Spring is a tough act to follow, but then again, there's June!

As the weather heats up and life (hopefully) slows down, don't forget to take some "me" time and reconnect with the beautiful natural areas and wildlife to be found across Pottawattamie Conservation parks.

Haven't booked a camping trip yet this summer? If you enjoy a bit of a challenge make sure to explore our Backcountry Campsite availability at Hitchcock Nature Center. All other tent & RV sites at our parks are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Also, please note the new date for the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation's 19th annual Go Wild for Conservation fundraiser: Thursday, September 29th More details coming soon!
We Can't Get Over This New Park Addition
Arrowhead Park's new pedestrian bridge is officially open to the public.
A new pedestrian bridge was installed at Arrowhead Park in Neola in early May (see the video below to see it come together!) and we are happy to announce it is officially open for public access.

The bridge connects the eastern and western sides of the lake near Lion's Lakeside Loop trail for the first time in around 10 years after the county removed an older bridge, making it easier for visitors to access trail systems and campgrounds.

Special thanks for this project is due to the Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors, the Pottawattamie County Secondary Roads Department, and Barnhart Crane and Rigging.
Here Are the Benefits We're Seeing From Cattle Grazers at Hitchcock Nature Center
Hi! 👋 I'm Jeremy, a Natural Resource Technician with Pottawattamie Conservation.

As you may have seen in the very punny article “Cattle: A Double-Edged Sward...” by my coworker Aric Ping, cattle have been happily grazing a portion of Hitchcock Nature Center since early April. We are prescribing a grazing regimen to combat non-native species like smooth brome and encourage the growth of native species.
I invite you to click the button below to see what we're discovering so far!
P.S. There's a photo of an adorable South Poll cattle calf in here: ⬇️
We set up exclosures, which are areas fenced off from cattle, within the pasture to have a side-by-side comparison of the effects of grazing. We have been taking pictures of these exclosures once a week to show the differences, some of which are listed below.
From Our Healing Home Series
5 Ways to Manage Anxiety: Build Your Relationship with the Outdoors
5 Ways to Manage Anxiety: Build Your Relationship with...

For those with anxiety, the world can look like a much darker, scarier place. Thankfully, something as simple as the time we spend observing and engaging with natural areas helps remind even the most anxious of us what joy, beauty, and wonder the ...

Read more
Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Chris
Learn more about our friendly & helpful Welcome Desk Ambassadors.
“Every time I come here I learn something new.”

Chris is part of our amazing Welcome Desk Ambassador team at Hitchcock Nature Center's Loess Hills Lodge, and she's coming up on three years of volunteering her time to improve your park experience and provide important environmental education to visitors.

We're currently looking to add more ambassadors to our team! Make sure to click below to see if this role is a good fit and learn how you can join us.
Join the Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol
This vital volunteer group is looking to expand, and is looking at YOU!
The Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol (LHNSP) is a member of the Rocky Mountain Division of the National Ski Patrol and serves Pottawattamie County’s Hitchcock Nature Center by patrolling trails, assisting visitors, providing medical care when needed, and offering outdoor education through safety training, backpacking courses, and more.

They're also looking to add to their crew! If you are someone who enjoys the outdoors, wants opportunities to learn new skills, enjoys being challenged, and feels it's important to give back to your community, then LHNSP is for you.

Don’t have certifications or skills? No problem! One of the benefits to joining the patrol (other than the people) is that the training is provided to become a Patroller, and then some! So...What are you waiting for?
The Babies are BACK
Help welcome Botna Bend elk & bison calves to this wild world of ours.
We recently welcomed a handful of elk and a couple of bison calves (called red dogs) at Botna Bend Park. Come experience these magnificent animals while exploring the West Nishnabotna Water Trail and nature trails. Please note: Take care to keep several feet back from fencing—new elk and bison mothers are very protective!
Upcoming Programs
Little Tike Hike
Hitchcock Nature Center | June 4th through June 12th during park hours
Botna Bend Park | June 4th through the end of the month during park hours
Free with park entry | All ages; Best for ages 3 to 5

Enjoy sights & sounds along the trail as you spot activities along your route that are designed to help learners ages 3 to 5 experience nature in a new way. While it is designed for young learners, any age can learn something new and have fun, too!
Midsummer Magic | With Dustin Clayton
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, June 18th | 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
$12 per person | Ages 16+

At the height of the sun's annual cycle, when the verdant world is at its fullest, come learn about the traditions and folk practices associated with the Summer Solstice. We'll discuss the long tradition of collecting plants dedicated to the Sun between this time of year and the beginning of the harvest season and how to make some traditional herbal preparations using some of these plants.
A Land Ethic Workshop: Freshwater Ecosystems
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, June 18th | 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
$15 per person | Ages 14+

Program participants will enjoy a full morning of instruction & learning led by celebrated educator Ron Cisar, including:
  • An introduction to the biotic & abiotic components of freshwater lakes
  • A look at aquatic invasive species
  • Continued guidance for successful nature journaling 
  • A reading & discussion of Aldo Leopold's essay "The Alder Fork"
  • Who was Sigurd Olson?
  • June Nature Calendar (phenology)
June Hitch Hike | Badger Ridge
Hitchcock Nature Center | Tuesday, June 21st | 7:00 p.m.
Free with park entry or membership | All Ages

Join us for the second hike of our 2022 Hitch Hike series where we'll take a closer look at some of Hitchcock's best prairie remnants as you are guided along Badger Ridge. Discover purple coneflowers and other early summer wildflowers and get an idea of what the hills may have looked like during the time of Lewis and Clark.
Wild Wanderers Summer Camp | For 5th and 6th Graders
Hitchcock Nature Center | Tuesday, June 21st through Thursday, June 23rd 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Daily | $75 per student | 5 Openings Left!

Students entering 5th & 6th Grade will expand their outdoor knowledge during Wild Wanderers at Hitchcock Nature Center from June 21st to June 23rd. Campers will continue growing their outdoor survival skills through archery lessons, advanced shelter building, & fire building during this hands-on camp.
Insect Club: Butterfly Count
Hitchcock Nature Center | Thursday, June 23rd | 6:30 p.m.
Free with park entry or membership | Ages 14+

Hitchcock Insect Club is a grassroots club made up of local individuals who are passionate about bugs, and they want YOU to join in the fun! Join local outdoor enthusiasts and longtime Hitchcock Nature Center supporters Babs & Loren Padelford for an interesting discussion about butterflies we're seeing this time of year!
Pat James Nature Photography Showcase
Hitchcock Nature Center | Sunday, June 26th | 1:30 p.m.
Free with $5 park admission or membership | Ages 14+

Join the River City Master Naturalist Chapter and fellow Master Naturalist and artist Pat James for her special photography showcase featuring plants on her ranch in Boyd County, Nebraska. Pat will also describe her process for making these creative prints. A guided prairie hike will follow.
Into the Wild Outdoor Adventure (For 7th, 8th, and 9th Graders)
Arrowhead Park & Botna Bend Park (locations subject to change)
Tuesday, June 28th to Thursday, June 30th | $100 per student
8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on June 28th + Overnight on June 29th
8 openings left!

Students will get a chance to put all their outdoor skills to use during this paddling adventure where they will build canoeing skills, learn about water safety, and embark on an adventure down the West Nishnabotna River Water Trail and camp overnight.
Iowa Junior Duck Stamp Display
Hitchcock Nature Center | Goldfinch Room
Thursday, June 30th to Wednesday, July 6th | Available During Gallery Hours
Free with $5/ vehicle park entry or membership

The Junior Duck Stamp Program uses an art and science curriculum to teach students in grades K-12 the wonders of our natural world through the use of conservation principles of waterfowl species and their habitats. Come see the artwork from this year's Iowa contest winners and celebrate their hard work and artistic skill!
A Land Ethic Workshop: Butterfly Basics
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, July 9th | 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
$15 per person | Ages 14+

Program participants will enjoy a full morning of instruction & learning led by celebrated educator Ron Cisar, including:
  • An introduction to common butterflies of the Midwest
  • A look at prescribed burns as a land stewardship tool 
  • How to use a dichotomous key
  • A reading & discussion of Aldo Leopold's essay "Prairie Birthday"
  • July Nature Calendar (phenology)
The Hidden Lore of Gravel | With Dustin Clayton
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, July 16th | 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
$12 per person | Ages 16+

Join Dustin Clayton by the banks of the West Nishnabotna river for a discussion centering on the rocks, minerals, and fossils common to western Iowa. There will be a walk along the river (weather and river conditions permitting) and a demonstration of stone tool making.
"Most calls begin with something like, 'We were walking in the park when...,' or 'I looked out my window and saw...' In nearly every instance, the scenario ends with something [or several somethings] being rescued from their mother...

Why this happens is no real mystery. From fuzzy yellow ducklings to tiny baby bunnies, nothing appears more cute and cuddly than a wildlife baby. But in reality, most of the wildlife reported to DNR field offices is not really orphaned at all. And while the people who attempt to "rescue" these babies have the best of intentions, they are in fact dooming the very creatures they intend to help.

The babies of most wildlife species leave their nests or dens well in advance of being able to care for themselves. Although broods or litters may become widely scattered during this fledgling period, they still remain under the direct care and feeding of their parents..."

Subscribe to the UNleashCB Bulletin to keep up-to-date with upcoming events in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County. Every Thursday, you'll receive a list of events happening that week, from concerts to family-friendly activities to community events and more!
Stay in the loop. Click on an individual park below to learn more or follow its Facebook page.

Pottawattamie Conservation | pottconservation.com | (712)-328-5638