2019 Go Wild for Conservation 
Fundraising Auction & Beer Tasting
September 12th

The Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation is a part of nearly everything we do at your county parks. From funding free & low cost public programming, to supporting park improvements, to assisting with land acquisition this non-profit organization makes it possible for us to continue offering amazing experiences to all of our park visitors. Each year this amazing organization holds a terrific fundraiser to raise funds to continue this important mission. Attendees enjoy a beer tasting along with a live & silent auction during this fun evening.

This year's event will be held on Thursday, September 12th with a whole new location & a new event plan. Sam Stivers, Pottawattamie County Conservation Administrative Director & Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation Secretary was nice enough to fill me in on some of the plans for this year's event.

I hear this year's event features a new layout & a new location. What can guests look forward to with this new direction?
    We are putting more focus on auction items & activities that have a connection to our parks & even our auction items will include ways to get you outside in the parks you are supporting.   We have also changed up the MC for the evening & will be welcoming Comedian MC & Auctioneer Kris Covi to add a bit of fun to the evening & there will be live raptors for viewing from our friends in Shelby County. Basically, we are trying to focus on our parks & the great outdoors in a fun & interactive way.
    This year's beer tasting will even be different with three local breweries attending. We will have Keg Creek Brewery from Glenwood, Infusion Brewing from Benson, & Exile Brewing from Des Moines on site & pouring their new & seasonal beers for event attendees to try. Maybe you'll find a new favorite!
   We are also really excited for the new location. The Grass Wagon is a new event venue in Council Bluffs, located at 110 South 29th Street & it is truly a terrific place. This new venue will change the look & feel of our event & give guests an opportunity to visit a new locally owned business. We hope you love the new location as much as we do.

Each year PCF identifies projects in the park that will be directly supported by funds raised during the event. What projects have the board chosen for support this year?

    We are really focused on improvements & expansions this year. Projects include:
  • The construction of three new modern cabins at Arrowhead Park. These new cabins will feature indoor plumbing, a full kitchen, a bathroom, & three bedrooms expanding our lodging offerings in Pottawattamie County.
  • The construction of new restrooms at Old Town Park in Macedonia. These restrooms will add additional amenities to this park & with the soon to be installed playground they will really increase opportunities for area residents to make use of this terrific park.
  • The construction of a new & improved shower facility at Botna Bend Park for better camper experience.
  • Updates to the parking areas at Hitchcock Nature Center to improve access & increase capacity for large events.
  • A new & updated website with a streamlined online membership portal.
  • Continued support of the annual Speaker Series which features regional leaders in the fields of conservation & environmental science in a free to the public presentation. As well as continued support of all other Environmental Education programs, field trips, & in-school programming.
Everyone loves the auction! Are you planning on any changes to this year's auction event?
This year's auction with continue the tradition of both a silent auction to start & a live auction to close but guests will see a few changes. The silent auction will be a bit smaller than in year's 
past with a focus on basket value & items that are related to our mission. The live auction will continue to feature "big ticket items" but with a shift, many of those items will feature unique & one of a kind experiences right in our very own parks. This way auction winners are connected with the very natural areas they are working to support! 

What are some of the live auction items guests can expect to be bidding on during this event?
    We are still in the final stages of planning so things may get rearranged before our event but currently guests can expect to see some of the following items up for grabs during the live auction.
  • A private raptor banding experience at Hitchcock Nature Center. This experience includes the raptor banding program, a cabin stay & we even provide food & a little wine for your visit.
  • A special dinner with Bob & Elaine Fenner.
  • A private hayrack ride & a personalized program during the Arrowhead Park Chili Fest in August, 2020 followed by a weekend stay in one of Arrowhead Park's new, modern cabins.
  • A private dinner party, Wasting Away in Margaritaville, for 8 to 10 people.
  • A weekend stay in a 30' travel trailer (sleeps up to 6) at Botna Bend Park. During your stay you will enjoy a private program on the bison & elk that call Botna Bend Home, along with breakfast & a chuck wagon cook out dinner.
  • A private ATV tour of Hitchcock Nature Center that includes a back country camping experience including tent set up with all camping needs for the night (air mattress, camp stove, etc.).
  • A heavy duty garden wagon filled with liquor, mixers, wine, & beer for your next party.
  • Selection of your own locally harvested lumber (100 board feet)from one of our very own parks.
  • A local wine & brewery tour including transportation & lunch at Tobey Jacks as you visit: Breezy Hills in Minden, Prairie Crossing in Treynor, Full Fledge Brewing in Council Bluffs, Vine Street Cellars, Bodega Victoriana, & Keg Creek Brewery all in Glenwood.
You may want to get together with friends & decide what to bid on early to pool your resources to share the fun!

Tickets for this terrific annual event are available now! Show your support for conservation, land stewardship, environmental education, & low impact recreation by reserving yours today. Tickets are $50.00 each or you can purchase a table of 10 for $450.00. Tickets may be purchased online at www.pottawattamieconservationfoundation.com or you can call the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board office at 712-328-5638 to make your reservation.  

Monarch Tagging Registration is Now Open!

How in the world do you tag a monarch butterfly? Find out at our annual Monarch Tagging program at Hitchcock Nature Center on Saturday, September 21st during one of our informative tagging sessions held at 9:30 a.m. 11:00 a.m.1:00 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.

Learn more about monarch butterflies, their unusual lifestyle and life cycle, and miraculous migration to Mexico as we teach you how we catch and handle monarchs for research during a short indoor presentation. Then participants head outdoors on the hunt for monarchs to tag onsite with help of our provided tagging stations.

You are welcome to bring your own butterfly net & we will have nets available for use. Please dress for the weather & don't forget the insect repellent, sunblock, & water as much of this program is outdoors.

Cost for this event is $3.00 per person with children age 3 & under free, this fee includes your admission to the park & tags to use on butterflies tagged during the event. 

Four programming sessions are offered & participants must choose which program session to attend when pre-registering for this event.  Online pre-registration is required by Wednesday, September 18th as space is limited, due to the popularity of this program early registration is recommended. 

For questions not answered online please call 712-545-3283 for more information, registrations will not be taken over the phone.
September Session of A Pottawattamie County Almanac to Feature Live Bird Demonstrations

Join us for our next session of "A Pottawattamie County Almanac" on Saturday, September 14th from 8:00 a.m. to Noon at Hitchcock Nature Center.  

This program, directed by Ron Cisar will focus on the birds with an introductory course in Ornithology 101. Following the introduction volunteers from Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery will present an hour program on raptors including up close experience with three live birds of prey. Come learn about the biology of these remarkable avian species, their importance to a balanced ecosystem, and some of the concerns for their survival. There is also a good chance that the volunteers will release a rehabilitated hawk that is ready to return to the wild if one is available.  Don't miss this exciting program. 

This unique monthly program offers a new perspective on the natural world & is open to participants of all experience levels age 15 & up. Cost for this program is $15.00 per person & pre-registration is required. 
Join the Hitchcock Oak Inventory Project & Become a Citizen Scientist
Help Pottawattamie County Conservation protect & preserve Iowa's iconic oak trees by becoming a volunteer citizen scientist. A new, swift, and little understood disease has recently emerged in our area with the potential to eliminate oak trees from our landscape. Help us document our oak trees as we seek to better understand and alleviate this new, & fast moving threat. 

Join us for a training session on Saturday, September 21st from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. to learn more about the program & gain the skills needed to participate. This training session will  include information on the project & field data collection app, oak ecology, & oak fire wounds. Portions of the training will occur out of doors and off-trail, so please dress appropriately.

Participants will need to provide their own smartphone for data collection and must be willing to download and install the project and data collection application for use. The app is available for both iPhone & Android users. Participants are also asked to dress for the weather including appropriate footwear for outdoor terrain. A notebook, water bottle and snack are also recommended. 

Due to the paperwork needed to register new participants we are asking that interested parties register online in advance. 

There is no fee to attend these training sessions & participants do not need to purchase a park entry pass. We appreciate your volunteer service. 

Pottawattamie County Conservation's Hitchcock Oak Inventory Project is a truly original volunteer-led citizen science effort. The project aims to support researchers' effort to better understand the dramatic decline and mortality of oaks observed throughout our region. Additionally the project helps ensure that current and future generations of oaks remain part of the Hitchcock Nature Center landscape through volunteer-led protection & planting. Hitchcock Oak Inventory Project participants are asked to register as volunteers of Pottawattamie County Conservation, including a background check & complete necessary participation waivers. 

Participants should note this project will require pedestrian travel over difficult terrain. Accordingly this project may be challenging for young children and those with restricted mobility.

The Hitchcock Oak Inventory Project is proudly funded by the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP CEP).

Upcoming Programs

Botna Bend Park Pancake Feed
8:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, September 7th
Botna Bend Park, Hancock
Join us for breakfast in the great outdoors and take in some of the newly completed repairs at Botna Bend Park.  Read More ...

Family Camp Out
2:00 p.m.  Saturday, September 7th to
10:00 a.m. Sunday, September 8th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Perfect for first time tent campers, join us for a guided camp out at Hitchcock Nature Center.  Read More ...

Guided Birding Hike
6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 11th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join birding expert & Pheasants Forever biologist Nic Salick for a guided birding hike at Hitchcock Nature Center.  Read More ...

Go Wild For Conservation
6:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 12th
The Grass Wagon, Council Bluffs
Support land stewardship, environmental education & low impact recreation at the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation's annual fundraiser Read More ...

A Pottawattamie County Almanac: Ornithology 101
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 
Saturday, September 14th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Learn more about birds of prey with an introduction to ornithology & a live raptor demonstration.  Read More ...

Hunters Education Field Day
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 14th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join us at Hitchcock Nature Center for an IDNR certified Hunter Education Field Day course offered in partnership with Pottawattamie County Pheasants Forever.  Read More...

Knee High Naturalists
2:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 14th
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, September 14th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join our Nature Club! Go adventuring to discover a whole new world at Hitchcock Nature Center. Read More...

Migrating Through Change: Monarch Butterflies & Their Conservation with Jennifer Hopwood
4:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 14th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join us in welcoming Jennifer Hopwood, Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist with Xerces as she discusses Monarch conservation efforts & research.  Read More ...

September Hitch Hike
6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 17th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join us for one final guided hike of the season and view the early signs of fall in the Loess Hills. Read More ...

Monarch Tagging
4 Sessions - 9:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. 1:00 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 21st
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join us for a monarch tagging event at Hitchcock Nature Center.  Read More ...

Living Loess Tour
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 21st
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
And Partner Businesses
Join our September featured partner is Sawmill Hollow Family Farm for their annual Aronia Berry Festival . Read More ...

Hitchcock Oak Inventory Project
12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 21st
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Help the staff at Hitchcock Nature Center as we set out to better understand the health and viability of oak tree species in Western Iowa.. Read More ...

Hitchcock Insect Club Meeting
5:00 p.m. Pre-Meeting Hike
6:30 p.m. Meeting
Thursday, September 26th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
The September 26th meeting will feature a presentation on insects in the news by club member Dennis Kingery. Read More ...

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

HawkWatch 5K Trail Run & Walk
7:00 a.m. Check In
8:00 a.m. Race
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 annual race. Read More ...

Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Pottawattamie County Conservation
Like us on Facebook Hitchcock Nature Center   Like us on Facebook Arrowhead Park   Like us on Facebook Botna Bend Park   Like us on Facebook Narrows River Park

Follow us on Twitter    Find us on Pinterest

View on Instagram    Visit our blog