Arrowhead Park Annual Chili Fest
October 12th!
Autumn weather is upon us & that means it's time again for the Arrowhead Park annual Chili Fest! Join us at the park on Saturday, October 12th from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. for an evening of family fun.

Meet up at Breezy Lodge for family games, pumpkin painting, & a variety of tasty chili recipes to sample in the crisp fall air. Then board the hayrack ride to travel through the park's campgrounds for some pre-Halloween trick-or-treat fun.

This event is free with park admission & there is no pre-registration needed to attend. Admission to the park is $3.00 per vehicle & daily entrance passes may be purchased with exact change or check at the front gate and may be purchased the day of the event. Annual memberships may be purchased for $20.00 from staff at any of our parks, at the Loess Hills Lodge at Hitchcock Nature Center during regular business hours, or online at 

Free will donations are encouraged and will support continued programming opportunities in Pottawattamie County. 
2019 Speaker Series" Nesting Owls & Barn Owl Restoration" at Hitchcock Nature Center

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. 

Bruce 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 & prepare for his upcoming program.

What sparked your interest in conservation and wildlife?
As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by wild animals. At age two, I have memory of watching a cottontail rabbit in our yard. Grandpa & Grandma Ehresman taught me how to hunt and be respectful of other lives. Plus they told me stories of living through the depression and hunting wildlife (Prairie Chickens and jackrabbits in western NE) to help keep meat on the table. My conservation ethic was developed over time, early on from my grandparents (all four) and reading lots of books. The turning point came in the early 1970s - while studying fisheries and wildlife biology and animal ecology at ISU and also from reading books by Aldo Leopold, Henry David Thoreau, Rachel Carson, John Muir, John Burroughs, Gary Snyder, and Barry Lopez.

You are presenting at the speaker series coming up on October 12th what are  some highlights we can expect at your presentation?
A live Eastern Screech Owl and Barred Owl will be used (on the fist) to talk about those two species. We shall discuss life history of each of Iowa's seven nesting owls, what each species eats, where it lives and nests, what its current population status is, and what each one of us can do to benefit these amazing animals. Most of the program will center on Iowa's Barn Owl restoration efforts, an example of how the public is participating to bring back a species that was nearly gone from Iowa.

If you only had a minute or two to inspire or encourage people to care about conservation, what would you tell them?
I first would encourage people to think about what aspect of nature truly inspires them and why it inspires them or is meaningful to them, an aspect they truly would not wish to see gone from their life. It can be a particular woodland, prairie, or a stream. It might be the singing birds in their yard, a local bald eagle nest, or a patch of blooming flowers full of butterflies. I next would ask them to envision that special aspect that they love to be totally gone from their life and how that loss might affect them.I next would ask them if they are willing to take action to make sure that aspect that is so meaningful to them (and perhaps to their kids, their friends or other family members) does not disappear from their lives. If they say that they are willing to take action and ask how to do that, I likely would suggest that they make more effort to be involved with local conservation groups and get to know their local conservation agency naturalists and biologists. If they had specific questions about particular animals or plantings for wildlife that they wished to know more about, I would help them find that information.I also would suggest that they read or re-read A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. If they ask how they can know what the right and wrong actions are, I would provide a Leopold quote, "A thing is right when it tends to support the stability, integrity, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong if it tends otherwise."

Registration Now Open for Hitchcock Nature Center's Annual Eagle Migration Event

Join us Saturday, November 9th at 1:00 p.m. for our annual Eagle Migration Event and help us celebrate the Hitchcock HawkWatch.

Learn more about the Hitchcock HawkWatch & brush up on your own raptor identification skills during an informative presentation & a guided birding hike. Visit with working HawkWatch volunteers about the important work they do each season at Hitchcock Nature Center, then visit with live raptors up close & personal to get to know these amazing birds. 

Cost for this event is $3.00 per person, children 5 & under are free. This fee includes admission to the park, all programming, & refreshments. Pre-registration is required as space is limited. 
Upcoming Programs

HawkWatch 5K Trail Run & Walk
7:00 a.m. Runner Check In
8:00 a.m. Race Begins
Saturday, October 5th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Take in the scenery of the Loess Hills as you run through woodlands, valleys, & prairies during this all ages trail run.  Read More ... 

The Harvest Spoon Tour
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
Saturday, October 5th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
And Partner Businesses
Celebrate the food and culture of western Iowa as you visit all 5 partner businesses along the Harvest Spoon route.   Read More ...

A Pottawattamie County Almanac: Autumn Splendor
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 12th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Get ready for fall as you learn more about photosynthesis & the finer points of cellular respiration then enjoy an introduction to nature photography in the beautiful fall landscape.  Read More ...

Knee High Naturalists
2:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 12th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Perfect for our youngest learners this new program series will focus on hands on nature learning. Read More ...

Nature Club
4:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 12th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join our Nature Club! Go adventuring to discover a whole new world at Hitchcock Nature Center. Read More...

Nesting Owls & Barn Owl Restoration with Bruce Ehresman
4:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 12th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join us in welcoming Bruce Ehresman, recently retired avian ecologist as he discusses owl conservation programs. Participants will get to meet a live screech owl during this presentation.  Read More ...

Chili Fest
4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 12th
Arrowhead Park, Neola
Join us for games & activities, pumpkin painting, hayrack rides, trick or treating, & of course, chili. Read More ...

Full Moon Hike
7:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 12th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Hit the trails with our naturalist & learn about the full moon, its mythology & its effect on the natural world.   Read More ...

Butterflies Through Binoculars
1:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 13th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Learn more about the beautiful butterflies that call Hitchcock Nature Center home.   Read More ...

Fall Festival
4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 19th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Celebrate autumn in Iowa at Hitchcock Nature Center with  a guided mystery hike, family games, & treats. Don't forget to wear your costumes and head to the campground for some trick or treating.  Read More ...

Living Loess Tour
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 19th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
And Partner Businesses
We wrap up our 2019 Living Loess Tour with two featured partners in one location! Stop by Iowana Farm & Harvest Studio outside of Crescent, Iowa. Read More ...

Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Pottawattamie County Conservation
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