"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
— Lao Tzu

This July, don't forget to pause and enjoy the little things—especially all the wonders to be found just outside your front door or at your favorite Pottawattamie Conservation park! And if you're feeling like the end of summer is already around the corner, just remember that the season technically lasts until September 22nd and that an energizing hike, rejuvenating camping trip, or fun river adventure is only a short drive away.

Also, today's Amazon Prime Day. If you'd like to support the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation and help fund environmental education programming for all ages, please consider purchasing something from our Amazon Wishlist here.

In case you missed it: Hitchcock Nature Center's camping cabin patios are now screened in for your bug-free enjoyment, day or night. Old Town Park will soon have new campsites with water and electric hookups for your next RV or tent camping trip. Botna Bend Park's south campground is closed until further notice due to construction.
Burning Bridges & Battling Sweet Clover
Learn how our Natural Areas Management team is protecting your parks.
Aric Ping, Pottawattamie Conservation Natural Resource Technician, shares the benefits of growing season prescribed fire against invasive species like sweet clover and brush.
For many of us, this time of year is for family vacations, poolside hangouts, and backyard fun. For our Natural Areas Management team and interns, it marks the season for battling one of our area’s toughest invasive species to manage: yellow and white sweet clover.

Be it weed whacker or drip torch and flame, they're using every tool in their toolbox to prevent this species from taking over the natural areas you know and love. Perhaps most important, removing foreign invaders like sweet clover is vital to preserving special remnant prairie ecosystems that covered 85% of Iowa just 175 years ago. Today? Less than 0.1% (just to reiterate, that’s less than one-tenth of one percent) remains. 
Go Wild for Conservation on September 29th
Tickets and sponsorships are now available. Join the fundraising fun!
Ignite your adventurous side and Go Wild for Conservation!

Join us in person on September 29th for a silent and live auction, Full Fledged Brewing Company beer tasting, Barley's burgers and food, a growler and wine pull, and the premiere of Pottawattamie Conservation's "Fire on the Prairie" video. 

When: Thursday, September 29th | 5:30 p.m.
Where: The Plaza courtyard, Mid-America Center Entertainment District | Near Full Fledged Brewing Company

Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased until Friday, September 23rd. An online auction will also accompany this fundraiser from September 22nd through the 29th.

Your donation supports the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation and the Gary & Beth Matters Environmental Education Scholarship Fund and helps fund land management projects, county park improvements, and environmental education programming for all ages.
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?
Governor's Volunteer Award
Congratulations to our volunteers for taking home this honor!
There's no doubt about it, we couldn't do what we do without our amazing volunteer team. From our camp hosts who provide a safe and welcoming environment for campers and help with park maintenance to our Loess Hills Lodge welcome desk ambassadors, the HawkWatch team, and more, we want to share our gratitude. Please join us in thanking and congratulating your Pottawattamie Conservation volunteers who donate more than 5,000 hours of their time and talents each year to preserve your public parks.

Upcoming Programs
Little Tike Hike
Botna Bend Park | through July 31st 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!
The Hidden Lore of Gravel | With Dustin Clayton (Waitlist only)
Botna Bend Park | 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.
July Hitch Hike | Fox Run Ridge
Hitchcock Nature Center | Tuesday, July 19th | 7:00 p.m.
Free with park entry or membership | All Ages

Hike Fox Run Ridge while taking in the stunning views of the Missouri River valley and beautiful prairie. Fun fact: The valley seen off Fox Run Ridge is known as Bulldozer Valley and was partially created by bulldozers when a previous landowner cut down 40 acres of trees there while going through a legal battle to turn the park into a dump.
A Land Ethic Workshop: Freshwater Ecosystems (rescheduled from June)
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, July 23rd | 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)
Insect Club: Butterfly Populations
Hitchcock Nature Center | Thursday, July 28th | 5:30 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 Joanne Langabee, a Nebraska Master Naturalist and insect enthusiast, for a discussion about the factors that impact butterfly populations and a group hike.
Wildlings Summer Camps for Ages 3 to 5 Afternoon slots now available!
Hitchcock Nature Center | Monday, August 1st to Friday, August 5th
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. | $15 per day or $50 for all five days

Wildlings camps are designed for 3- to 5-year-olds and are a great way to introduce your child to the wonders of the outdoors. Sign up for all five days or choose a day you think your young student will be most interested in. Please see details and themes below:

Monday, August 1st: Brilliant Birds
Tuesday, August 2nd: Impressive Insects
Wednesday, August 3rd: Awesome Amphibians
Thursday, August 4th: Magnificent Mammals
Friday, August 5th: Rockin' Reptiles

Registration for all Wildlings camps closes on Monday, July 25th.
High Summer Prairie Medicine | With Dustin Clayton
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, August 6th | 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
$12 per person | Ages 16+

When summer is at its hottest and gold is just beginning to touch the grasses, join Dustin Clayton at Hitchcock Nature Center and witness how life is ripening as the growing season approaches its apogee. Examine nut trees and check their progress, take a close look at the late summer flowers, and learn about the variety of wild medicines, foods, and craft materials present this time of year.
Perseids Shower Night Sky Event
Mt. Crescent Ski Area | Friday, August 12th | 8:00 p.m. to Midnight
$5 per vehicle; Cash only | All Ages

Take in the beauty of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower and explore the wonders to be found in the night sky at Pottawattamie County's newly acquired Mt. Crescent Ski Area! Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, binoculars, and telescopes to view nature's fireworks.

This event is $5 per vehicle, cash only (checks will also be accepted). Please note that parking is limited. Vehicles will be permitted into the park, spaces permitting, until 10:00 p.m. All vehicles will need to exit the park by 12:00 a.m.
A Land Ethic Workshop: A Chorus of Insects
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, August 13th | 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 insects of the Midwest
  • Continued instruction on nature journaling
  • A reading & discussion of Aldo Leopold's essay "The Green Pasture"
  • Life on the Forest Floor-A Quadrat Study
  • August Nature Calendar (phenology)
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