UPDATE: Flood Damage at Narrows River Park & Botna Bend Park

It's been a wet spring here in western Iowa resulting in damages to homes & property, road closures, & the closure of two of Pottawattamie County Conservation's parks. 

Narrows River Park to Remain Closed During the 2019 Season

Narrows River Park, May 30, 2019 Photo Courtesy of L.T. Darren Budd 

The rising waters of the Missouri River coupled with the increased water releases from Gavins Point Dam have  stymied the park cleanup efforts and repairs needed to reopen the park for visitors; the park in its current state poses a risk to the health and safety of visitors and will likely remain in this condition for some time.  

Pottawattamie County Conservation has made the difficult decision to close Narrows River Park for the 2019 season. Should river forecasts predict favorable river conditions, the park may reopen in late summer or early fall. Updates to the status of the park will continue to be posted to Pottawattamie County Conservation's website at www.pottcoconservation.com & to the Narrows River Park Facebook page.

Repairs Continue at Botna Bend Park

New Bison Calf Born May 25, 2019 

Thankfully water levels on the West Nishnabotna River have remained stable since the end of March allowing for good progress to be made towards park cleanup and repairs.  Unfortunately damages to the park were severe & a significant amount of cleanup and repair work still needs to be completed.  

Temporary fencing for the bison and elk herds remains in place but routines for animal herds have returned to normal.  Unfortunately, the park will have to remain closed until the necessary repairs can be made to ensure the safety of our park users. The park will remain closed to the general public until work on the permanent fence for the bison & elk herds is completed & more progress is made on necessary park repairs.

Pottawattamie County Conservation would like to stress that the park remains closed to visitors and asks that members of the public respect the posted closure.

Updates to the status of the park will continue to be posted to the Pottawattamie County Conservation website at www.pottcoconservation.com & to the Botna Bend Park Facebook Page.
Discover "Prairies, People, & Place" with Doug Ladd at Hitchcock Nature Center, June 8th

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.  
Parents - don't forget! You can drop off the kids at Nature Club while you attend Doug's presentation.

Doug was kind enough to chat with our Naturalist Michelle to give you all an idea of what to expect & help you get to know him & his important work.

What sparked your interest in conservation and plants?
I've always been fascinated by nature and the amazing diversity and adaptation of life in our natural communities. Some of my earliest memories are of walks with my mother, when she taught me the common names of many local wildflowers.

What is your favorite part of your work?
Being in the field and trying to figure out the composition, interrelationships, ecological patterns, and function of our natural systems, and how they can be sustained through time.

If you only had a minute or two to inspire or encourage people to care about conservation, what would you tell them? 
Modern humans depend on healthy, diverse ecosystems to sustain their quality of life just as much as people did thousands of years ago, although we have lost sight of this critical relationship between people and nature.  In addition to sustaining vibrant, healthy human societies, intact natural systems also provide a direct cultural and spiritual link to the original landscape and human history of an area; stewarding these irreplaceable resources provides a visceral re-connection with nature, and should be viewed by society as both a sacred responsibility and a powerful privilege.  The unique natural systems and their component organisms at any spot on earth define place from both human and ecological perspectives.

Are there any suggested books or publications you would suggest for participants who are interested in learning more prior the event in June? 
Tim Flannery's book "The Eternal Frontier" is an enjoyable read providing critical perspective of North America's deep ecological history; Edward O. Wilson's classic "The Diversity of Life" provides critical insight into the importance of and threats facing biodiversity.  The Missouri Prairie Foundation's publication, Missouri Prairie Journal, provides a variety of grassland-related articles and information, clearly written and beautifully illustrated. 

Any questions? Please call 712-545-3283. We can't wait to see you June 8th!
2019 Summer Camps Begin June 10th! 
Hitchcock Oak Inventory Training - June 22nd

The sprawling mighty oak tree remains a symbol of the American Midwest but a new, swift, and little understood disease has recently emerged in our area with the potential to eliminate these iconic trees from our landscape. Join us at Hitchcock Nature Center to be a part of a new volunteer project aimed at understanding and alleviating the effects of this new threat.

We will be hosting a series of training sessions aimed at training those interested in joining this unique volunteer program. Each training will be held at Hitchcock Nature Center from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the following dates. 

Summer Training Session - Saturday, June 22nd
Fall Training Session - Saturday, September 21st

Training sessions will cover a variety of topics & include field training sessions to help volunteers practice their skills & become independent project volunteers. Topics covered will include the project & field data collection app, oak ecology, & oak fire wounds. Pre-registration is requested for these free events as space is limited.

Thank you for all of your support during 
Omaha Gives/Pottawattamie Gives 2019!
Upcoming Programs

A Pottawattamie County Almanac: Loess Hills Limnology
7:30 a.m.
Saturday, June 8th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Dive into the world of Limnology, the study of the biotic & abiotic components of a freshwater ecosystem.   Read More ...

Native Earth Skills: Herbalism & Medicinals
9:00 a.m.
Saturday, June 8th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Learn about common useful plants & explore their traditional medicinal properties & application including tips for safe usage.  Read More ...

Knee High Naturalists
2:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 8th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Learners age 2 to 5 will use their imaginations, play, construct, & create their own worlds during un-directed, child-led play time in nature.  Read More ...

Nature Club
4:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 8th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Students age 6 & over will explore the Loess Hills at Hitchcock Nature Center during this immersive new program full of hands on nature learning.  Read More ...

2019 Speaker Series: "Prairies, People, & Place" with Doug Ladd
4:00 p.m. 
Saturday, June 8th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join us in welcoming Doug Ladd, Director of Conservation Science for the Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy as he discusses the hows & whys of our prairie heritage.  Read More ...

Butterflies Through Binoculars
1:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 9th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Learn more about the beautiful butterflies that call Hitchcock Nature Center home with a presentation on active butterfly species followed by a guided field session to spot these beautiful insects.  Read More...

Beginning Birding with Nic Salick
7:30 a.m. 
Saturday, June 15th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
designed to help novice birders develop new skills & identify common and notable species found throughout the Midwest. Read More ...

Living Loess Tour
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 15th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
And Partner Businesses
Connect with the culture of the Loess Hills during the monthly Living Loess Tour as you visit various local businesses. Read More ...

Hitch Hike
7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 18th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Take a closer look at some of Hitchcock's best prairie remnants as you are guided along Badger Ridge. Discover early summer wildflowers and get an idea of what the hills may have looked like during the time of Lewis and Clark.   Read More...

Oak Inventory Project Training
12:00 p.m. 
Saturday, June 22nd
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join us at Hitchcock Nature Center to be a part of a new volunteer project aimed at protecting Iowa's iconic bur oak trees.  Read More...

Hitchcock Nature Center Insect Club
5:00 p.m. Pre-Meeting Hike
6:30 p.m. Meeting
Thursday, June 27th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Everyone is welcome to join in the fun with the new Hitchcock Nature Center Insect Club.  Read More...

2019 Summer Concert Series: Happy Together
4:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 7th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join us as we welcome our friends Happy Together to serenade the crowds with the greatest hits of the 1960's & 1970's. Get in on the fun with this rocking band! Read More ...

Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Pottawattamie County Conservation
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