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 24-25 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 24-25 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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Wildlife

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.