News & Blog: Hitchcock Nature Center

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

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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Help us Name our Cabins!

Our cabins need some great names & we need your help choosing them.

8/29/2020
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Arrowhead Park, Hitchcock Nature Center, News

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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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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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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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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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Night Sky Event: Tips to Make the Most of This Annual Event

Take in the beauty of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower at on Saturday, August 10th at Hitchcock Nature Center. This spectacular display of lights and falling meteors is an event you don't want to miss. Join us at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 10th at the park entrance. No pre-registration required.

7/17/2019
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Hitchcock Nature Center, Events

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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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Join the Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol for Outdoor Emergency Care Training

The Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol is an invaluable partner organization, patrolling trails at Hitchcock Nature Center, supporting PCC staff during events, & offering important assistance to park visitors in need. We are so grateful for their continued support of our parks & our mission.

6/19/2019
Hitchcock Nature Center, Volunteering, Training, Events, 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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Something for Everyone May 11th

Four programs in one day! That's the goal at Hitchcock Nature Center on Saturday, May 11th & every second Saturday of the month until October! Our goal of providing something for everyone has really come to fruition & we hope to see lots of new faces & old friends as we kick off a summer of fun!

5/8/2019
Native Plants, Hitchcock Nature Center, Family Fun, Events, Speaker Series

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Environmental Education Day-Hire Opportunities

Do you have a background in education? Are you looking for a way to share that your love of science & nature? Want to get outdoors? Then the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board (PCCB) is looking for you! Our Environmental Education Department is looking for current or former teachers interested in staying active in childhood education by assisting our naturalists with field trip programming this spring as a day-hire employee!

4/16/2019
Our Staff, Training, Hitchcock Nature Center

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“The Birdchick” Brings Her Amazing Story to Hitchcock Nature Center

Pottawattamie County Conservation is eagerly looking forward to welcoming Sharon Stiteler, aka "The Birdchick" as she kicks off our 2019 Speaker Series. This intrepid birder has made it her mission to get paid to go birding around the world & she has some amazing stories to share in her upcoming presentation "Today's Office" coming up on May 11th 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.  

4/13/2019
Bird Watching, Hitchcock Nature Center, Speaker Series, Events

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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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Fire Refresher Training: March 19th

Prior to Euro-American settlement, fire was a regular occurrence throughout the Great Plains and helped to maintain the health of our natural systems.  In the modern age, land managers utilizing fire must be proficient and thus must train regularly. 

3/5/2019
Our Staff, Training, Land Management, Hitchcock Nature Center, Events

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2019 Summer Camp Registration Now Open!

Our Naturalists have been hard at work planning another great summer of fun at your county parks. This year's camps will be held at 4 different parks, over the course of 9 weeks, and will host nearly 400 students! Check out the list of camps below for details and click on the links to register the young people in your life today. Space is limited so don't delay!

3/1/2019
Hitchcock Nature Center, Arrowhead Park, Botna Bend Park, Events, Summer Camp

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It's Winter in Pottawattamie County

Many people view winter as a sterile, cold, miserable time of the year. A time when the smartest thing to do is hide out in the house until spring. I sometimes think like this, too.  I am no fan of the icy winds that burn your cheeks and freeze fingertips. I prefer the warming spring days, the hot sun of summer, and the cooling breezes of fall. However, now that I am your new Naturalist, I see it as my duty to appreciate every season, even the bitter cold one… So come along with me as we explore the Loess Hills ecosystem and its’ inhabitants in the winter! Should be an adventure!

1/25/2019
Michelle Biodrowski, Naturalist
Winter, Hitchcock Nature Center, Native Plants, Native Animals, Loess Hills

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December Public Programming: Fun in the Winter for the Whole Family!

Winter is a beautiful time in western Iowa! Come along with our Naturalist Michelle on a quick winter walk!

11/21/2018
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator and Michelle Biodrowski, Naturalist
Family Fun, Winter, Hitchcock Nature Center, Bird Watching, Holidays

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Get Inspired with A Pottawattamie Almanac

Our monthly programming series, A Pottawattamie County Almanac, doesn't end when the weather gets cool. You still have two more chances to join this one-of-a-kind programming series before the end of the season.

11/6/2018
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Hitchcock Nature Center, Events

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Something for Everyone on October 13th!

Pottawattamie County Conservation has a full day of programming planned for Saturday, October 13th. There is something for everyone and with events happening at 3 of our parks you are sure to find the perfect event for your Saturday!

10/11/2018
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Halloween, Botna Bend Park, Autumn, Events, Hitchcock Nature Center, Speaker Series, Arrowhead Park, Family Fun

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Festive Fall Bunting

Looking for a fun and easy way to decorate for any season or occasion? My go-to decoration is always a bunting. This versatile little craft can be made with a few dollars worth of materials and hung from doors, mantles, shelves, window frames ... anything! 

10/4/2018
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Autumn, Hitchcock Nature Center

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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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Rocky Visits Hitchcock Nature Center

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, four special dogs, the Lewis and Clark Pups, will travel in the paws of their ancestor Seaman, dog of Meriwether Lewis. The pups will travel more than 3,700 miles to complete their mission to commemorate and protect the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. As they make their stops they will be reporting back in on their adventures.

4/23/2018
Hitchcock Nature Center, Our Staff

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Hunter Education Field Day

A new partnership has developed between Pottawattamie County Conservation and Pottawattamie Pheasants Forever and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Together bringing new opportunities to area hunters in the form of Hunter Education Field Day opportunities in Pottawattamie County. 

3/13/2018
Hitchcock Nature Center, Pheasants Forever, Hunting, Training

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Family Friendly Guided Hikes!

Looking for ways to explore Hitchcock Nature Center as a family this year? Check out our calendar of guided hikes! These are the perfect way to get outdoors and dip your toe into hiking in the Loess Hills as you explore Hitchcock Nature Center with PCCB staff leading the way. Not only will you get a chance to see the park you might also learn a thing or two.

3/10/2018
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Hitchcock Nature Center, Family Fun, Hiking

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Summer Camp Registration Opens March 1st!

Join us for another summer of fun with Pottawattamie County Parks!  Our Naturalists have all new adventures planned for our 2018 campers.  From Pre-K adventures with Fairies & Pirates to canoe excursions & overnight camping adventures for our older learners - PCCB Summer Camps offer something for everyone in 2018!

2/21/2018
Hitchcock Nature Center, Arrowhead Park, Botna Bend Park, Events, Summer Camp

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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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Introducing Homeschool in the Hills

During the past year your Pottawattamie County Conservation Naturalists have been busy brainstorming new and exciting family-oriented programming for 2018. 

1/23/2018
Rene Stroud, Naturalist
Homeschool, Hitchcock Nature Center, Events, Family Fun

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Check out our 2018 Family Programming

Pottawattamie County Conservation's amazing Naturalists Kristen & Rene have been hard at work putting together another season of great programming. 2017 was a year of change for our Environmental Education Department with the creation of the Adult Education Programming, a complete overhaul of our field trip & in school programming, & the addition of a couple brand new program series. 2018 looks like it will continue that trend! We have added a brand new program geared toward our homeschool friends, a new snowshoe hike for children under 12, and new guided hike opportunities.

1/19/2018
Rene Stroud, Naturalist and Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Family Fun, Events, Hitchcock Nature Center, Botna Bend Park, Arrowhead Park, Narrows River Park, Hiking

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Join us for Breakfast & Birdwatching

Join us at Hitchcock Nature Center for birding in a whole new way!

1/12/2018
Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Bird Watching, Pheasants Forever, Hitchcock Nature Center, Native Animals, Events

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