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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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Photo of a mounted owl in the auditorium of the Indian Creek Nature CenterMost wild animals tend to avoid one of their largest predators—humans. If you are quiet and patient, some animals may let you see them. Signs of wildlife are abundant on the property.

The Nature Center receives many inquiries about abandoned or injured wildlife people find in their yards or on hikes.  We are not licensed, equipped or staffed to handle injured or abandoned wildlife. We recommend you contact the Wapsie River Wildlife Rehabilitation Project if you have orphaned, injured, or displaced wildlife. They are volunteers licensed through the Department of Natural Resources who care for area wildlife in need. Their services are free although donations are always appreciated. The Wildlife Hotline number is: 319-480-6828. This phone number will place you in contact with over twenty rehabilitators with consideration of location, expertise of species, and circumstances. Click HERE to visit their Facebook page.

Other resources include the McBride Raptor Project at Kirkwood Community College for birds of prey (319-398-5495). You can also contact DNR Game Wardens Aric Sloterdyk (319-350-2863) or Ron Lane (319-350-2871) for assistance.

Orphaned Wildlife is Rarely Truly Orphaned

Usually mother is hidden nearby watching. Adult mammals have strong odors that are easily detected by predators. Young mammals are naturally protected by not having strong odors that attract predators. Wild mothers will not stay in a nest unless they are actually nursing their offspring. If you discover a nest of young wildlife, leave it alone. They do not need to be “rescued”.

Baby rabbits spend many hours alone in their fur-lined nest with the mother rabbit secretly visiting only to nurse them. She is rarely seen. Rabbit nests that are discovered should be left alone and pets should be kept away from the site. If tiny rabbits handled by humans, the mother rabbit will still return and care for them. Her instinct to care for her young is greater than her fear of human scent. Leave them in the nest or at the nest site if the nest have been destroyed. The mother will move them to a new nest. Be patient. She may wait for darkness to hide her activities.

Deer hide fawns in tall grasses or woodland plants. Fawns may appear to be abandoned but do not be fooled. The doe is nearby watching and she will return. Never remove a fawn from where it is found.

Photo of bluebird hatchlings on the prairie at the Indian Creek Nature CenterBaby birds are frequently found on the ground, especially as they leave the nest for the first time, an act called fledging. It is natural for fledglings to spend some days on the ground while learning to fly and be independent. The parents feed and care for the young during this critical period. It is important to keep cats and dogs away from the site. A young bird found on the ground can be placed in a nearby bush or tree for safety. If you place it back in the nest, it will only leave again. Birds that are fledglings will be covered with feathers.

Storms often knock baby birds from nests before the birds are ready to fledge. These birds will not be fully feathered. Place the bird back in the nest if you can. Birds have very little sense of smell and parent bird will not detect that a human has handled their young. Parents will return to care for the young. Do not take the bird into your house. If the parents return and cannot find their young, they will assume a predator destroyed them and not return to that nesting site. It is best to let nature take it’s course. Injured creatures are a link in the natural food chain.

All wild baby birds, mammals and reptiles are difficult to care for. Wild animals and birds never make good pets. They often carry diseases you can contract. A license from the state Department of Natural Resources is required to care for injured animals or birds. Wildlife rehabilitators are trained and licensed to care for injured or truly orphaned wildlife. Contact the Iowa DNR, 1-515-281-IDNR for more information. It is illegal to have a wild bird, mammal or reptile as a pet unless you have a state license to do so.