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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Event

Honey Creek to Host Spring Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Event

Honey Creek Resort State Park will be the location for the spring Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop, April 23-24.

"It's been a long cold winter and everyone is anxious to get outside and enjoy spring," says Julie Sparks, BOW coordinator for Iowa. "We've been looking forward to holding a spring workshop and thought what better location than Honey Creek Resort. Spring is a perfect time to be anywhere in Iowa, but particularly southern Iowa. Turkeys are gobbling, fish biting, songbirds migrating. It's a great time to be in the woods or on the lake and we have both at the resort."

The Honey Creek BOW workshop will offer classes in basic firearms, shooting, archery, camping, bird watching, kayaking, canoeing, Dutch oven cooking, turkey hunting, basic motor boat, lake fishing, fly fishing and geocaching. Classes run between three and four hours each and are
intended to give participants confidence a particular skill. Class size is kept small to allow for plenty of hands-on activity.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman is an international program offering anyone 18 years or older the opportunity to learn new skills usually associated with hunting and fishing, but useful in many outdoor pursuits. The DNR has been sponsoring BOW workshops in Iowa since 1994.

"We really hope women will grab a friend or relative and come spend the weekend with us and check out the resort," says Sparks. "Our workshops are a very non-intimidating, comfortable way to learn a new skill, not to mention a whole lot of fun."

Honey Creek Resort State Park opened in 2008 and is the first of its kind in Iowa's state parks system. The resort features a 105-room hotel and lodge, 28 cottages, a water park, restaurant and 18-hole championship golf course, all located on the north shore of Rathbun Lake in south-central Iowa. To learn more about the resort and its amenities, visit

To download a Honey Creek BOW registration form go to and click on "camps and workshops" then "BOW." For more information about the BOW program or workshop, contact Julie Sparks at or at (515) 281-6159.

Check out this video from the California BOW Program.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Iowa Outdoor Youth Summit

The Iowa Outdoor Youth Summit will be held at Springbrook Conservation Center on April 10 and 11. It will be a great opportunity to get your group involved in an important service learning experience.

Download the details for the Summit details.

The goal is to engage youth and adults in a planning process to address “Nature Deficit Disorder.” We hope to have about 25 teams of 3-5 kids and adults attend, work together to develop plans to get more kids outside and execute those plans back home.

Download, complete and submit the Outdoor Youth Summit Registration Form.

Iowa Outdoor Youth Summit

Saturday, April 10, 2010 from 9am – 5pm
Sunday, April 11*, 2010 from 8 am – noon

April 23‐25, 2010: Participants follow‐up with initial action steps for their efforts as part of Global Youth Service Day
*April 11 is an optional day for participating in outdoor activities that can be shared with novices back home


Springbrook Conservation Education Center, north of Guthrie Center, IA


Bring together “teams” of youth and adult mentors from across the state to develop action plans for getting more kids outdoors in their local area
􀂃 develop a comprehensive action plan for getting kids outside
􀂃 strengthen relationships between environmental and youth development organizations
􀂃 initiate, energize and support collaborative work

􀂃 Teams of 1‐2 adult mentors and 3‐4 young people (under age 25) who want to do something to get more kids outdoors

April 10 Working Session
􀂃 $50/team of 4; $10 for each additional person*
􀂃 $15 for individuals (We strongly encourage teams of at least 4 from a location to facilitate
partnerships and support for local projects.)

April 11 Recreation Session
􀂃 $15/person**
*Covers costs of meal/breaks. Iowa DNR Springbrook Conservation Education Center is donating use of the facility; DNR’s Aquatic Education
Program is subsidizing costs of materials/supplies; Several facilitators are donating their services
**Covers cost of dinner Saturday evening and breakfast Sunday; program costs donated by partners

􀂃 Register a team by completing the registration form and submitting to the Aquatic Education
􀂃 Organizations and groups –
o Come and share your expertise and resources
o Recruit a team from your area
o Support a team from your area (registration, travel, help with implementation)

For More Information or Registration Forms:
􀂃 Email
􀂃 Call 641‐747‐2200

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Valley State Park - Whole New Look

Introductions will most likely be necessary to reacquaint the frequent campers and anglers with the all new Green Valley State Park after the park and lake emerge from a 20-month-long facelift, later this spring.

The facelift included adding full hook-up sites, removing a number of campsites to increase the size of each site, redesigning all the camping pads, a new electrical system upgrading from 30 amps to 50 amps, and each site will have a new picnic tables and fire grills. The campground will have a new shower building installed this spring. New pit latrines were added at the campground, the cabins and the north picnic area. A third camping cabin was built.

Green Valley will also have a new playground that was donated in part, by the family of Greg Haley, who was the park manager when he passed away in January 2009. It was built by volunteers.

The park was connected to the City of Creston by a paved bike trail in 2009 that allows park visitors easy access to the amenities in town.

While the campground renovation was underway, the DNR took the opportunity to improve the quality of the lake.

The lake was lowered 12 feet in late summer 2008 and the fishery was renovated to remove carp and yellow bass. The spillway was reconstructed; the fishery was rebuilt with bluegills, largemouth bass and channel catfish. A few adult crappies from ponds in the watershed will serve as the source for all future crappies for the lake. While the lake was down, the DNR added fish habitat to bring fish close to shore anglers.

The dry dredge project began in February that will deepen the north ends of the two arms and other areas along shore. Digging out the sediment will also remove the nutrients trapped in the sediment and improve water quality. In fact, the water is already noticeably clearer.

The dredging is scheduled to be completed by July 1 then the spillway will be closed to refill the lake. Once the lake refills, there should not be a delay when anglers should catch keeper sized fish - 2 pound catfish and 7 to 7-1/2 inch bluegills.

"Those fish will have been growing in the lake for nearly two years," said Gary Sobotka, area fisheries biologist for Green Valley. "Everything is setting up to be a nice fishery."

Green Valley will not be part of the DNR campsites reservation system for the foreseeable future because once the renovation is complete, the park will be remapped and all the sites photographed and other information on the park updated for the online system so camping will be allowed on a first come, first served basis.

Green Valley State Park has been one of the ten busiest parks in the state and will likely resume its place among the most popular places to fish, camp and play. It also serves as a launching point for Three Mile Lake and Twelve Mile Lake.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Whiterock Conservancy - Ice Storm Cleanup

Whiterock Conservancy - Ice Storm Cleanup

Join volunteer forces to help clean up winter storm damage at Whiterock Conservancy. Remove brush and fallen trees from main hiking trails, river campgrounds and historic Home Farm. If you can help, please meet at 10 a.m. at the Betts Shop on Fig Avenue (.8 miles south of Hwy 141) in Coon Rapids. Contact to RSVP.

Please wear winter appropriate clothing, sturdy boots and bring leather gloves. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Whiterock Conservancy is an Iowa non-profit land trust dedicated to conserving and protecting Iowa's natural resources, demonstrating sustainable rural land management, and engaging the public with the environment through outdoor recreation and education.