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- November 27, 2014
- November 28, 2014
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- November 30, 2014
- December 6, 2014
- 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. at 9:00 am
- Nature's NoelNature's Noel
Stop by the barn and pick up the Cedar Greenbelt Trail Map to easily locate the various types of woodlands at the Indian Creek Nature Center.
This is habitat where the edge of the prairie blends into the deciduous forest. In a savanna, several huge spreading trees grow on an acre, with a riot of flowers and grasses thriving beneath them. Savannas once covered many Iowa hilltops. It was one of the first habitats to disappear during settlement, as old oaks were cut for lumber and fuel and the land was plowed into fields. A good example of an oak-hickory savanna is just north of the Lynne Stimple Prairie off Otis Road.
Box elders, sugar maples and silver maples all provide sweet sap, which the Nature Center boils into maple syrup in a tradition that dates back to Native Americans. Visit in late winter and early spring to see sap dripping from hundreds of tapped trees and savor the sweet smell of boiling sap rising from the sugarhouse. The Nature Center’s sugarbush is located just across the footbridge south of the barn and sugarhouse .
Follow a boardwalk into the riparian area, and you’ll meet giant cottonwoods and silver maples. Look for signs helping you find younger trees, such as swamp white oak and northern pecan. These new trees diversify both the species of the area and the age of the forest, providing boundless opportunities for wildlife to thrive. Sit on a bench and listen for the sound of pileated woodpeckers drumming on dead snags, or look for the large holes they chip into the trees. Watch for elusive wood ducks swimming in the large ephemeral pool near the boardwalk, or a female ducking into a nest box in the spring. The path will eventually take you to the Lynch Wetland.
Wood Duck Way is part of the riparian floodplain - lowlands bordering Indian Creek and the Cedar River. The floodplain is one of nature’s water purification systems. Silver maples, cottonwood, black willows, river birch and sycamore thrive here. Their root systems are shallow and widespread, a special adaptation for surviving periodic flooding. During floods, rising water leaves the banks of the rivers and creeks and spreads out across the floodplain. This slows the current, allowing sediments and contaminants to settle out. The Nature Center’s riparian forests are along either side of Bena Brook, Indian Creek and along the north side of the Cedar River.