HawkWatch Eagle Migration
November 9th at Hitchcock Nature Center
Don't forget to register for our upcoming HawkWatch Eagle Migration event on Saturday, November 9th at 1:00 p.m. at Hitchcock Nature Center. 

This all-ages event celebrates the nationally recognized Hitchcock HawkWatch program as well as the migrating raptors that make their way through the Missouri River Valley each autumn. 

Each event attendee will participate in a variety of activities throughout the afternoon including: 
  • Live raptor demonstrations - Presented courtesy of Shelby County Conservation, free will donations in support of their raptor program are encouraged & gratefully accepted
  • A presentation on the Hitchcock HawkWatch & how to develop your own raptor identification skills
  • A guided birding hike to spot migrating raptors in action with help from an expert
  • A chance to meet our team of HawkWatch volunteers & see them work
Cost for this event is $3.00 per person. Children age 5 & under are free to attend & do not need to register. The program fee includes park admission, all offered programming, & refreshments.

Pre-registration is required by November 6th as space is limited. Please use the link below to register online.

Two New Team Members Join the Pottawattamie County Conservation Staff
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, & so much more. We are so excited to have her on board & look forward to all the experience she brings with her.

I sat down with Amy to get to know her so check out her interview & then stop by the park to say hi in person this season!

What is your personal and educational background?
I grew up on a small family farm in south-central Nebraska. I received my BS and MS degrees in Human Services fields from UNL and worked as a Youth Program Coordinator and then as a Counselor in the Omaha area before my husband and I moved our family to an acreage west of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. There I focused on raising our three children and taking care of all the animals that soon followed. In 2011, I completed the training for the Nebraska Master Naturalist program, and that's where I found my people. I've been working and volunteering in the field ever since.

Where did you work prior to joining the staff at Pottawattamie County?
Prior to joining the team at PCC, I was the Education Coordinator for Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, an organization dedicated to rehabilitating sick, injured, and orphaned native wildlife. Because most of those animals are in need of help because of things people do, public education is a big part of their mission. I spent a lot of time in schools and in the community educating youth and adults about native wildlife and ecosystems. I had the great privilege of taking care of some very special animals, too.  I was also an Educator for Fontenelle Forest where I facilitated nature-based programs for a lot of fun, energetic young people.

Tell me about a project of accomplishment that you consider significant in your career. 
If I have changed a few individuals' perceptions about wildlife and the importance of protecting our natural systems, I consider that a great accomplishment. Once a student cried in fear of a live educational opossum I brought to her classroom. By the end of the hour learning about opossums and getting up close and personal with one, she exclaimed with enthusiasm that it was her new favorite animal.

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. 

During this season the tower becomes an office for this very important work and the scientist who calls it home for three months is our only full time, paid HawkWatch employee. This year we are so pleased & excited to welcome a new member to our HawkWatch team, Erin Scott. I took some time to interview Erin & can't wait to share her insightful answers with you all. Stop out to visit with Erin & her volunteers this fall during the HawkWatch & meet her in person! 

What is your personal and educational background? 
I was born and raised in Nebraska. I graduated from Benson High School (Go Bunnies!). I eventually moved and I have lived in Kansas City, MO for the last 16 years. After working in several job fields I decided to go to college and focus on what I wanted to do in life. It took some time but I now have an Associates of Science - Biology from Metropolitan Community College Kansas City and a Bachelors of Science - Wildlife and Conservation Management from Missouri Western State University.

What brought you to Hitchcock Nature Center as the 2019 season Hawk Counter?
A good friend has been the counter for the last three years (cough Bethany cough), I came up to visit one weekend and just hung out with her up on the tower, it was so much fun.  This summer that same friend, and a mentor both called me about the position being open. They both thought that I should apply, so I did.

What inspired you to go into your chosen field of study?
I have always loved animals, and for a time I thought about being a veterinarian or a zoologist but I wanted to do more. After I moved to Kansas City I started volunteering at Lakeside Nature Center, helping in various ways (My favorite job was always helping with the raptors.) but what really resonated with me was the care they take to rehabilitate ALL wildlife that is native to the state. No creature is more important than the other. Being there really helped me see what I loved to do, so I decided that wildlife conservation and management, was the best path for me. I knew that no matter what job I ended up doing I would be doing something I love.

Holiday Closures & Winter Hours at Hitchcock Nature Center

Beginning December 1st, 2019 the Loess Hills Lodge Interpretive Gallery & Welcome Desk at
Hitchcock Nature Center will begin observing winter hours:

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. - Friday & Saturday
1:00 to 5:00 p.m. - Sunday
Closed Monday through Thursday

The holidays will also bring additional closures to the Loess Hills Lodge gallery as our staff &
volunteers spend time with family & friends. The Loess Hills Lodge gallery will be closed the
following days in November.

Monday, November 11th - Veteran's Day (observed)
Thursday, November 28th - Thanksgiving
Friday, November 29th - Thanksgiving

Additional holiday closures may be added during the month. All holiday closures as well as
closures due to inclement weather will be posted to our Facebook page as soon as they are
known, Click Here to Follow Hitchcock Nature Center on Facebook.

Upcoming Programs

A Pottawattamie County Almanac: Waste Not Want Not
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 9th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
This session will look at the important but unseen work of nature's recyclers, the insects, fungi & others that work to convert waste matter into something new. Read More ...

HawkWatch Eagle Migration
1:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 9th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Learn more about migrating raptors with live bird demonstrations, presentations, & guided hikes during this all ages event.  Read More ...

Winter Wonderland Night Hike
6:00 p.m.
Friday, December 6th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Hit the trails with our naturalist & see what winter holds during this interpretive hike then join us for cookies & cocoa to warm up after your adventure. Read More...

Chronicles From the Trail
4:00 p.m. 
Saturday, December 7th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join local experts Glenn Pollock & Larry Grill as they recount the 1820 expedition of Steven Watts Kearny & Andrew Talcott through Iowa.  Read More ...

Nature on Tap
7:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 12th
Barley's Bar, Council Bluffs
Register your team & compete in our annual nature trivia competition, prizes will be up for grabs so bring your thinking caps! Read More ...

Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Pottawattamie County Conservation
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