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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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* Closed for President's DayClosed for President's Day

Buildings and offices closed but all trails are open dawn to dusk

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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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FAQ

Animals

There’s a raccoon in my garage/house. Can I trap it and release it away from my house?

Trapping and moving raccoons does not work. A detailed study revealed that raccoons have a strong homing ability and will return quickly. So, removing a raccoon and driving it 20 miles out into the country will not solve your problem.

The only way to keep raccoons out of structures is to find out how they get in. Raccoons leave at dark so have your patching materials ready.  Check to make sure the animal has left for the evening (but make sure it is not a female with babies inside the structure).  Patch the hole so it cannot get back in when it returns. The only way a trap will work in this situation is if you trap the raccoon as it leaves the structure and hold it in the trap while you patch the hole.  Then release the raccoon right there.

How do I get rid of bats?

Bats are very beneficial creatures, consuming literally thousands of insects daily!  They actually cause few problems, even if roosting in an attic. But every once in a while, a bat will find its way into the living quarters of a home, most often after dark, scaring everyone half to death. Usually they are easy to evict.  Turn off all the lights in the room and open any exterior doors and windows. The bat will soon depart on its own. If the bat won’t leave, turn the lights back on.  Bats are light shy and will try to hide in the folds of a curtain or other dark location. Carefully cover it with a large jar or landing net or even a gloved hand.  Release the bat outdoors and search to locate and plug the bat’s entrance hole.

If your problem is bats roosting in your attic, your best weapon is a caulking gun. Every hole and creack leading into your attic should be filled with quality caulking. Vents should be covered by screening with a mesh no larger than 1/4 inch. Small holes are sometimes hard to find but often they are located under eaves or around attic windows. You can locate the holes during the day but they holes must be plugged at night after the bats have left for the evening hunt.

Rabbits are destroying my garden!  How do I get rid of them?

Probably the best defense against rabbits is a stout fence. Rabbits can leap long distances but they can’t jump very high. A two-foot chicken wire fence is plenty high enough to keep them away from flowers and vegetables. The bottom two inches should be buried in the dirt.  Fencing can be expensive, but it works well.  Trapping is generally a very temporary solution. A more long-term solution would be to encourage predators and discourage rabbit habitat. Remove shrubbery and debris where rabbits can find shelter and leave open lawn surrounding your garden. A large tree nearby may encourage predators to roost and hunt.

Trees

There is something wrong with a tree in my yard.  Can you come out and look at it?

Unfortunately, the Nature Center does not have the staff or the specific expertise to visit and diagnose the many issues confronting trees and plantlife.  We recommend contacting the ISU Extension Office for your county.  They may ask you to bring in leaves or bark from your tree to be examined and/or tested. You might also contact Trees Forever to see if they have a field coordinator in your area who might be able to help.