet wastes. Discover ways the Nature Center is sustainable. (Fulfills requirements c, d, e & f) 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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* GSA - Be Energy StarsGSA - Be Energy Stars

Time: 9:30 am

Saturday, January 24, 2015 9:30-11:30 AM - Girls Scouts - Junior Energy is an important part of everything from the lights in your room to the food you eat. Explore energy at the Nature Center and determine your ecological footprint. Learn about using solar energy to create electricity. Build a sun oven and cook. Discover the things the Nature Center has done to turn an old barn into an energy-efficient environmental center. We will lead you on part of the Get Moving! Journey. REGISTRATION/CANCELLATION POLICY: 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.

* Paddle DayPaddle Day

Time: 12:00 pm

Paddle Day Saturday, January 24 Noon-4:30 PM Paddle Day offers something for every paddler, whether a beginner or seasoned veteran. Connect with a paddling buddy, share experiences, learn about new gear, and discover new places to paddle. Doors open at noon for you to enjoy paddling exhibits and displays by various paddling organizations. Speakers begin at 12:30 PM and will include: “Paddling Adventures in the Ozarks” by Marty Koch; “Kickapoo River, A Gem in SW Wisconsin” by Lisa Nagle and Jan Aiels; “Expanded View from the Cockpit,” by Bill and Joyce Schoon; and “Discover Great Local Paddling Opportunities.” Visit indiancreeknaturecenter.org for details. M $8; NM $12.

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* Willow Garden OrbsWillow Garden Orbs

Time: 10:00 am

Willow Garden Orbs Saturday, January 31, 10 AM Create a lovely willow orb for your garden or home using one of nature’s fastest growing plants. Participants will learn simple random weaving techniques to create one or more rustic willow ball. We will use a combination of wild willow harvested from the Nature Center wetland and cultivated basket willow. Good hand strength required. All consumable supplies provided. Participants should bring sharp garden shears or basketry scissors and a towel for wrapping your materials. We will “warm” willow “withies” across our knees, so wear an apron or old pants that can get dirty. Our finished product will be roughly basketball-sized. Bring a brown bag lunch. We will provide beverages. Register by 4 PM on Wednesday, January 28. M $25; NM $35.

* Chicken ChatterChicken Chatter

Time: 1:00 pm

Chicken Chatter Saturday, January 31, 1 PM Anyone new to keeping a flock of chickens is likely to experience the joys and frustrations of caring for animals and learning husbandry skills. Join longtime chicken keeper and ICNC Director Emeritus Rich Patterson for an interactive discussion. He will suggest solutions for the five most common problems experienced by new poultry keepers, then encourage everyone to share experiences. Call 319-362-0664 to reserve your place. Suggested donation: $5.

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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.