Calendar

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* Spring Plant SaleSpring Plant Sale

Time: 9:00 am

Nature Center Guild Annual Spring Plant Sale. You will find wonderful plants of all types, yard art, willow trellis & towers for your yard and garden. Local vendors also offer a wide variety of yard art, foods and garden plants for sale. Open 9 am - noon

* Backyard Chickens Workshop Backyard Chickens Workshop

Time: 2:00 pm

This Class has been rescheduled for Friday, May 8 at 6:30 pm.

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* Full Flower MoonFull Flower Moon

Time: 7:30 pm

Enjoy a casual walk beginning before sunset to enjoy spring ephemeral wildflowers along the trails. Early May is when woodland ephemeral wildflowers are in full bloom. We’ll enjoy a spring sunset and the rising full moon will light our path as we return. Meet at the barn. Walk will be approximately one mile on grass paths and natural trails in both prairie and woods. Individual: M $4; NM $6. Family: M $10; NM $15.

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* Home School-Life in the WaterHome School-Life in the Water

Time: 1:00 pm

Home School Program 2014-15 “Explore Your Wild World” Life in the Water: Exploring the Pond. Wednesday, May 6, 1 PM. This water experience focuses on all the life that lives in and around the pond and creek. The water habitats are home to many creatures, both unique and bizarre, that survive and thrive in their wet world. Use scientific tools to measure the water quality of our pond and nets to collect and examine the life in the pond. Be prepared for mud. 2 hours. Fee: $5 per student age 5 and older

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* Backyard Chickens Workshop Backyard Chickens Workshop

Time: 6:30 pm

Backyard Chickens Workshop Friday, May 8, 6:30-8:30 pm Learn 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, April 30. M $10; NM $12.

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* IOWATER WorkshopIOWATER Workshop

Time: 8:30 am

IOWATER, Iowa’s statewide volunteer water quality monitoring program, will host an introductory workshop in the auditorium. Participants will learn how to monitor and assess the quality of their local streams, rivers, and lakes through classroom instruction and hands-on training. Registration fees are $20 per person or $30 for a team and cover all program fees, meals, and testing equipment. Pre-registration required by May 2. For more information or to register, please visit www.iowadnr.gov/iowater and click on “Calendar of Events.”

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* Cub Corner: Tree TalkCub Corner: Tree Talk

Time: 10:00 am

We invite preschoolers and parents to join us for an exciting adventure each month in Cub Corner. Did you know that trees tell stories? Come hear great stories from apartment trees and the animals that live in them. Learn the parts of a tree, explore the years and celebrate a tree’s birthday by learning to read tree rings! Search for leaf shapes, feel bark textures, smell a tree, and do a craft. Children: M $5; NM $8. Parents: Free.

* Garden Party: Calling All NatuGarden Party: Calling All Natu

Time: 5:30 pm

May showers bring more flowers. Join the Garden Party Crew each month for discussion on upcoming land restoration projects, opportunities to volunteer and, of course, a little dirty work, too. Bring a snack to share if you desire, and join us in keeping our campus beautiful. All ages are welcome. Free.

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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

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* Cub Corner: Tree TalkCub Corner: Tree Talk

Time: 10:00 am

We invite preschoolers and parents to join us for an exciting adventure each month in Cub Corner. Did you know that trees tell stories? Come hear great stories from apartment trees and the animals that live in them. Learn the parts of a tree, explore the years and celebrate a tree’s birthday by learning to read tree rings! Search for leaf shapes, feel bark textures, smell a tree, and do a craft. Children: M $5; NM $8. Parents: Free.

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* Eco-SwapEco-Swap

Time: 1:00 pm

Eco-Swap Sunday, May 17, 1-3 PM At Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center 120 E Boyson Rd, Hiawatha, IA Eco-Swaps are a way for people to come together and “swap” items they no longer want or need for items that they do want or need. Everything is FREE, so no money is exchanged. Bring an item(s) to swap and be sure it is in good condition and working order. Each individual is responsible for taking un-swapped items home with them. Don't have items to swap? No worries, you are still welcome to come. The philosophy behind an eco-swap is one of love, abundance and sharing. Partners include Indian Creek Nature Center, Catherine McAuley Center, The Tapestry, and Lovely Lane Methodist Church. For more information call Prairiewoods at 319-395-6700 or visit www.prairiewoods.org. Free.

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* CLOSED - Memorial DayCLOSED - Memorial Day

Buildings and Offices Closed. All trails are open for your enjoyment sunrise to sunset.

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* Monarchs & Milkweed Seed BombsMonarchs & Milkweed Seed Bombs

Time: 10:00 am

Andria Cossolotto and Patty Ankrum, members of Monarchs of Eastern Iowa, raised monarch caterpillars throughout last summer and released the adult butterflies to the wild. Last winter they traveled to Mexico to visit the monarch winter resting site. Come hear about their experiences and learn more about this amazing insect. Discuss how you can help monarch butterflies survive. Make milkweed seed balls from mud and seed (a.k.a.“seed bombs”); then hike out to the prairie and toss the bombs about, to increase the milkweed diversity of the prairie. We may even spot some monarch butterflies returning to Iowa by then! Participants will be welcome to take seed bombs home to introduce milkweed into the home habitat. Adults: M $5; NM $8. Children age 3 and up: $3.

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Woodlands

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.

Oak-Hickory Savanna

Photo of an oak-hickory savanna at the Indian Creek Nature CenterThis 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.

Sugarbush

Photo of a tapped maple tree with two sap collection bags for maple syruping at the Indian Creek Nature CenterBox 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 .

Wood Duck Way and the Riparian Floodplain

Children walking on Wood Duck Way boardwalk at Indian Creek Nature CenterFollow 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.