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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

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* 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

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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

* 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.

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* President's DayPresident's Day

ICNC offices and buildings will be closed for the holiday. All trails are open for your enjoyment!

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* 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

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* 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

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* 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.

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* 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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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.