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Love the Land During our Introduction to Land Management Program

Posted on 5/24/2018
Do you have a passion for conservation and a desire to learn more about sustainable land management practices & conservation? Well we have a great program for you! All members of the public including students of all ages, land owners, conservation enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, and anyone interested in learning responsible land management practices are invited to join us at Hitchcock Nature Center for our 2018 Introduction to Land Management program. All experience levels are encouraged to attend this 6 session programming series.

Introduction to Land Management is held at Pottawattamie County's own Hitchcock Nature Center. Located in the Loess Hills our park contains some of Iowa’s highest quality remnant prairies and oak woodlands making the perfect outdoor classroom. This six-class series is designed to provide members of the public the basic knowledge and skills required to create and maintain a healthy environment in a Midwestern natural areas setting. The series will provide extensive hands-on experiences facilitated by natural resource professionals and is intended for people of all experience levels; those with little or no experience should feel encouraged to attend. Attendees should note: the series will primarily take place outdoors in the Loess Hills of western Iowa and will, at times, require pedestrian travel over terrain. 

Classes are held the 4th Saturday of the month, May – October, from 8:00 am to noon, rain or shine. Attendees can save time and money by registering for the entire 6 session programming series or you can pick and choose which sessions to attend. We encourage attendance at all 6 sessions but recognize that may not be possible for some attendees. Registration for the entire 6 session programming series is $75.00 per student ($15.00 discount), individual sessions are $15.00 per person per session. 

Register for the 6 Session Programming Series 

Or, click the titles below to register for the individual sessions of your choice.

May 26th: Introduction to Hitchcock Nature Center, the Loess Hills, and the Guiding Principles
Instructor: Chad Graeve (PCCB)

June 23rd: When and How to Control Noxious and Invasive Herbaceous Plants (a focus on Canada thistle [C. arvense] and sweet clover [M. alba and M. officinalis]) 
Instructors: Chad Graeve (PCCB) and Thad Pothast (Harrison County Weed Commissioner)

July 28th: Woody Invasives, Brush Management, and Timber Stand Improvement
Instructors: Chad Graeve (PCCB), Linsey Barney (IaDNR District Forester), and Scott Moats (The Nature Conservancy Director of Stewardship)

August 25th: Birds, Invertebrates, and Small Mammals of the Loess Hills and Prairies
Instructors: Nic Salick (Pheasants Forever Biologist), Dr. Ted Burk (Creighton University), and Dr. Jeremy White (UN-Omaha)

September 22nd: Seed Harvesting, Introduction to Prescribed Fire
Instructor: Chad Graeve

October 27th: Prescribed Fire (cont.), Follow-Up on Canada Thistle, Putting It All Together
Instructor: Chad Graeve

College students can receive a discounted student rate for the series; please contact Hitchcock Nature Center for details: 712-545-3283 or Student ID required.

This is our second year of this exciting programming series, see what our students said about last year's programs! Here is a selection of anonymous feedback from some of last year's pilot program students. 

• This is the most interesting and best-presented class I have attended since becoming a master naturalist three years ago.

• (I would just like) to say that this is such a fantastic program that I can only see it growing. I've been asked by others that are interested in taking classes. So there is interest out there! There is nothing better than sharing time with like-minded people that have a passion for restoring and preserving, to the best of our ability, what little natural resources we have left. Thank you very much for this opportunity.

• (My favorite part of the class was) hearing Chad speak with such passion about how the elements of nature work together, and how we can either mess up the environment or get out of the way and help to improve it.

• I enjoyed everything about the class. The beautiful location, the other class participants, all the instructors/experts sharing their knowledge, and all the great stuff I have learned. This has been so much fun.

• I just mentioned to a co-worker that the best money I spent was to take this course. Not only do I use this information every day, I have shared it with co-workers and others. The knowledge I have gained can't really be learned from books. You need hands-on experience and instructors that have experience and lessons learned.

• Based on what I've learned so far in the class, I have several improvements planned on my own property, e.g. removal of invasive honeysuckle to bring more light to the forest floor in our oak grove.

• I intend to use the information and skills to control invasive plants and attempt to provide a better environment for native species and pollinators on my own hillside in Council Bluffs.

I will use much of this knowledge in my work as a private lands biologist in assisting landowners with their own habitat projects.

Yes, gives me the confidence to discuss issues relating to management and the confidence to a better advocate for land management.

The quality of instruction is first rate, and the setting is perfect for those wanting to learn how to protect the environment of the Loess Hills.

Great class! Things that may seem very basic to instructors may not be so basic for attendees. Got a lot out of some seemingly basic discussion. Sometimes basic info. was valuable on its own, sometimes the side notes, related notes, the why or the more in depth background related to the basic topic resulted in the learning of valuable information.

And our favorite, in-person quote from an ILM student (when asked why she was in such a rush to get home after attending class): “My daughter had her baby this morning. She asked when I was going to come up and see her in the hospital, and I told her, ‘Sorry honey, I don’t want to miss this class. After that, I’ll be right down to see you and the baby.’” This same woman drove 1.5 hours each way to attend every ILM class.

We hope you will join us for the second year of this amazing program & look forward to seeing you at the park!

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