News & Blog: Conservation

Keep up-to-date with the latest news and blog entries from Pottawattamie Conservation!

Celebrate National Bat Week October 24th - 31st!

Get to know these amazing flying mammals as we kick off Bat Week 2020!

10/22/2020
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator and Kristen Bieret, Sac County Conservation Naturalist
Autumn, Conservation, Homeschool, Native Animals

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"Bats of Iowa" with Lauren Darnold Coming November 12th!

Get to know our first speaker, Lauren Darnold, Education & Public Outreach Coordinator with Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Inc. & get ready for "Bats of Iowa" on November 12th!

10/16/2020
Michelle Biodrowski, Naturalist and Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Conservation, Events, Native Animals, News, Speaker Series

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Get to Know: Earl Johnson, Hawk Counter

Autumn at Hitchcock Nature Center brings the return of our Hitchcock HawkWatch team. This year we are welcoming back Earl Johnson as our lead HawkWatch Counter.

10/13/2020
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Bird Watching, Conservation, HawkWatch, Hitchcock Nature Center, Loess Hills, Native Animals, News, Our Staff

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September 2020 HawkWatch Report

Catch up on the latest HawkWatch news with our September activity report.

10/8/2020
Earl Johnson, Hawk Counter
Autumn, Bird Watching, Conservation, HawkWatch, Hitchcock Nature Center, Loess Hills, Native Animals, News

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Enjoy a Virtual Fieldtrip!

Take a virtual field trip & explore biodiversity in the Loess Hills with Pottawattamie Conservation.

10/2/2020
Rene Stroud, Naturalist and Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Conservation, Family Fun, Hitchcock Nature Center, Homeschool, Loess Hills

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Blackbird Marsh Experiences Fish Kill

A perfect storm of conditions leads to large fish kill event at Blackbird Marsh.

9/30/2020
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Conservation, Land Management, News

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Fauna Feature: Little Wood-Satyr

These soft brown butterflies might not be the most showy insects but they have a beauty all their own, get to know the Little Wood-Satyr.

9/18/2020
Malena Brotherson, Environmental Education Intern
Conservation, Hiking, Land Management, Loess Hills, Native Animals

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Go Wild For Conservation in 2020!

Join in the fun September 17th through October 1st & show your support for the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation & Pottawattamie Conservation.

9/14/2020
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Conservation, Events, Land Management, Native Animals, Native Plants, News

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Plant Family Focus: Asteraceae

Get to know the Asteraceae family, the largest flowering plant family.

9/10/2020
Malena Brotherson & Kristen Yost, Environmental Education Interns
Conservation, Green Thumbs, Hiking, Land Management, Loess Hills, Native Plants

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Milkweed & Monarchs

Milkweed is essential for monarch butterfly survival. Learn more about this amazing plant & ways you can help support monarch populations.

9/1/2020
Malena Brotherson, Environmental Education Intern
Conservation, Green Thumbs, Homeschool, Land Management, Loess Hills, Native Animals, Native Plants

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Busy Bumble Bees

Bumble Bees are a fuzzy friend on our summer flowers each year. Learn more about these social insects & ways you can help protect them.

8/27/2020
Kristen Yost, 2020 Environmental Education Intern
Conservation, Land Management, Loess Hills, Native Animals

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Cicada Summer

Cicadas provide the background music for summer days and nights but how much do you know about these unique insects?

8/18/2020
Kristen Yost, 2020 Environmental Education Intern
Conservation, Loess Hills, Native Animals

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Flora Feature: Ironweed

Pretty in purple, Ironweed is a common late summer flower in southwest Iowa.

8/13/2020
Kristen Yost, 2020 Environmental Education Intern
Conservation, Green Thumbs, Hiking, Land Management, Loess Hills, Native Plants

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Head Outdoors for a Birding Scavenger Hunt

Head outdoors on your own birding scavenger hunt, perfect for some weekend fun.

7/28/2020
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator and Kristen Yost, 2020 Environmental Education Intern
Arrowhead Park, Bird Watching, Botna Bend Park, Conservation, Family Fun, Hiking, Hitchcock Nature Center, Homeschool, Loess Hills, Narrows River Park, Native Animals

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Turtles of Iowa

7/7/2020
Kristen Yost, 2020 Environmental Education Intern
Conservation, Homeschool, Loess Hills, Native Animals

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Get to Know: Kim Wickersham

6/11/2020
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Conservation, News, Our Staff

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Ask a Naturalist: Why Does Weather Change

5/8/2020
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Conservation, Events, Family Fun, Homeschool

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PLAY AGAIN with Pottawattamie Conservation

5/6/2020
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Conservation, Events, Family Fun, Homeschool

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Trail Maintenance with the Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol

UPDATE 5/19/2020 LHNSP personnel & Hitchcock Nature Center staff have made the decision to cancel our Third Annual Trails Day event originally scheduled for May 30th. We hope to bring you another volunteer work day in the future. Thank you for your support.

5/1/2020
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Conservation, Events, Hitchcock Nature Center, Land Management, Loess Hills, Volunteering

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Beautiful Spring Bloodroot

4/16/2020
Amy Campagna, Environmental Education Coordinator
Conservation, Hiking, Loess Hills, Native Plants

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Environmental Education at Home

4/10/2020
Rene Stroud, Naturalist and Amy Campagna, Environmental Education Coordinator
Conservation, Family Fun, Homeschool

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Explore Pottawattamie Conservation Habitat Areas this Spring

3/27/2020
Kody Wohlers, Natural Resources Technician and Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Bird Watching, Conservation, Family Fun, Hiking, Land Management, Native Animals, Native Plants

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Get to Know: Amy Campagna, Environmental Education Coordinator

We are delighted to announce that our Environmental Education team is growing! We would like to welcome our new teammate, Amy Campagna, & introduce you to this terrific educator. Amy will be taking on the daunting task of assisting our Naturalists in presenting educational programming as well as assisting in program development, overseeing the department schedules, and so much more. We are so excited to have her on board and look forward to all the experience she brings with her.

10/30/2019
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Our Staff, Conservation

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The Fiery Hues of the Prairie Grasses in Autumn

I don’t think enough people give our native grasses the fame they deserve.

10/30/2019
Michelle Biodrowski, Naturalist
Native Plants, Autumn, Conservation

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Get to Know: Erin Scott, Hawk Counter

It is autumn again at Hitchcock Nature Center & while that may mean slowing down for other parks in our area it means a whole new flurry of activity for our staff & guests with the return of the Hitchcock HawkWatch. Each year from September 1st through the end of December our observation tower is staffed daily by a team of volunteer raptor enthusiasts, the HawkWatchers, headed by their fearless leader, the seasonal Hawk Counter.  This team spends the fall scanning the skies of the Missouri River Valley spotting and cataloging migrating raptors such as hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls. 

10/10/2019
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
HawkWatch, Bird Watching, Hitchcock Nature Center, Our Staff, Native Animals, Conservation, Autumn

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Nesting Owls & Barn Owl Restoration with Bruce Ehresman

Join us for the September installment of the 2019 Speaker Series on Saturday, October 12th at Hitchcock Nature Center as we welcome Bruce Ehresman, recently retired avian ecologist for the Iowa Dept. or Natural Resources Wildlife Diversity Program as he discusses owl conservation programs. Participants will get an up-close look at a live screech owl during this informative presentation.  This event is free with park admission or an annual membership & it is open to anyone age 14 & over. 

9/25/2019
Speaker Series, Hitchcock Nature Center, Conservation, Native Animals

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"Monarch Butterflies & Their Conservation" Coming to Hitchcock Nature Center

Join us for the September installment of the 2019 Speaker Series on Saturday, August 10th at Hitchcock Nature Center as we welcome Jennifer Hopwood, Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Jennifer will be sharing information about the amazing monarch butterfly, its epic migration & current efforts to support & conserve this fascinating insect.  This event is free with park admission or an annual membership & it is open to anyone age 14 & over. 

8/31/2019
Speaker Series, Hitchcock Nature Center, Conservation

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Go Wild for Conservation On September 12th!

The Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation is a part of nearly everything we do at your county parks. From funding free & low cost public programming, to supporting park improvements, to assisting with land acquisition this non-profit organization makes it possible for us to continue offering amazing experiences to all of our park visitors. Each year this amazing organization holds a terrific fundraiser to raise funds to continue this important mission. Attendees enjoy a beer tasting along with a live & silent auction during this fun evening.

8/30/2019
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Conservation, Events

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Discover "Sacred Seed: an Indigenous Heirloom Seed Journey" with Taylor Keen at Hitchcock Nature Center

Join us for the fourth installment of the 2019 Speaker Series on Saturday, August 10th at Hitchcock Nature Center as we welcome Taylor Keen founder of Sacred Seed, a project with the goal of preserving Native American heritage & history through collecting, growing, & spreading the seeds of corn & other traditional Native American foods. Taylor will be sharing his personal story of reuniting with his tribal roots & reconnecting with the 4 Sisters (corn, beans, squash, & sunflower). The ensuing journey has connections to an ancient & deep cosmology & history of how Indigenous corn was appropriated into commercial use & is now being revived by tribal seed keepers.  This event is free with park admission or an annual membership & it is open to anyone age 14 & over.

8/2/2019
Speaker Series, Hitchcock Nature Center, Conservation, Native Plants

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Experience Healthy Soil, Healthy Planet with Jean Eells at Hitchcock Nature Center

Join Pottawattamie County Conservation in welcoming Jean Eells Ph.D., founder of the eResource Group for her interesting & informative presentation "Healthy Soil, Healthy Planet" coming up on July 13th at 4:00 p.m. at Hitchcock Nature Center. This event is free with park admission or an annual membership & it is open to anyone age 14 & over.  

7/10/2019
Speaker Series, Hitchcock Nature Center, Conservation, Green Thumbs

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Loess Hills Cooperative Burn Week 2019

This spring 81 participants from 34 agencies and organizations took part in the Loess Hills Cooperative Burn Week April 29th - May 3rd.

6/19/2019
Kody Wohlers, Natural Resources Technician
Our Staff, Land Management, Conservation, Loess Hills

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Discover Prairies, People, & Place with Doug Ladd at Hitchcock Nature Center

Join Pottawattamie County Conservation in welcoming Doug Ladd, recently retired Director of Conservation Science for the Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy as he discusses the hows & whys of our prairie heritage during “Prairies, People, & Place” coming up on June 8th at 4:00 p.m. at Hitchcock Nature Center. This event is free with park admission or an annual membership & it is open to anyone age 14 & over.  

5/16/2019
Speaker Series, Hitchcock Nature Center, Native Plants, Conservation

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Become a Nature MVP During our Earth Day Championship

Join us at Hitchcock Nature Center on Saturday, April 20th at 9:00 a.m. for a unique volunteer project.  This fun, all ages event combines learning, volunteering, & competition all in one terrific package.

3/27/2019
Hitchcock Nature Center, Volunteering, Events, Conservation

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Book Review: Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy

I read and re-read Douglas Tallamy’s book “Bringing Nature Home: How you can sustain wildlife with native plants” the updated and expanded version. This book covers the importance of native plants in the ecosystem and how they are foundational for sustaining our wildlife populations in natural areas and the ever spreading suburbia. Doug covers everything from “what is a native plant” to giving us practical advice on how to re-incorporate native plants into your property’s landscape.

3/8/2019
Michelle Biodrowski, Naturalist
Native Plants, Book Reviews, Conservation, Green Thumbs

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PUBLIC CALL TO ACTION: Oppose HF 542 & SSB 1221

Rarely does Pottawattamie County Conservation wade so deeply into the political sphere. However, at this time we feel we have no choice. We need your help. This is a public call to action.

3/1/2019
Conservation

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Get to Know: Michelle Biodrowski, Naturalist

Pottawattamie County Conservation is excited to introduce you to the newest member of our Environmental Education Department, Michelle Biodrowski. Michelle is taking on the title of Naturalist for our county and will not only be assisting with all types of different programs she will also be designing & creating new adult education opportunities for area residents. Get to know the newest member of the team and make sure to say hello the next time you see her at one of your county parks.

10/31/2018
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Our Staff, Native Animals, Conservation

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Get to Know: Bethany Thornton, Hawk Counter

Every autumn the observation tower at Hitchcock Nature Center becomes a hub of activity with the return of our annual HawkWatch. This seasonal project begins September 1st & continues through the week of the Christmas Holiday and is an amazing research project that we are proud to be a part of.  During the HawkWatch a team comprised of volunteers and a seasonal full time supervisor scan the skies of the Missouri River Valley spotting and cataloging migrating raptors such as hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls.

9/28/2018
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
HawkWatch, Bird Watching, Hitchcock Nature Center, Our Staff, Native Animals, Conservation

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Love the Land During our Introduction to Land Management Program

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.

5/24/2018
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Hitchcock Nature Center, Events, Conservation, Land Management, Training

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Exploring the World of Zero Waste Living

Americans throw away about 251 million tons of garbage a year. This means the average household is throwing away about 1,600 pounds of garbage. That number might seem pretty daunting. It adds up to about 4 pounds of garbage a day. So what can we do to help cut out the rubbish?

3/28/2018
Kristen Bieret, PCC Naturalist
Conservation, Zero Waste

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Citizen Science & Volunteering Combine at Hitchcock Nature Center

The oak tree is a symbol as much as it is a tree. Dotting the landscape of the Midwest, oak trees have been a common sight since before European settlement. But a newly recognized disease has taken aim at these mighty trees and we want to know why. 

1/30/2018
Native Plants, Hitchcock Nature Center, Volunteering, Conservation, Events, Training

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