Dallas County Conservation BoardNews and Events
For more information see the recent newsletter:
Dallas County Conservation Board
Raccoon River Greenbelt Newsletter
Fall Equinox Edition 2019
Voas Nature Area Youth Hunting Zone
The Dallas County Conservation Board manages a unique Youth Hunting Area west of Minburn. The Voas Youth Hunting Area is for encouraging youth to enjoy the outdoors and introduce them to the challenge and thrill of the sport of hunting. Free permits are required and a limited number of permits are issued daily. More information can be found in this article and brochure. Permits can be obtained by contacting the DCCB office at 515-465-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Raccoon River Valley Photography" - Ray Yaros
November 5 - December 2, 2019
Waukee Public Library
Ray Yaros is a nationally recognized artist based in Lebanon, New Jersey. In the early 2000s, he was commissioned by Dallas County Philanthropist Jerry Kuehn to photograph the Kuehn Conservation Area and the Raccoon River Watershed of Dallas County. Yaros uses 19th century cameras to achieve stunning black and white images. These works showcase his great talent and the amazing natural beauty of central Iowa. The 20 photos are part of the permanent collection of Forest Park Museum, near Perry. The museum features numerous treasures from throughout Dallas County.
Dallas County Christmas Bird Count
Saturday, December 21
Preregistration is required for this free program.
Come join DCCB and Raccoon River Watershed Association for a day of birding with a purpose. Each year local bird clubs gather around the Christmas holiday to take a “snapshot” of what birds are in their area. This information is sent to the National Audubon Society which looks at the long term health of bird populations over the last 100 years. Participants are divided into groups, each with an experienced birder in a different location in the county. We usually hike in the morning and drive the area in the afternoon. It does not matter if you are a beginning or experienced birder, the day is filled with beauty and opportunities for learning.
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.
When it Snows We Ski!
Voas Nature Area
Select weekends and school holidays throughout the winter, if there are 4 or more inches of snow on the ground and a naturalist is available, we will host a ski program. We have boots and skis for people with shoe sizes ranging from youth 12—1 on up to adult sizes 10.5. The specific dates and times will vary. You can call or email to put your name on a contact list for notification of dates, look for updates on our Facebook or contact us on a Friday before a weekend that looks likely. We hope to see you on skis! Cost is $3.00 per person for ski rental.
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
Hawk migration is picking up. The High Trestle Hawk Watch documented good numbers of Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks. Total tally of species reached 56 types of birds seen.
The earliest of the winter migrants could show up any day now.