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Nature News P O L K C O U N T Y C O N S E R VAT I O N

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2019 N AT U R E P R O G R A M S A N D N E W S September - December 2019

www.LeadingYouOutdoors.org Photo by Bryan Conley


CONTENTS

SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER

pg 6 The Galleries at the Jester Park Nature Center Presents | Inspired by Nature The Inspired by Nature art exhibition highlights the work of local photographers from Cameras for Conservancy, a Des Moinesbased photography collective.

Fall Makers Market at the Jester Park Nature Center The Jester Park Nature Center’s Locally Grown, Raised, & Created Fall Makers Market is a handcrafted marketplace where you can support local merchants in a beautiful park setting.

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pg 11 Moonlight Seed Harvest at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Join us and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation for a moonlit evening as we hand harvest native prairie seed under the sunset at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt.

pg 12-19 Public Programs & Events View the full list of our public programs for September - December 2019 or visit our online calendar at: www.LeadingYouOutdoors.org

3

Message from the Director

11

Volunteer Calendar

4

Jester Park Nature Center Hours

21 - 22

Jester Park Equestrian Center Calendar

5

Bond Updates

23 - 24

The Best of Fall

7-8

Generations Apart for Generations to Come - A Generous Donation

25

Giving Opportunities

26

Polk County Conservation Area Map

2


A MESSAGE FROM

THE DIRECTOR

I

was more of a feral animal than a civilized boy. Nature grabbed me early, as I would spend countless hours exploring and discovering the outdoors. My agenda might have included wandering the nearby Jack Creek (pronounced “crick” in my world), searching the gravel road shoulder for agates, lying down in the cool grass during the heat of the day to watch ladybugs, or walking to a nearby thicket to catch a glimpse of a deer, although they were rare back when I was a kid. I am guessing many of you in my generation are saying, “Yeah, I did that too.” Living in the densest populated urban county in Iowa, and with the advent of electronic devices taking center stage, many of the younger generation are missing the fascination and inspiration of nature. But many more are now getting the opportunities to again explore and discover. Our environmental education programs seem to be pleasantly bursting with energy. The parks and trails are filled with hikers, bikers, picnickers, explorers, and families of all ages and backgrounds enjoying the outdoors. As I watch children and adults approach nature, child-like and fascinated, I am humbled in being able to spend my time facilitating and working with the team here at Polk County Conservation to make it happen. See you on the trail!

Richard Leopold, Polk County Conservation Director

3


Hours of Operation Monday - Friday | 9 am - 4:30 pm Saturday | 10 am - 4 pm Sunday & Open Holidays | Noon - 4 pm Holidays Closed Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Easter Day New Year's Day Veterans Day Thanksgiving Day

Board Members Jill Altringer, Grimes Diana Baratta, Ankeny Jim Cataldo, Des Moines Tom Levis, West Des Moines Lance Northway, Runnells Executive Director Richard Leopold Deputy Director Douglas Romig Nature News Volume 19, Issue 3 Designer & Editor Shae Rossetti, Outreach Technician Administration Office 12130 NW 128th St Granger, Iowa 50109 515-323-5300 pccb_info@polkcountyiowa.gov www.leadingyououtdoors.org Administration Hours M-F, 8 am - 4:30 pm Follow Us on Social Media

Fall Moon |Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt 4


BOND UPDATES The Latest | Polk County Water & Land Legacy Updates

Cold December day at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2019 PARKS Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt The restoration of the Highway 65 wetland complex, made up of 14 acres of wetlands and 35 acres of restored prairie, will be completed by late fall. Restoration of newly added wetland will be bid this fall for construction during the winter. When completed, this restoration project will add 20 acres of wetland and 48 acres of restored prairie. Construction continues for the Natural Resources Department's Headquarters located on the corner of NE 112th Street and NE 118th Avenue, near Maxwell. This project is anticipated to be completed by January. Easter Lake Park The parking lot located near the south side boat ramp will be under construction to improve drainage and install a bioretention cell and native plantings. Construction to the south side entrance of Easter Lake Park is expected to be completed by late fall. Improvements to this area include bank stablization, new walking paths, and native landscaping. Yellow Banks Park Plans for the construction of three cabins will be out for bid in October. Construction is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2020. 5


THE GALLERIES

presents

- INSPIRED BY NATURE

Photo by Kristie Burns.

INSPIRED BY NATURE Jester Park Nature Center's Art Gallery

OPENING RECEPTION

S E P T E M B E R 12 | 6 - 8P M

The Inspired by Nature art exhibition highlights the work of local photographers from Cameras for Conservancy, a Des Moines-based photography collective. Join us for wine and refreshments as well as an opportunity to meet the featured artists at the Opening Reception on Thursday, September 12, from 6 – 8 p.m. at The Galleries at Jester Park Nature Center. Cameras for Conservancy is a group of photographers using their artistic medium to inspire others to become more involved in nature and deepen their relationship with the natural world. They accomplish this by leading workshops in nature journaling and wildlife photography. Their purpose is to take photos and teach others how to take photos of wildlife in a way that would benefit the environment. The Inspired by Nature exhibition will be on display from September 6 – December 25 during Jester Park Nature Center hours. Hours can be found at www.JesterParkNatureCenter.com. 6 For additional information please contact Missy Smith at 515-323-5317.


GENERATIONS APART FOR GENERATIONS TO COME An unlikely friendship and a generous donation

G

wendolyn Mix, age 95 of Des Moines, was born deaf in rural Linden, Iowa. It wasn’t until she was seven years old that her parents discovered that she was deaf. The local doctor encouraged her parents to enroll her in the Iowa School for the Deaf (ISD) in Council Bluffs. She graduated in 1942 and then attended St. Joseph's Academy in Des Moines. After learning about the need for medical lab technicians from a nun during school, Gwen decided to further her education. College was especially difficult for her, because there were no sign language interpreters to help her. Using only lecture notes from fellow classmates and reading lips, Gwen pursued her interest in the sciences, not a common choice for women of her generation. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Coe College in 1949.

Growing up deaf, Gwen became visually aware of the world around her, taking a special interest in nature. This began at an early age, as she helped her mother tend to their flower and vegetable gardens. However, a more formal study of the natural world began at ISD, where she took nature study courses.

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Gwen has a very special little friend, Petra Alward, who is 90 years younger than Gwen and lives a thousand miles away. Gwen first “met” Petra as a newborn through photos from friends.

"

After college, Gwen continued to break barriers by entering a year-long training program in lab technology at a St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in Dubuque, Iowa. Upon completing the training program, she returned to Des Moines where she began working in the labs at Methodist Hospital. During her career at Methodist Hospital, Gwen worked in the Hematology Lab, the Blood Bank, and the Microbiology Lab.

Gwendolyn Mix | Pollinator Gardens & Bouldering Wall Donor

IN AUGUST I HOPE TO INFORM MY LITTLE FRIEND OF HER BIRTHDAY SURPRISE, THE PETRA ALWARD BOULDERING ROOM; A ROOM I NAMED IN HER HONOR. - Gwendolyn Mix

"


Petra Alward, Age 4 Jester Park's Bouldering Wall Namesake

She met Petra in person, for the first time, when Petra was two. Last year, when Petra was four she made and delivered to Gwen a huge birthday card constructed with ribbons and streamers and lots of Gwen’s favorite color, purple. Gwen was very touched by the gesture. Across the miles through pictures and shared stories their friendship continues to grow. Petra's family lives in Utah and they are avid rock climbers; her name comes from the Greek word "Petros," meaning rock. Petra practiced grabbing bouldering holds before she was a year old. In July, Petra turned five years old and this year Gwen wanted to give Petra a birthday surprise. As Petra’s birthday gift, Gwen has donated $25,000 to build a bouldering wall in the

Jester Park Outdoor Recreation and Wellness Center that will be named the Petra Alward Bouldering Room, in honor of her little friend. In addition, Gwen gave $57,000 towards the creation of two pollinator gardens that will be installed on the north side of Easter Lake. Gwen’s story and generous nature is so inspiring that we wanted to share it with you -- her fellow friends of conservation. Thank you Gwen, for gifts that will continue to give to future generations!

Gwendolyn Mix [pictured on page 7] generously donated $57,000 to create two pollinator gardens that will be installed on the north side of Easter Lake Park. She also donated another $25,000 to build a bouldering wall in the Jester Park Outdoor Recreation and Wellness Center in honor of Petra Alward's 5th birthday. [Petra pictured top of page] - coming in the fall of 2019!

8 Pollinator gardens at Easter Lake Park are currently being installed.


Precious

Yordanos

Umpium

INSPIRING YOUTH

Blake

OUTDOORS We interviewed a handful of the 2019 Summer Youth Corps crew members to ask them why they decided to spend their summer working in our parks and trails. Read what they had to say!

learn more about nature. When I get into college, I hope to major in something that is related to conservation. You can learn a lot from nature and I want to help out our natural world.

PCC: Why did you join Youth Corps?

Reece [8-Week Crew Member]: One of my biggest accomplishments in Youth Corps is that I have learned so much about the plants around me. I’ve learned that spiderwort is really good and is native, and I’ve learned things like honeysuckle and Japanese knotweed are very invasive. That has been a big accomplishment for me because I know a lot about being outdoors, but I didn’t really know how to identify very many plants.

Umpium [8-Week Crew Member]: I wanted to join Youth Corps because I usually don’t go outside much in the summer and I stay in my room a lot. I think that nature is more peaceful and it gets me away from technology. It gives me the peace of mind to actually slow down and take in what’s around me. Yordanos [4-Week Crew Member]: I joined Youth Corps because I wanted to

Reece

Blake [4-Week Crew Member]: I joined Youth Corps because I find nature fascinating. I love learning about all the animals I get to work with and the plants. It’s 6 hours a day of manual labor in the sun, and I think sacrificing that energy and time is worth helping something as big as the environment. Precious [8-Week Crew Member]: I was really interested in Youth Corps before I even learned that I would earn money. I always wanted to help nature, make friends, and learn new things. It’s a really great thing for me because I can help, but I also gain something in return.

CALL TO HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE ARTISTS Submit your art to be on display in the Galleries at the Jester Park Nature Center

The Galleries at the Jester Park Nature Center is looking to feature artists in high school or college for a student show. Priority will be given to artists living or studying within 250 miles of Des Moines, Iowa, however, all proposals will be given consideration. Ideal proposals will focus on outdoor recreation, conservation, and local nature-related themes. This exhibition will open on January 3, 2020, with an opening reception on January 9, from 6 - 8 p.m. Proposal deadline is November 15, 2019. Proposals may be submitted for existing works or site-specific installations. You will be contacted

by November 27, 2019 regarding our selection. Artists may submit proposals by sending your artwork by email or postage mail to: Email | missy.smith@polkcountyiowa.gov Polk County Conservation Attention: Missy Smith 12130 NW 128th Street Granger, IA 50109 More information can be found online at: JesterParkNatureCenter.com/the-galleries


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The Jester Park Nature Center’s Locally Grown, Raised, & Created Fall Makers Market is a handcrafted marketplace where you can support local merchants in a beautiful park setting. Join us on Sunday, November 24, from Noon – 5 p.m. at the Jester Park Nature Center in Granger, Iowa, to shop for gifts or goods just in time for the holiday season!

We’ve ensured a diverse representation of 30 local makers, artisans, and/or handcrafters to bring you a variety of goods. The Fall Makers Market is a FREE admission, family-friendly event. Vendors will be announced closer to the event. RSVP within the Facebook Event by "liking" Polk County Conservation's Facebook page.

While there, explore the nature center’s exhibits and if weather allows, relax on the back patio in an Adirondack chair by the fireplace.

Interested in becoming a vendor? E-mail Missy Smith at missy.smith@polkcountyiowa.gov Jester Park Nature Center | 12130 NW 128th Street | Granger, Iowa | 50109

10


VOLUNTEER calendar SEPTE MB E R - DE C E M B ER 2019 VOLUNTEER PAID TIME OFF (VTO) PRAIRIE DAYS Does your company offer Volunteer Paid Time Off (VTO)? Join us on the Chichaqua prairie as we welcome the autumn season. As a means to assist in restoration efforts throughout the park, we will be collecting seed from plants ready to harvest. Come and go per your allotted hours. Pre-Registration Required. Date Sept. 13, 18, 25 Oct. 4, 9, 18, 23 Nov. 1

Time 9am-4pm 9am-4pm 9am-4pm

Location Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

HAPPY HOUR HARVEST Join us one evening in September and October on the Chichaqua prairie as we collect seed from plants ready to harvest. We will gather afterwards to cool down and relax with appetizer, dinner, and drink specials at Founders Irish Pub in Bondurant. Pre-Registration Required. Date

Time

Sept. 17 Oct. 15

6-8pm 5:30-7:30pm

Location Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY Save the date! More information coming soon. Visit our online calendar for more information closer to the event date: LeadingYouOutdoors.org/calendar. Pre-Registration Required. Date

Time

Sept. 28

10am-12pm

Location RSVP for Location Details

PRAIRIE FAREWELL Join us for our final prairie event of the year! You may choose between removing woody vegetation or harvesting the last remaining seed of the season. Pre-Registration required. Date

Time

Nov. 2

10am-12pm

Location Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, Darnell Unit

VOLUNTEER PAID TIME OFF (VTO) - WOODLANDS Does your company offer Volunteer Paid Time Off (VTO)? Join us as we remove invasive species such as honeysuckle, buckthorn, and oriental bittersweet from one of your county parks. Come and go between per your allotted hours. Pre-Registration Required. Date Nov. 13 Dec. 11

Time 10am-3pm 10am-3pm

Location Easter Lake Park, Shelter #3 Easter Lake Park, Shelter #3

MOONLIGHT SEED HARVEST

WOODLAND WARRIORS

Join us and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation for a moonlit evening as we hand harvest native prairie seed under the sunset at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt. Afterwards, we’ll gather around the campfire at the Youth Camp Area to enjoy s’mores and celebrate autumn with new friends. Please bring a headlamp or flashlight for this event. Pre-Registration Required.

Invasive species removal is at the forefront of restoration efforts in our Iowa woodlands. Spend your time on the frontline of this continuous battle as we remove honeysuckle from Jester Park. Pre-Registration required.

Date

Time

Oct. 12

5:30-7:30pm

Location Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, Darnell Unit

Date

Time

Dec. 14

10am-12pm

Location Jester Park, Shelter #5

*Detailed meeting locations, workday information, and equipment will be provided to those registered closer to the date of the event. What to Wear | Wear long pants, sturdy closed-toe shoes, gloves (supplied if you do not have a pair), and bring a refillable water bottle. Volunteer Registration | Visit apps.polkcountyiowa.gov/communityservices to create your Conservation profile and begin signing up for events today! **If you are registering a group, or have any questions or concerns for a volunteer day, please send an e-mail to melissa.schmeling@polkcountyiowa.gov.** 11


PUB LI C PRO G R A M S & EVENTS September - December 2019

VULTURE AWARENESS DAY

OLDER, WISER, LIVELIER, SENIORS (OWLS) History of Yellow Banks and Thomas Mitchell Parks Learn about the rich Native American history of Yellow Banks Park, watershed improvements, new cabins, and view artifacts found in the area with PCC Ranger, Charlie Finch! We will also discuss who Thomas Mitchell Park was named after. Pre-Registration Required for Lunch Only. Deadline: Aug. 30. Date

Time

Location

Lunch Fee

Sept. 3

11am-12pm

Jester Park Lodge

$10

Join us for a fun-filled day all about vultures! There will be a scavenger hunt, vulture vomit toss game, stomach juice station, wingspan comparisons, a condor surgery station, vulture cleaning station, recycling run, craft table, painting, puppet station, and more! No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 7

1-4pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

DRUMMING TO THE RHYTHMS OF NATURE

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Join instructor Judy Olson and learn the basics of Native American drumming. Participants are encouraged to bring their own drum. Listen to the rhythms of nature and incorporate those into your own unique drumming rhythms. This is a beginner introduction class to Native American drumming. Minimum Age: 12. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 5.

Sept. 5

10-10:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 7

1:30-3:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$15

TODDLER TALES - FISH Let your imagination run wild with this fun, nature-themed story time! Hear a story followed by an animal encounter, puppets, or a craft. Ages: 3-6. No Registration Required.

AUTUMN PHENOLOGY JOURNALING Join us as we draw and write about nature! Phenology is the study of seasonal phenomena; and we will be taking a closer look at all of the autumnal changes happening in the park. Journals and basic art supplies provided. Feel free to bring your own materials. Ages: 8+. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 2. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 5

6-7pm

Thomas Mitchell Park, Shelter #1

$5

KAYAK BASICS

CATFISHING BASICS Come learn about the different kinds of catfish, how big they actually get, and tips on catching them. We will then fish the Des Moines River and try to catch catfish. Bait and poles will be provided but, feel free to bring your own gear. Fishing license is required for participants 16 years of age and older. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 5. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 7

6-9pm

Yellow Banks Park, Pond

$5

Learn the basics of recreational kayaking from a PCC naturalist. Participants will learn about types of kayaks, equipment, techniques, and have a chance to practice skills on the water. Minimum Age: 12. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 3. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 6

5:30-7:30pm

Yellow Banks Park, Pond

$10

For Program Information & Registration, visit:

www.leadingyououtdoors.org or call (515) 323-5339

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SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2019 PUBLIC PROGRAMS NATURE FRIENDS - POSSUM POCKETS

MONARCH FESTIVAL

Join a naturalist in a nature adventure! We will explore different nature topics through stories, sharing time, guided exploration, and art activities. Snacks provided. Program is co-sponsored with West Des Moines Parks and Recreation. Ages: 3-5. Pre-Registration Required. Register for this program at: www.wdm-ia.com.

Celebrate the miraculous migration of the monarch butterfly! The festival will offer everything from traditional Mexican dancing, monarch tagging, crafts, and activities for the whole family. We will even have a bug parade, so dress the kids up in their favorite insect costume. No Registration Required. Purchase tickets at Blank Park Zoo entrance.

Date Sept. 9

Time 6:30-7:30pm

Location Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge-WDM

Fee $7

SHINRIN YOKU – JAPANESE FOREST BATHING

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 15

12-4pm

Blank Park Zoo

$8 Child | $14 Adult

HIKE FOR HEALTH

Explore the ancient healing path of Shinrin Yoku or Japanese Forest Bathing. This mindful walk will invite you to use your senses to enhance your well-being. Minimum Age: 12. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 9.

Why walk the mall when you can be enjoying the great outdoors? Hike along with this friendly group of nature lovers who walk the trails each month for exercise and fun. No Registration Required.

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 12

6-8pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$15

Sept. 16

10:30-11:30am

Easter Lake Park, Shelter #4

FREE

FULL MOON HIKE Explore the wonder and beauty of Thomas Mitchell Park at night under a full moon. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 13

8-9pm

Thomas Mitchell Park, Pond

FREE

BATS! CREATURES OF THE NIGHT Join us for an exciting time learning about some of the night's misunderstood creatures, bats! Learn about the bats that call Iowa home, and the features that make this flying mammal so unique. Afterwards, we will go for a night hike and try to catch some of these fascinating animals with the help of a bat expert! No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 13

7:30-9:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

PELICANS IN IOWA Saylorville and Red Rock Reservoirs are major stopover points for the American White Pelican during their annual fall migration. Join us as we learn about these large birds and why so many of them gather in Iowa. If conditions allow, we’ll hike down to the lakeshore for a closer look at the pelicans. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 14

10-11am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

FALL HIKE - DECOMPOSERS ‘Tis the season for change and decay! Learn about the decomposers responsible for recycling dead leaves, logs, and other organisms, as we hike through the woods. We will be searching for fungi, bugs, and other critters that thrive on autumn rot as we observe the cycle of life in action! No Registration Required.

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Date

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 14

10-11:30am

Brown's Woods

FREE

For Program Information & Registration, visit:

www.leadingyououtdoors.org or call (515) 323-5339

WOMEN IN THE WOODS WITH WINE MONARCH MADNESS

Relax with a glass of wine and learn about the world’s most talked about butterflies and what makes them so unique! We will also try our hand at catching and tagging monarchs as they migrate to their winter home in Mexico. Age: 21+. Pre -Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 15.

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 17

7-9pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$15

NATURE FRIENDS - FOSSIL DIG Join a naturalist in a nature adventure! We will explore different nature topics through stories, sharing time, guided exploration, and art activities. Snacks provided. Program is co-sponsored with West Des Moines Parks and Recreation. Ages: 3-5. Pre-Registration Required. Register for this program at: www.wdm-ia.com. Date Sept. 17

Time 6:30-7:30pm

Location Jester Park, Shelter #6

Fee $7


SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2019 PUBLIC PROGRAMS

SUNSET YOGA

MEDITATION AROUND TOWN Come and enjoy the experience of sharing a simple meditation in unique settings around our beautiful community. Meditations are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month. Minimum Age: 12. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 19

6-7pm

Fort Des Moines Park, Shelter #3

FREE

Unwind as the sun sets at Jester Park with a short nature hike to de-stress and enjoy the beauty of nature. Afterwards we will welcome the night with our yoga practice. Items to bring: Yoga mat and blocks, hiking shoes, comfortable clothing, water bottle. Minimum Age: 12. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 19. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 24

6:30-8pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$15

MENTORED YOUTH WATERFOWL HUNT

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Budding duck and goose hunters will experience the thrill of waterfowl hunting in a safe and controlled environment. Youth will be placed in groups of two with an experienced waterfowl hunter and conservation officer for a guided waterfowl hunt at Chichaqua. Participants must have completed a Hunter Safety Course prior to event. Ages: 12-15. Pre-Registration Required. Limit: 16 participants. Deadline: Sept. 22.

Sept. 20

7:30-9pm

Yellow Banks Park, Shelter #1

FREE

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 28

5am-12pm

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, Shop

$10

STARGAZING Turn your eyes to the sky to view the autumn constellations. Local astronomers will provide telescopes. No Registration Required.

POLLINATOR HOUSE BUILDING Pollinating insects are one of the most beneficial animals on the planet. Help them out by building a pollinator house. Not only does this give them a safe place to live, it also attracts beneficial insects to your flowerbeds and gardens. A naturalist will give a short pollinator program before we begin construction. All tools and materials provided.! Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 16.

FISHING BASICS FOR SCOUTS

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Date

Sept. 28

9am-12pm

Jester Park, Shelter #5

FREE

Time

Location

Fee

Learn about the different kinds of fish in Iowa, fishing safety, casting, and regulations. We will then head over to Discovery Pond to go fishing. Bait and poles will be provided, but feel free to bring your own as well. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 25.

Sept. 21 10:30am-12pm Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center $15

FIRE BUILDING WORKSHOP MONARCH TAGGING Come learn about one of the world’s most talked about butterflies and what makes them so unique! We will also try our hand at catching and tagging monarchs as they migrate to their winter home in Mexico. Come prepared to move around and have some fun! No Registration Required. Date

Time

Sept. 21

1-2pm

Location Jester Park, Shelter #6

Fee FREE

FALL EQUINOX HIKE Come learn about the fall equinox as we enjoy a walk around the pond and through the woodland at historic Fort Des Moines Park. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Sept. 23

6-7:30pm

Location Fort Des Moines Park, Shelter #3

Fee FREE

Learn how to build a fire using various techniques, materials, and tools. Afterwards, we will roast marshmallows, share stories, and play a game or two. We encourage close parental supervision of young children. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 25. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 28

6:30-8pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$5

FROM TRASH TO TREASURE Join us to learn how to turn your waste into creative, useful, and beautiful products! We will show you how to transform singleuse plastic into a beautiful flower pot, or how those pesky toilet paper and paper towel rolls can be made into a creative art piece. All ages. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 25. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 29

1-3pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$5

For Program Information & Registration, visit: www.leadingyououtdoors.org or call (515) 323-5339

14


SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2019 PUBLIC PROGRAMS SHINRIN YOKU – JAPANESE FOREST BATHING Explore the ancient healing path of Shinrin Yoku or Japanese Forest Bathing. This mindful walk will invite you to use your senses to enhance your well-being. Minimum Age: 12. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Oct. 2.

OLDER, WISER, LIVELIER, SENIORS (OWLS) Easter Lake Improvements

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 5

1:30-3pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$15

MAP AND COMPASS FOR SCOUTS

Polk County Conservation Park Planner, Adam Fendrick, will discuss the recent efforts taken to restore the Easter Lake watershed to address water-quality issues and a poor fishery. We will talk about the many projects that have taken place to educate the neighbors surrounding the lake, how we dredged the lake, and more! Pre-Registration Required for Lunch Only. Deadline: Sept. 27 Date

Time

Location

Lunch Fee

Oct. 1

11am-12pm

Jester Park Lodge

$10

We will cover some of the requirements needed to earn an orienteering scout badge. We’ll learn how to use a compass and read a map then put our skills to the test on an orienteering scavenger hunt. Ages: 8+. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Oct. 2. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 6

1-2:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

SUNSET YOGA

ANIMAL GUIDES MEDITATION Each animal in our world offers powerful messages, healing and wisdom simply by being itself. Reframe your perception and explore the rich symbolism of animal characteristics and attributes, from birds to mammals to reptiles, amphibians and insects. Nature is calling. Are you listening? Ages: 14+. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Sept. 30

Unwind as the sun sets at Jester Park with a short nature hike to de-stress and enjoy the beauty of nature. Afterwards we will welcome the night with our yoga practice. Items to bring: Yoga mat and blocks, hiking shoes, comfortable clothing, water bottle. Minimum Age: 12. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Oct. 3. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 8

6-7:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$15

Date

Time

Location

Fee

AUTUMN PHENOLOGY JOURNALING

Oct. 1

6-8pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$15

Join us as we draw and write about nature! Phenology is the study of seasonal phenomena; and we will be taking a closer look at all of the autumnal changes happening in the park. Journals and basic art supplies provided. Feel free to bring your own materials. Ages: 8+. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Oct. 7.

TODDLER TALES - SPIDERS Let your imagination run wild with this fun, nature-themed story time! Hear a story followed by the naturalist’s choice of an activity such as an animal encounter, puppets or a craft. Ages: 3-6. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 3

10-10:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

FALL HIKE – FALL COLORS & LEAF HUNT Observe the magnificent colors of autumn as we hike through the woods. We’ll also learn how to identify common woodland plants by their leaves, and collect fallen leaves to make a collective art project. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 5

10-11:30am

Thomas Mitchell Park, Pond

FREE

FALL FUNGI Join the President of the North American Mycological Association for a fall fungi program in partnership with The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. We will begin at the botanical garden for a presentation and then head to Yellow Banks Park to hunt for fungi! Pre-Registration Required.

15

Date

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 5

10am-1pm

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

$25-$30

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 10

6-7pm

Brown's Woods

$5

2ND ANNUAL CACHE BASH CHAMPIONSHIP Join us to search for 12 geocaches hidden in Jester Park for this special event. Participants can start searching for geocaches at 10am. At each cache, participants must punch their passport. Turn in your passport for a chance at prizes. Download the free app “c:geo” or “Geocaching” on your smart phone before you arrive. GPS units will also be available. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 12

10-11:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

GEOCACHING FOR SCOUTS During this class we’ll cover some of the requirements needed to earn a geocaching scout badge. We’ll learn how geocaching works, enter waypoints in a GPS receiver and find some geocaches. Bring a small trade item to leave in the caches. Ages: 8+. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Oct. 9. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 12

1-2:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE


SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2019 PUBLIC PROGRAMS FALL HIKE

CRITTER CLUB

Chichaqua is a unique and compelling place, where one has access to a rare ancient landscape. Join us as we explore the prairie, woodlands, and wetlands that makes up Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt! No Registration Required.

Come visit Jester Park Nature Center’s resident turtles, snakes, and salamanders to learn about these misunderstood animals. You may even get to touch a turtle or snake. This is an open house program, come and go between 1 - 2:30 p.m. No Registration Required.

Date

Location

Time

Fee

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 12 10-11:30am Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, Longhouse FREE

Oct. 20

1-2:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

WOMEN IN THE WOODS WITH WINE CREATURES OF THE NIGHT

HIKE FOR HEALTH

Halloween is creeping in. Join us to learn about the creatures that lurk in the night. No need to be scared, we will tell you the truth about these mysterious beings while you relax with a glass of wine. Ages: 21+. Pre -Registration Required. Deadline: Oct. 11. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 15

7-9pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$15

FOSSILS Join us for National Fossil Day this year! Come see, touch, and learn all about Iowa’s fascinating paleontological past. We will discuss how fossils form and where to find them, and will have the chance make your very own! No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 16

6-7pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

THE UNDERWORLD! Join us for a creepy crawly party, just in time for Halloween! Learn about critters that live underground, hunt for decomposers, meet live bugs, and enjoy a spooky snack. Halloween costumes are encouraged but not required! Ages: 5-10. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Oct. 16 Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 18

6-8pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$5

BATS Join a naturalist as we learn about these misunderstood creatures of the night. We will explore the truth about these animals. Do they really suck your blood, turn into vampires and fly into people’s hair? Come find out and meet a few of Iowa’s beneficial bat species! No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 19

10:30-11:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

BAT HOUSE BUILDING Bats are one of the most effective natural controllers of insects, eating thousands of bugs nightly. Join us as we learn about these wonderful creatures and build bat houses to give them a safe place to live and breed. All materials and tools provided. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Oct. 14 Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 19

1-2:30pm

Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center

$15

Why walk the mall when you can be enjoying the great outdoors? Hike along with this friendly group of nature lovers who walk the trails each month for exercise and fun. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 21

10:30-11:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

METEOR SHOWER WATCH Come learn all about asteroids, meteors, and meteorites! Plan to spend your time gazing up at the night sky for the Orionids meteor shower, as well as the moon and any stars out this night. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 22

7-8:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

NATURE FRIENDS - OWLS Join a naturalist in a nature adventure! We will explore different nature topics through stories, sharing time, guided exploration, and art activities. Snacks provided. Program is co-sponsored with West Des Moines Parks and Recreation. Ages: 3-5. Pre-Registration Required. Date Oct. 22

Time 6-7pm

Location Jester Park Nature Center

Fee $7

OWL PROWL After a brief discussion around the campfire about these flying predators of the night, we’ll go for a hike and learn how to call three different species of owls. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Oct. 23 Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 25

6:30-8pm

Thomas Mitchell Park, Pond

$5

BUILD A BIRD FEEDER Fall is the time of year to get ready for feeding our feathered friends through the cold winter months. Build your own wooden birdfeeder that can be used by a wide variety of birds and will last for years. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Oct. 21 Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 26

10-11:30am

Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center

$15

For Program Information & Registration, visit: www.leadingyououtdoors.org or call (515) 323-5339

16


SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2019 PUBLIC PROGRAMS TODDLER TALES - TURKEYS Let your imagination run wild with this fun, nature-themed story time! Hear a story followed by the naturalist’s choice of an activity such as an animal encounter, puppets or a craft. Ages: 3-6. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 7

10-10:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

MYSTERIES OF THE MOON

SPIDERS Spiders are some of the most commonly feared and misunderstood creatures in this world. Discover how spiders are actually fascinating animals, including their unique adaptations and the important role they play in ecosystems. You will even get to meet the Jester Park Nature Center’s resident spider! No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Oct. 26

1-2pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

CELEBRATE NATIONAL BISON DAY Bison, aka buffalo, once roamed the grasslands of North America by the millions! Jester Park has maintained a small herd of bison for the public to view for over 50 years. Join a PCC Naturalist for a discussion about the natural history of bison before getting an upclose introduction of the resident herd. No Registration Required.

The moon has captivated us throughout history, inspiring storytelling, exploration, and scientific study. Learn what makes earth’s natural satellite so unique, including the history of our moon and how it influences our lives. We will have a stargazing session outdoors to view this beautiful celestial object in all its splendor. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 8

6:30-8pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

SOAP MAKING With recent interest in more “natural” lifestyles, the art of soap making is gaining popularity. Let Mitchell County Naturalist, Chelsea Ewen Rowcliffe, help you discover the history, chemistry, process, and benefits of making your own homemade soap. The best part of this class is customizing and taking home your own unique soap! Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Nov. 1. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 9

1-4pm

Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center

$15

Date

Time

Location

Fee

AUTUMN PHENOLOGY JOURNALING

Nov. 2

10-11am

Jester Park, Shelter #6

FREE

Join us as we draw and write about nature! Phenology is the study of seasonal phenomena; and we will be taking a closer look at all of the autumnal changes happening in the park. Journals and basic art supplies provided. Feel free to bring your own materials. Ages: 8+. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Nov. 7.

CRITTER CLUB Come visit Jester Park Nature Center’s resident turtles, snakes, and salamanders to learn about these misunderstood animals. You may even get to touch a turtle or snake. This is an open house program, come and go between 10 - 11:30 a.m. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 4

10-11:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 9

2-3pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$5

FULL MOON HIKE

OLDER, WISER, LIVELIER, SENIORS (OWLS) Bats of Iowa

Explore the wonder and beauty of Jester Park at night under a full moon. No Registration Required.

Carly Kalina, an Environmental Scientist with Echo Logical Consulting, will discuss overall bat characteristics and biology, bats found in Iowa, and bat survey methodology. Threats to bats such as White-nose and human impacts will also be discussed. Pre-Registration Required for Lunch Only. Deadline: Nov. 1.

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 12

6-7pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

Date

Time

Location

Lunch Fee

Nov. 5

11am-12pm

Jester Park Lodge

$10

For Program Information & Registration, visit:

www.leadingyououtdoors.org or call (515) 323-5339 17

BUILD A COMPOSTER Help reduce the amount of waste entering our landfills by building a composter. Composting is a great way to turn ordinary food scraps into rich soil for you garden and flowerbeds. A naturalist will give a short presentation about composting before construction begins. All materials and tools provided. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Nov. 11. Date

Time

Nov. 16

10-11:30am Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center

Location

Fee $15


SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2019 PUBLIC PROGRAMS OUTDOOR ART FOR SCOUTS

TODDLER TALES - STARS

Learn to observe nature through the lens of an artist, as we explore various ways to use natural materials to make art. We will collect seeds, leaves, and more, which can play a part in colorful and unique creations you can keep. Wear an art shirt – we may get a little messy!! Pre-Registration Required.

Let your imagination run wild with this fun, nature-themed story time! Hear a story followed by the naturalist’s choice of an activity such as an animal encounter, puppets or a craft. Ages: 3-6. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 16

1-2pm

Jester Park Nature Center

???

Dec. 5

10-10:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

BUILD A BIRDHOUSE

TURKEY TREK (NATIONAL TAKE A HIKE DAY) Come enjoy a one-mile hike through beautiful Yellow Banks Park We’ll talk about turkeys and how animals are preparing for winter all while burning some calories. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 17

10-11:30am

Yellow Banks Park, Pond

FREE

WOMEN IN THE WOODS WITH WINE TALKING TURKEY

Attract some of our beautiful feathered friends to your yard by building a birdhouse. We will also take some time to artistically decorate them, turning them into a great gift to give during the holiday season. A naturalist will give a short bird program before we begin construction. All materials, tools, and art supplies provided. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Dec. 4. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Dec. 7

9am-12pm

Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center

$20

Join us as we learn more about turkeys while relaxing with a glass of Wine. Women in the Woods with Wine - is for women ages 21+ who are interested in getting outside. Become more comfortable and knowledgeable about the natural world, as you unwind and have fun. Ages: 21+. Pre -Registration Required. Deadline: Nov. 17.

HIKE & HOT COCOA (NATIONAL HOT COCOA DAY)

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 19

7-9pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$15

Dec. 13

4-5:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

A cold December day is the perfect time to make yourself a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy National Cocoa Day. We’ll start the program with a brisk walk around Discovery Pond and end with a mug of hot cocoa around a fire. No Registration Required.

DECORATE A TREE FOR WILDLIFE

ANIMAL WINTER SURVIVAL How do animals survive the winter? Learn the different strategies animals use to survive a long cold Iowa winter. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 23

10:30-11:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

#OPTOUTSIDE HIKE Choose to #OptOutside on Black Friday with your friends and family. We’ll reconnect you with nature on a hike through Jester Park. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Nov. 29

1-2pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

While you are enjoying the many tasty treats that abound this holiday season, don't forget to share some goodies with the birds. Decorating a tree for our feathered friends and other wildlife is an activity the whole family can enjoy. Join us for this hands-on event. Each registered participant will take home a variety of treats to decorate their backyard. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Dec. 11. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Dec. 14 10:30am-12pm Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center $5

OLDER, WISER, LIVELIER, SENIORS (OWLS) The Cats of America: Ancient History & Modern Conservation William R. Clark, Professor Emeritus of Wildlife Ecology at Iowa State University, will briefly discuss the evolution of cats including paleological history of sabertooth cats and cheetahs that once roamed North America. The program will also include conservation challenges including habitat loss, climate change, conflicts, and hunting. Pre-Registration Required for Lunch Only. Deadline: Nov. 29. Date

Time

Location

Lunch Fee

Dec. 3

11am-12pm

Jester Park Lodge

$10 18


SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2019 PUBLIC PROGRAMS CRITTER CLUB

WOMEN IN THE WOODS WITH WINE WHO GIVES A HOOT

Join us as we learn more about Iowa owls while relaxing with a glass of Wine. We will identify them by sight and sound, and discover how owls are successful predators. Ages: 21+. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Dec. 15. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Dec. 17

7-9pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$15

Come visit Jester Park Nature Center’s resident turtles, snakes, and salamanders to learn about these misunderstood animals. You may even get to touch a turtle or snake. This is an open house program, come and go between 10 - 11:30 a.m. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Dec. 30

10-11:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

OWL PELLET DISSECTION

LIGHT THE NIGHT (WINTER SOLSTICE) Celebrate winter’s official arrival and the longest night of the year! We will take a short hike along the Discovery Trail lit with luminaries, enjoy a fire under the stars and share a cup of cocoa. Pre-Registration Required. Deadline: Dec. 19. Date

Times

Location

Fee

Dec. 21

5-6:30pm 6:30-8pm 8-9:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$5

Come learn about owls of Iowa and their adaptations as predators and role in the food web. The presentation will be followed by a pellet dissection and analysis. Pre-Registration Required to Dissect a Pellet. Deadline: Dec. 27. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Dec. 30

1-2:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

$5

SECRETS OF THE SUN

TRACKS AND SCAT Tracks and scat give us lots of clues about the animals that live around us. Even if we don’t see them, we can learn a lot about them by what they leave behind. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Dec. 26

1-2pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

Through interactive activities and games, we’ll learn about the characteristics of our sun and how it compares to other stars in the universe. We’ll also take a look at the sun through a telescope with a special solar viewing filter. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Dec. 31

10:30-11:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

For Program Information & Registration, visit:

www.leadingyououtdoors.org or call (515) 323-5339

ROCK ME Come learn the basics of geology. We will discuss what rocks are made of, how they form and three basic rock categories. A large rock and mineral collection will be on display as well and other interesting geological items. All ages Welcome. No Registration Required. Date

Time

Location

Fee

Dec. 27

10:30-11:30am

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE

WINTER HIKE Join the Naturalist for a hike in the winter wonderland looking for animal signs. Dress for the weather. No Registration Required.

19

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Dec. 29

1:30-2:30pm

Jester Park Nature Center

FREE


NEW PROGRAM!

HOMESCHOOL PROGRAM

GRADES K - 5 OLOGY SERIES • September 13 | Entomology (Insects) • October 4 | Ichthyology (Fish) • November 15 | Herpetology (Reptiles &

Amphibians)

• December 6 | Ornithology (Birds)

Join us for a season of learning at the Jester Park Nature Center as we host the “Ology” series for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade! This program series will be delievered in a flexible format that was specially designed for homeschool students.

Pre-registration required for each program.

Each program will focus on a different “Ology” or scientific field of study, giving students a variety of fun experiences in science learning with hands-on activities & field sessions.

Register online at

Programs will take place from 10 - 11:30 a.m. at the Jester Park Nature Center in Granger, Iowa.

www.LeadingYouOutdoors.org/calendar

Jester Park Nature Center | 12130 NW 128th Street | Granger, Iowa 50109

20


EQUESTRIANcalendar S e ptember - December 20 19 GUIDED TRAIL RIDES | SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER

HOLIDAY HORSE-DRAWN SLEIGH & WAGON RIDES

Take a relaxing trail ride through the timber near Saylorville Lake. Experienced Jester Park Equestrian Center Trail Wranglers will lead your ride. Fun for all experience levels ages 8 years old and up! Reservations can be made online at: www.JesterParkEC.com.

Join us when the snow falls for a sleigh ride through the timber at Jester Park. If there is no snow, plan for a wagon on wheels instead of a sleigh on runners. After all, it’s all about spending time with your loved ones, not the vehicle you’re riding in! Our sleigh can accommodate parties of up to eight adults comfortably and children are welcome to sit on laps. Rides last 45 minutes. Reservations can be made online at: www.JesterParkEC.com.

Days

Location

Fee

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday

Jester Park Equestrian Center

$35/Person

Date

Time

Location

Fee

STATE EQUESTRIAN SPECIAL OLYMPICS COMPETITION

Dec. 20 - Jan. 1

9am-2pm

Jester Park Equestrian Center

$125/Ride

Come cheer on the amazing athletes from all across the state as they visit the Jester Park Equestrian Center to compete in the Equestrian State Championships. This event is free for the public to spectate and give their support! For more information or to volunteer for the event, visit: SoIowa.org/competitions/statewide-competitions/equestrian/

VOLUNTEER WITH US

Date

Time

Location

Fee

Sept. 14

9am-3pm

Jester Park Equestrian Center

FREE

PONY EXPRESS TO SANTA

Do you love horses and want to volunteer at the Jester Park Equestrian Center? We need volunteers to help out with a wide variety of jobs and programs. General volunteers must be 18+. However, Hope from Horses is a specialized volunteer program for teens, ages 12 - 18. to help with the horses. No prior horse experience required. View current volunteer opportunities online at: www.JesterParkEC.com.

Come visit Santa at the Jester Park Equestrian Center for a magical holiday tradition! Children, ages 3 - 12, will ride their pony through a winter wonderland before meeting Santa Claus in his sleigh. Make holiday crafts, sing carols on a sleigh ride, and more! Pony ride tickets include all additional activities. Tickets must be purchased in advance, online at: www.JesterParkEC.com Date

Time

Location

Fee

Dec. 13

2-4pm

Jester Park Equestrian Center

$35/Ticket

Dec. 14

10am-3pm

Jester Park Equestrian Center

$35/Ticket

Dec. 15

10am-3pm

Jester Park Equestrian Center

$35/Ticket

To register for an activity or event, visit www.JesterParkEC.com. Jester Park Equestrian Center 11171 NW 103 Court Granger, IA 50109 (515) 999-2818 www.jesterparkec.com

20 22


The Best of Fall IN POLK COUNTY CONSERVATION PARKS

There are many things to love about the fall season; the sounds and smells of dried leaves covering the forest floor, cool nights and crisp mornings, cozy sweaters, the southward migration of birds and insects, and the gorgeous fall foliage. Take your fall hikes beyond your neighborhood this year and explore a Polk County Conservation park or trail for autumnal views. No matter where you live, there's a spot nearby for your fall viewing pleasure. Stay close to town and hike or bike around the Mark C. Ackelson Trail at Easter Lake Park. Or, drive through Yellow Banks Park for views that overlook the Des Moines River Valley. Nature lovers of all ages can enjoy a stroll through the oak hickory woodland at Thomas Mitchell Park. Jester Park is also packed with a sampling of deep orange, red, and gold. The best time to view fall colors in central Iowa tends to be during the first three weeks of

October,

depending

on

weather.

Visit

our

website for a full list of parks and trails near you: www.LeadingYouOutdoors.org.

23


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BECOME A FRIEND Support Your Local Parks & Benefit!

Love your local Polk County Conservation Park? Show your support and benefit from a yearly membership! Friends of Jester Park and Friends of Easter Lake Park are a collaborative program of Polk County Conservation and the Great Outdoors Foundation that provides more opportunities for outdoor fun and adventures! Benefits Include: • Exclusive Members-Only Events & Programs • Members-Only Birthday Parties • Outdoor Equipment Rental Discounts • Yearly Gift of Local Nature-Inspired Art • Discounts on Reservable Campsites & Designated Fee-Based Programs (At ALL Polk County Conservation Parks) • And more!

25

Your membership support provides supplemental funds needed for operations to keep Jester Park beautiful and enhance conservation and outdoor recreation programming. Choose the annual membership level that fits the outdoor memories you want to create: • Nature Lover - Individual | $25 • Outdoors Family - Family (Immediate) | $100 • Trailblazer - Individual/Couple | $100 • Pathfinder - Individual/Couple | $1,000 (One-Time Gift) • Business - Corporate Only | $1,000 + Annual Become a Friend today at: PolkCountyIowa.gov/conservation/about-us/donations-gifts/


to Woodward

AREA map 35

17

69 NE 96th St

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NE 80th St

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Sk r

gC Bi re ek St

NW 121st St

NE

8

Blu

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13

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ANKENY

La

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NE 72nd St

1st St

rvi

D ver Bea

ylo

Sa

NW

1

ke

Oralabor Rd

80

NE 62nd Ave

18

GRIMES

NE 112th St

NE 70th Ave NW 66th Ave

5 NE 88th St

17

141

NE 78th Ave

Berwick Dr

3

S27

NE 114th Ave

15

118th Ave

6 33 5 0

GRANGER

NE 126th Ave

NW 118th Ave

NE 96th St

4

k

ar eP at

POLK CITY

14

NE 134th St

ELKHART

ALTOONA 11 NE 46th Ave

19

Euclid Ave

NE 108th St

URBANDALE

Merle Hay Road

10 20 235

a ol an di ve A

Browns Woods Dr

In

o

Ge

2

F rge

y

kw

gP

lag

Park Ave

7

6

21

16

SE

Easter Lake Dr

ARMY POST RD

SE 64th Ave

Va nd

ali

a

9

12

7. Eagle Roost Wildlife Area

357

8. Engeldinger Marsh

214

9. Fort Des Moines Park

135

Restrooms

Swimming

Snowmobiling

Showers

Picnic Shelters

Picnicking

Hunting

Playground

Horseback Riding

Historic Site

Hiking Trail

11. Gay Lea Wilson Trail 12. Great Western Trail 13. High Trestle Trail 14. Jester Park 15. Mally’s Park 16. Mark C. Ackelson Trail 17. Oralabor Gateway Trail 18. Sycamore Trail 19. Thomas Mitchell Park 20. Trestle to Trestle Trail 21. Yellow Banks Park

Fishing

Electricity

Dump Station

Drinking Water

Canoe Access

Cabins

Boat Ramp

Bike Trail

Nature Center

1. Beaver Creek Greenbelt 2. Brown’s Woods 3. Carney Marsh 4. Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt PUBLIC AREA ACRES/MILES 5. Chichaqua Valley Trail 1. Beaver Creek Greenbelt 123 6. Easter Lake486 Park 2. Brown’s Woods 7. Eagle Roost Wildlife Area 3. Carney Marsh 40 4. Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt 8,000+ 8. Engeldinger Marsh mi.* 5. Chichaqua Valley Trail 9. Fort Des 26 Moines Park 6. Easter Lake Park 464 10. Fourmile Creek Greenbelt Polk County Conservation 11407 NW Jester Park Dr. Granger, IA 50109 (515) 323-5300 www.leadingyououtdoors.org

Camping

SE 5th St

35

65

SE 68th St

PLEASANT HILL

DES MOINES

163

UNIVERSITY AVE

NE 64th St

SW 63rd St

80

26


Polk County Conservation 12130 NW 128th Street Granger, IA 50109

NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID AMES, IA PERMIT NO. 14

Beginning November 22 - December 1, the Turkey Trot hunt is on! Look high and low to find 10 turkeys climbing trees and hiding in the underbrush on the trails around the Jester Park Nature Center. See how many you can spot, snap a picture, and share your photos with us on Facebook or Instagram! Don't forget to tag us @PolkCountyConservation and use the hashtag #JPTURKEYS to share your adventures with us.

www.LeadingYouOutdoors.org

Profile for Polk County Conservation

Nature News |September - December 2019  

Read about the latest about events, programs, updates, projects, and more happening in Polk County Conservation parks and trails.

Nature News |September - December 2019  

Read about the latest about events, programs, updates, projects, and more happening in Polk County Conservation parks and trails.

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