Calendar

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* Nature's NoelNature's Noel

Time: 9:00 am

Nature’s Noel Saturday, December 6 9 AM-Noon Let heaven and nature sing! Centerpieces, wreaths and swags made with fresh greens; frozen soups and appetizers; vendors with various handmade wares; cookie dough and candy; and live music combine to create a festive holiday event. Shop early for the best selection! Sponsored by the ICNC Guild to benefit the Nature Center. Free.

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* Fighting Child Trafficking Fighting Child Trafficking

Time: 7:00 pm

Fighting Child Trafficking with Hope and Freedom through Rapha House Tuesday, December 9 at 7:00 PM Indian Creek Nature Center 6665 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids 319-362-0664 Rapha House exists to love, rescue, and heal girls who have been rescued from trafficking and sexual exploitation. This year Rapha House opened the first special needs "safe house" in Cambodia. Doug and Donna Burkle have spent the past year getting this program started. This evening will be a summation of what has been accomplished (raising chickens and creating gardens) and what needs to be done when they return to Cambodia in January. All are welcome to attend.

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* Home School-Iowa Geology Home School-Iowa Geology

Time: 1:00 pm

Home School Program 2014-15 “Explore Your Wild World” Iowa’s Geology. Wednesday, December 10, 1 PM. Many geological forces have shaped Iowa’s landscape. Learn how oceans, erosion, rivers & glaciers have shaped and carved the “land between two rivers.” Learn to identify the different kinds of rocks, discover how they form and perform experiments on various common Iowa minerals to identify each. Iowa has a rich geology that is an important part of our natural history. 1 1/2 hour. Fee: $5 per student age 5 and older

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* Coffee and ChatCoffee and Chat

Time: 9:00 am

Coffee and Chat Thursday, December 11, 9-10 a.m. On the second Thursday of each month, all are welcome to gather in the sunroom at Indian Creek Nature Center to enjoy coffee and conversation about the latest happenings at the Nature Center. Enjoy a social time, learn what’s currently happening in nature, meet Nature Center staff, and become better acquainted with our facilities, programs and trails. Free.

* 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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* The Geminid WalkThe Geminid Walk

Time: 7:00 pm

The Geminid Walk. Friday , December 12 ,7 p.m. This is the weekend of the meteor shower but rather than do a watch, we would do a trail walk watching for meteors. If cloudy, the walk will still go on to enjoy an early winter evening. Free.

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* BSA - Geology BadgeBSA - Geology Badge

Time: 9:30 am

Saturday, December 13, 2014 9:30-11:30 AM Boy Scouts - Webelos Registration is CLOSED this workshop is FULL! Thanks for your support. Be a geologist for a day! Explore exciting careers in geology, discover fossils to take home, experiment with minerals, and travel back in time to learn how our planet has been shaped and reshaped. (Fulfills requirements 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 & 8)

* Winter Camping WorkshopWinter Camping Workshop

Time: 1:00 pm

Winter Camping Workshop Saturday, December 13, 1 PM Yes, winter is a great time to camp—no bugs, no crowds, and beautiful scenery. But you need to know how to be comfortable and safe. Rodney Bradley, experienced Michigan backcountry winter camper, will discuss gear, backcountry travel, clothing, food and safety. Registration recommended by 4 PM on Wednesday, December 10. M $10; NM $15.

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* Nature Center CLOSEDNature Center CLOSED

Time: 8:30 am

ICNC will be closed on Monday, December 15 for staff development.

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* Winter Solstice at PrairiewoodWinter Solstice at Prairiewood

Time: 6:00 pm

Winter Solstice at Prairiewoods Thursday, December 18 6-8 PM The hearth is the heart of the home, and the sun is Earth’s hearth. Both help to warm away night’s darkness! Commemorate the stillness of the sun and the blessing of the hearth during the winter solstice at Prairiewoods (120 E. Boyson Road, Hiawatha). Celebrate the longest night that gives way to greater light by participating in an ancient Celtic tradition of blessing the sacred hearth and welcoming the Christmas light. Please bring a symbol of home.This is part of a series of seasonal celebrations sponsored by Prairiewoods, Matthew 25, Ushers Ferry Historic Village and Indian Creek Nature.  No registration required.  Free will donation.

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* Merry ChristmasMerry Christmas

Nature Center offices and buildings are closed December 24-26 for the Christmas holiday. All trails are open for your enjoyment!

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* Merry ChristmasMerry Christmas

Nature Center offices and buildings are closed December 24-26 for the Christmas holiday. All trails are open for your enjoyment!

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* Merry ChristmasMerry Christmas

Nature Center offices and buildings are closed December 24-26 for the Christmas holiday. All trails are open for your enjoyment!

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* Orienteering - Dec. 27, 2014Orienteering - Dec. 27, 2014

Time: 1:00 pm

Orienteering Saturday, December 27, 1 PM Orienteering is a common winter sport in many northern European countries. Participate on foot, skis, or snowshoes. Bring your own compass or borrow one of ours. Receive basic compass instruction before seeking control points along the trails. Registration is suggested. M $8; NM $12; M Family $18; NM Family $25.

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* Snowshoe Adventure - Dec. 29Snowshoe Adventure - Dec. 29

Time: 10:00 am

Snowshoe Adventure Monday, December 29, 10 AM Slip on a pair of our snowshoes and join us to explore winter trails. No experience needed. Learn how to stay upright and warm, and how to maneuver over or around obstacles. Wear either winter or hiking boots. Hiking or ski poles are helpful but optional. M $8; NM $12, Adults and Children. This event is for children age second grade and up with adults. Children should wear big snow boots to fit into the snowshoes. If you are considering purchasing snowshoes and you are not sure what type would be best for you, come check us out! We have several different styles to try. If we have less than 4" of snow, we will learn about snowshoeing and go for a winter hike. Dress for the weather.

* Build a Quinzhee - Dec. 29Build a Quinzhee - Dec. 29

Time: 1:00 pm

Build a Quinzhee Monday, December 29, 1 PM Bring your snow shovel to create a quinzhee—a traditional Athabascan Native American shelter made of snow. We’ll work in two stages, with a warm-up/hot chocolate break in between. Rodney, our shelter building pro, will share ideas and tips on dressing for the weather and being safe. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please preregister. Adult or children: M $4; NM $6. If we don't have sufficient snow coverage, we will take a winter hike and learn about outdoor winter survival.

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* Tracks, Tracks, TracksTracks, Tracks, Tracks

Time: 1:00 pm

Tracks, Tracks, Tracks Tuesday, December 30, 1 PM Learn to recognize tracks you see in snow as you create a unique track t-shirt with paints and rubber animal paw molds. Transform your gently-used cotton t-shirt into a fun new garment. You provide the shirt; we bring the rest! Children must be accompanied by an adult. Adults or children: M $4; NM $6.

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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.