Dallas County Conservation BoardNews and Events
For more information see the recent newsletter:
21st Annual Prairie Awakenings-Prairie Awoke:
Much Can Be Learned By Watching Children At Play
Saturday, September 7, 2019
3:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Kuehn Conservation Area, Earlham, Iowa
Healthy and Homemade Workshop Series with ISU Extension and Outreach:
Cook Now, Enjoy Later
Sunday Aug. 11, 1:30-2:30 PM
Preregistration required (515-465-3577), $5/class materials fee payable at the door
A series focused on strategies for using your time, money and skills wisely to save money and prepare nutritious and safe foods. Discover how planning can reduce stress, save money, and provide your family nutritious home-cooked meals. Do you feel you have no time to cook? You’re not alone. Most people agree that making meals at home is healthier and less costly than eating out and buying ready-made meals, yet only one in three Americans find the time to cook their meals at home on a daily basis. If you feel crunched for time, why not try batch cooking? Learn how to prepare several meals efficiently in just one morning or afternoon and then freeze them to serve the following week or month. You’ll go home with a complete guide for making up to 18 healthy, delicious meals at once, at a cost of about $1 per serving! (No actual cooking will be done in class.)
Nature Play Day
Wednesday, August 14, 10:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m.
Forest Park Museum
Free, no registration required.
Sticks are wonderful, useful, cheap, fun, natural play things! From playing Pooh sticks at the bridge, pick-up sticks in the yard, creating your own stick fort in the forest, or who knows what else – sticks are it! Bring out kids of all ages for a morning of free fun!
Pioneer Stories and Artifacts
Sunday, August 18, 1:30 p.m. @ Forest Park Museum
This twenty to thirty minute program will be an up close look at our pioneer artifact collection and some of Dallas County’s unique pioneer stories.
70th Anniversary– Sand County Almanac / Leopold Series
Leopold’s Green Fire documentary & Stargazing
Saturday, August 3 or 24, 9:00 p.m.—???
Kuehn Conservation Area
One of Aldo Leopold’s seminal essays in A Sand County Almanac, is titled “Thinking Like a Mountain”. It retells the story of a young Leopold, seeing for the first time, the fierce green fire, burning in the eye of an old wolf as it died. Participants in this program will be asked to recall their own personal viewing of the green fire, and to examine what can be learned by “thinking like a mountain”. Following this discussion, we will present DCCB’s version of the old-time drive in movie. We will put up a large screen in the arena in Kuehn’s prairie, turn on the projector, dish up some popcorn, and invite you to watch the documentary film of Leopold’s writings, titled Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time. After the film, we will shut down the “drive-in”, turn out the lights and you are invited to view the summertime constellations playing overhead. Limited camping is available at Keuhn Conservation Area.
Prairie and Creek Walk
Sunday, August 25, 1:30 p.m. @ Forest Park Museum
This is your chance to experience the prairie and creek at Forest Park Museum. Visitors will have the opportunity to walk through our creek and prairie and experience some of the very diverse life found there.
Weeks of Sept. 9, Sept. 16 and Sept. 23
Kuehn & Voas Conservation Areas
Upon registering for this program we will obtain your name and contact information so that when the big push of migrating monarchs move south through Dallas County we will be able to invite you to our tagging program. Unlike past years, we will not try to guess at the best date for this natural miracle. Instead, this year we will simply rejoice in the date that the monarch’s migration moves through, and contact our registered wild friends to join us at Kuehn or Voas. Past tagging programs have targeted weekday early evening and weekend mornings to connect migrating monarchs and registered taggers. The program will share of the mysteries of this migration and engage you in the tagging research project of the Monarch Watch Project. Net in hand, you will wander the prairies of Kuehn and Voas, capture a monarch, record the field data, tag and release a miracle.
Prairie Awakening—Prairie Awoke Celebration:
Much can be learned while watching children at play
Saturday, September 7, 3:00 p.m.—9:00 p.m.
Kuehn Conservation Area
The theme of Prairie Awakening-Prairie Awoke 2019 is youth. At this year’s Celebration, the Meskwaki Nation will be featured. A Youth Drum, along with a contingency of youth dancers, will share the story of the Meskwaki Nation through their drumming, song, and dance. DCCB will unveil its “Buffalo Wallows” project, led by local youth. Dallas Chief Eagle will again share his messages through a Hoop Dance presentation and a bonfire audience participation Hoop Dance. A rehabilitated raptor, and tagged migrating monarchs will be released from the Celebration’s arena. Several local traditional drums will bring the drum and songs to the arena with dancers in regalia and more opportunities for you to join in the celebration with your dance. As traditions direct, we will sit together, in the tallgrass prairie arena at Kuehn. Bring your lawn chair for seating. The event is free. Concessions will be available on site.
Sunday, September 8, 1:00 p.m.—4:00 p.m.
Kuehn Conservation Area
Pre-registration required for this free program
Every year as the hummingbirds migrate south for the winter, we see an amazing number of them in the lower prairie tracts at Kuehn. Join us this year as we marvel at their color and aerial dexterity, and try to entice them to come to hand-held feeders!
Pop Up Programs
Most Mondays, 10:00 a.m.
Forest Park Museum
Free but call ahead to confirm
Join us for a chance to see our snake collection eat their tasty weekly meal and learn about the other Dallas County critters in our live collection. These underappreciated critters play important roles in our ecosystems and have some “superpowers” to share.
Forest Park Museum
To occur on warm (70 + degrees), sunny, calm days.
Walk along with a naturalist to see, identify and count butterflies along a dedicated 1.5-mile survey route that starts and ends at Forest Park Museum. In 2018, the survey was completed 16 times between May 16 and September 4, with 493butterflies from 19 different species being counted. Call to learn more about voluntary training programs or to be put on the contact list for this free, recurring volunteer opportunity.
Leopold Series Events
(throughout the year)
Sand County Almanac 70th Anniversary
The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most iconic and influential literary works in the conservation field, A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. A native Iowan, Leopold is considered to be the father of the modern day science of ecology. Dallas County Conservation Board will celebrate this milestone by offering a series of programs inviting the public to come to know, or in some cases reexamine, the ideas Leopold presented in this book.
Leopold states that the objectives of environmental education should be to teach the student to see the land, then to understand what they see, and to finally enjoy what they understand. DCCB’s 2019 programs will strive to do just this. Can we help you to see Dallas County with new eyes? Will you better understand the land you perceive with newfound vision? And can we help you to turn this sight and understanding into a new level of enjoyment of Dallas County’s wild places? Please consider inviting Leopold’s thoughts into your world by joining us in this 70th anniversary year.
We kicked off this series of programs in January with a public viewing of a documentary film The Green Fire. This Emmy award winning production examines Leopold’s life and writings and served to set the table for Dallas County learners to begin a year of Leopold.
Leopold Bench Project was also launched in January. DCCB will engage the public in the building of a set of a dozen Leopold benches, each inscribed with a Leopold quote. These benches will serve both a utilitarian function by providing seating at DCCB programming and also provide an educational service by putting Aldo’s words in the public eye. These benches will be dispersed around the county at various DCCB Conservation Areas and Raccoon River Valley Trail sites where they will inspire new vision, understanding, and joy.
The Leopold year invites you to transfer your personal learning into the wilds of Dallas County, sharing it with a hiker, or biker, as they seek a seat for rest, and come away with a new vision of our place.
Scheduled event information listed above.
2019 Dallas County Big Year Birding Challenge
(throughout the year)
Dallas County citizens may be surprised at the number of different bird species that exist within the area. We have diverse habitats and unique geographic features that are attractive to many varieties of birds. In an effort to educate the public, DCCB staff would like to partner with Dallas County citizens to document as many different kinds of birds within the county for the year 2019. In the birding community this is known as a Big Year.
What: A Big Year is a fun, informal competition to document the birds in Dallas County for one year.
Where: Within the borders of Dallas County. Counting a bird just over the county line is poaching.
When: DCCB staff will have scheduled birding events every 3 months. We will also be documenting during non-birding events with the public like river floats. In addition we have several annual birding events like the High Trestle Hawk Watch and Christmas Bird Counts that will be included. If something out of the ordinary shows up we will have a pop-up program (sign-up to be notified).
Why: To stimulate the senses and feed the soul! Birds have beautiful coloration, euphonic songs and interesting behaviors. DCCB staff would like to create awareness in the community regarding these jewels that inhabit our landscape.
DCCB has a goal of finding 100 different bird species for 2019. We will continue to post and update our Big Year list on our website and Facebook pages. Our first field event will be March 30th at Voas Nature Area near Minburn. Some binoculars and field guides will be available. Please register for these free programs.
2019 Dallas County Big Year Birding Challenge Highlights
Eastern Bluebird (USFWS photo)
Osprey have returned to Waukee/West Des Moines near Woodland Hills Elementary School.
Yellow-headed Blackbirds at Voas.