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Friday, January 28, 2011

So Much to Do This Weekend

31st Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games

January 28th – 30th, 2011
"It all started with a couple local guys and the organization of small broomball tournament. 30 years later, with the support of hundreds of community members, the small broomball tournament in 1981 has turned into an annual winter festival drawing thousands of people from throughout the Mid-West. The University of Okoboji Winter Games is now a weekend full of indoor and outdoor events for all ages. A special thank goes out to The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, and the hard-working volunteers that have worked so hard to make this event a success!"

$25,000 Winterfest Ice Fishing Derby
Come check out the ICE BASH!!!!

Friday, January 28 from 6-8 p.m.
◦At Hy-Vee on Broadway
◦With hosts Crash Davis from The Brew & KFAB
◦Fish fry hosted by HyVee
◦Beer Tasting by Doll Distributing
◦Ice fishing seminars
◦Door prizes and silent auction
◦Safety rules for the ice derby

Ice Fishing Derby
Jan. 29, 2011 7:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Lake Manawa, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Over $50,000 in Cash & Prizes!
Reel in Winter Fun with this one-day tournament at Lake Manawa State Park!

Get all the details here

2011 Iowa Bicycle Summit

Want to make an impact on bicycle culture in Iowa? The Iowa Bicycle Summit is dedicated to producing low-cost, accessible education on building stronger bicycle communities. The Summit provides city engineers, planners and bicycle advocates with information on the best practices in bicycling for transportation and recreation. In addition to featuring presentations on bicycle education that fosters vibrant and healthy communities, the Summit will again join forces with RAGBRAI’s Ride Right safety meeting at the Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. The Summit will conclude with the announcement of the 2011 RAGBRAI Route.

Get all the details here

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Iowa Outdoors in the Winter - Featured Programs

Friends -

I just received the January/February edition of Iowa Outdoors magazine - Great 'Lost In Iowa' article highlighting winter activities and the four recently remodeled cabins in Pine Lake State Park. Invest in the Iowa Parks Foundation and get your subscription to Iowa Outdoors magazine.

Check out the following for some very interesting media links to programming of interest to Iowa's outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. 

On Iowa Public Television

Iowa Outdoors, a six-part series focusing on outdoor recreation, environmental issues, conservation initiatives, and Iowa’s outdoor natural resources. Exlpore frozen farm silos in northeast Iowa, ice fishing in Spirit Lake, and fall migration in De Soto Bend National Wildlife Refuge. [28 minutes]

■Mon, January 24, 9:30 PM on IPTV
■Tue, January 25, 3:00 PM on IPTV Learns
■Sat, February 12, 8:30 AM on IPTV
■Sat, February 26, 5:00 AM on IPTV Learns
Watch This Episode Online

The National Parks: America's Best Idea is a six-episode series produced by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan and written by Dayton Duncan. Filmed over the course of more than six years at some of nature's most spectacular locales – from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska - The National Parks: America's Best Idea is nonetheless a story of people: people from every conceivable background – rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; idealists, artists and entrepreneurs; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy. The Iowa Parks Foundation is a proud local sponsor of The National Parks: America's Best Idea.  

Airdates & times are:

The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890) In 1872, Congress acts to protect land that will become America's first national park, Yellowstone 1/23/2011 @ 4pm
The Last Refuge (1890-1915)At the end of the 19th century a conservation movement takes shape to protect America's wilderness. 1/30/2011 @ 3:30pm
The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919) Established in 1916, the National Park Service protects the Grand Canyon from commercial interests. 2/6/2011 @ 4pm
Going Home (1920-1933) The automobile allows more people to visit the parks. The Smoky Mountains and Tetons become parks.2/13/2011 @ 4pm
Great Nature (1933-1945) During an economic crisis and a world war the parks provided a source of jobs and much-needed peace 2/20/2011 @ 4pm
The Morning of Creation (1946-1980) American families create unforgettable memories, passing on a love of parks to the next generation. 2/27/2011 @ 4pm

On Iowa Public Radio

Wildlife Day with Jim Pease - 01/12/11
When the landscape is obscured by snow, some things become easier to see. Wildlife biologist Jim Pease will give us some reasons to look at our surroundings a little more closely next time we're out in the snow. We'll find out what we can see and learn from animal tracks in winter. (49:00)  
Iowa Winter Sports - 01/10/11
The best way of beating cabin fever is to get out of the cabin. There's lots of different ways to take advantage of our winter weather: cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, bird watching, sledding and ice-fishing are some examples. We'll hear from some of the experts, including John Maehl of the Iowa D.N.R., Gail Barels of the Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center in Linn County and Tim Smith of the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Dept. (49:00) 

Climate Change Impacts on Iowa - 01/04/11 
A new report compiled by researchers at Iowa's Public Universities details the effects of climate change on the state. The report is in response to a directive set forth by the Iowa Legislature to review climate change impacts and policies in Iowa. Ben Kieffer talks with Jerry Schnoor, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa, Gene Takle, Director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University and Biology Professor Laura Jackson from the University of Northern Iowa. Later in the hour, a conversation with Leah Christian of the Pew Research Center who discusses the latest attitudes and opinions among the public towards climate change. (46:00)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beat Cabin Fever by a Visit to a State Park

The best way of beating cabin fever is to get out of the cabin. There's lots of different ways to take advantage of our winter weather: cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, bird watching, sledding and ice-fishing are some examples. Hear from some of the experts, including John Maehl of the Iowa D.N.R., Gail Barels of the Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center in Linn County and Tim Smith of the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Dept

It’s that time of year when many Iowans are feeling the effects of “cabin fever.” John Maehl with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the cure could involve a visit to a state park for some outdoor winter fun. He says cross-country skiing is an inexpressive way to get exercise and enjoy the parks.

“Many of our trails that are more level and longer in distance, we groom those with a snow machine pulling a trailer that leaves some packed-down tracks specifically for cross-country skiers,” Maehl said. He suggests calling your local state park to check if they offer groomed trails for cross-country skiing.

Maehl is based in Monticello and says two of the more popular parks in northeast Iowa for the activity are Mines of Spain State Park near Dubuque and Volga River State Park near Fayette. Hiking is another popular activity during the winter months at state parks. Maehl suggests taking a walk on a state park trail after dark.

“We don’t have the night sky pollution like you do in the city,” Maehl said. “You’ll see the outdoors in a way you’ve never seen it before. The stars are so bright, there’s so many of them and they reflect off the snow. It’s just a whole different way to experience the outdoors.” Iowans can also visit state parks in the winter for ice-fishing, sledding or bird watching. Maehl says there’s not a wide variety of birds in Iowa at this time of year, but they’re much easier to see.

He notes bald eagles are especially active this time of year and can be spotted plucking fish out of rivers running through state parks. Maehl says a few brave Iowans enjoy tent camping in the winter, but most prefer to seek out parks with cabins for rent.

Maehl was a guest on the Iowa Public Radio program Talk of Iowa.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Sketching Iowa's Heritage: How to draw children back into nature"

Winter Solstice 2011
January 21-23 (Friday-Sunday) - Honey Creek Resort, Moravia

"Sketching Iowa's heritage: How to draw children back into nature" is the theme of the 2011 Winter Solstice annual environmental education workshop, with keynotes by Kris Howes-Vonstein and Jennifer Hancock of the Vinton Shellsburg Schools' Green Team.

Other presentations include the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre of West Liberty and an Iowa Wetlands pre-workshop. The conference is sponsored by the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition and partners, including INHF. Find out more or register.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More 2011 Bald Eagle Watch Events

 More 2011 Bald Eagle Watch Events

(*Saturday) indicates events with a Friday school day

  • January 15 - February 13, Weekends Only
  • Combination eagle watches and clock tower tours
  • Saturday and Sunday times are: 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.
Reservations required. Group size is limited. Call 309-794-5338

Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch
*Saturday, January 15
For more information call: 563-556-4372 or 563-582-0881

Keokuk Bald Eagle Days
*Saturday and Sunday, January 15-16
  • Indoor programs and Environmental Fair at the River City Mall, Keokuk,
  • Live Eagle Programs Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Outdoor viewing along the riverfront
For more information call: 1-800-383-1219

Saturday, January 23
  • Outdoor viewing from 9 a.m. to 4p.m. at lock and Dam 21
For more information call: 217-228-0890

LeClaire Bald Eagle Watch
Saturday and Sunday, January 29 - 30
  • Outdoor viewing at Lock and Dam 14, Sat. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Sun. 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Indoor programs: Sat. at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m.; Sun. at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.
  • Indoor programs: Mississippi Valley Welcome Center
For more information call: 563-322-3911 x120

Lunch with Eagles
Friday, February 18
  • Scott St. Dam in Des Moines
  • Outdoor viewing in downtown Des Moines
For more information call 515-323-8907

Prairie DuChien Eagle Watch
Saturday, February 26
  • Outdoor viewing from 9AM to 3 PM
  • Bald Eagle programs and exhibits, birding experts on hand
  • Children activities
For more information call 563-873-3491 or 800-732-1673

Saylorville Bald Eagle Watch
Sunday, February 27
  • Outdoor Viewing at selected sites around reservoir, start at Visitor's Center 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  
For more information call 515-276-4656

Red Rock Bald Eagle Watch
Friday and Saturday, March 4 - 5
For more information call 641-828-7522

Linn Grove Eagle Watch
Saturday, March 5
  • Registration: 8:30 to 10 a.m.
  • Refreshments served in the morning
  • Can pre-register at: Wonders of Nature, 107 Weaver, Linn Grove, Iowa, 51033
  • Speakers from 10 a.m. to Noon
  • Lunch served at 12:15 p.m., free will offering
  • Outdoor viewing at selected sites, start at Nature Center, Linn Grove Main St.
  • Indoor programs at sites to be listed later
For more information call: 712-296-4920

For More Eagle Watch Information: 515-432-2823 or

DNR starts recycling pilot project for parks

Repost from Radio Iowa
by Pat Curtis on January 10, 2011

Visitors to some Iowa State Parks may soon be able to recycle items that are currently ending up in the trash. Jim Lawson is overseeing a recycling pilot project involving 10 state parks for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. He says similar efforts have been tried a smaller scale in the past.

“But, we think it’s time to try it again,” Lawson told Radio Iowa. “People are much more cognizant of recycling efforts than they were five or 10 years ago. Some of the problems we had were people misusing the containers, putting normal refuse in them. We have different containers that will prevent some of that.” Lawson is hoping to implement the new recycling program this summer after receiving a lot of comments from campers.

“I’m sure we’ll be starting with basic things, possibly cardboard, aluminum, clear glass and things like that,” Lawson said. “We’ll probably start off with the basics and see how
goes.” It’s not immediately clear how much the pilot project will cost the DNR to implement.

“We hope to develop some partnerships, possibly with local vendors or organizations, and we’re looking at the possibility of partnering with some local civic organizations to sponsor the cost of the program,” Lawson said.

The 10 state parks selected for the pilot project are Gull Point near Milford, Clear Lake, Lake Ahquabi near Indianola, Big Creek in Polk County, Rock Creek in Jasper County, Ledges in Boone, Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs, George Wyth  in Waterloo, Pleasant Creek in Linn County and Lake Macbride State Park in Johnson County.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Highlights - January 15 - 16, 2011
  • View eagles in their Natural Habitat
  • Wildlife, Conservation and Environmental Exhibits
  • Native American Activities
  • Woodcarvers' Exhibits and Demonstrations
  • World Bird Sanctuary Presentations
  • "A Salute to Songbirds" Traveling Exhibit
  • Interesting Seminars!
  • Artifact Road Show

View Bald Eagles in their Natural Habitat
Riverfront · Victory Park & Southside Boat Club
Saturday & Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Personnel from the Lee County Conservation Board, Iowa DNR, Illinois DNR and the US Army Corps of Engineers will staff viewing points. Spotting scopes are available free of charge.

River City Mall Activities
300 Main Street
Saturday & Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This 7-panel interactive display is fun and informative for all ages. It includes a mimic nest and international research information. Learn the importance of songbirds, their habits and other unique characteristics.

AGENCY DISPLAYS from Iowa, Illinois and Missouri showcase their efforts of protecting, preserving and maintaining our natural habitat.

ARTIFACT ROAD SHOW from the Office of State Archaeology. Bring your artifacts in for identification and age determination.


Learn Native American history of the Keokuk Area and the significance of the Eagle in Native American Heritage. The Night Eagle Singers will lead the singing and dancing. Coordinated by the Thunderbirds.


Saturday & Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
presented by Jim Lamer, manager of the Kibbe Field Station in Warsaw, Illinois.

Saturday , 2:00 p.m.
Presented by Cynthia Peterson, Project Archaeologist for the General Contracts Program with the Office of State Archaeology.

Saturday & Sunday, 3:00 p.m.
Learn about locally found wild foods, see demonstrations of how to crack and shell out hickory nuts, process acorns, and make sumac lemonade. Presented by Mike Krebill.

World Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis
River City Mall Plaza Cinema
Saturday, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 & 4:00
Sunday, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00 & 3:00

See these magnificent birds up close and personal. Birds featured will be the American Bald Eagle, Wedge Tailed Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, African White-Naped Raven, and a Hooded Vulture that will fly over the crowd.

Holiday Inn Express Activities
325 Main Street
Saturday & Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The 2010 Woodcarvers’ Show features outstanding and amazing items shaped by carvers from Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. Coordinated by the Keokuk Woodcarvers Club.

Check out this video produced before the 2008 Eagle Days in Keokuk

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

27th annual Bald Eagle Watch

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River Project, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Clinton Community College and the Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge will be presenting the "27th Annual Bald Eagle Watch" on Saturday, January 8, 2011.

As in past years, educational programs and environmental exhibits will be held at Clinton Community College. Clinton Community College is located at 1000 Lincoln Blvd, Clinton, Iowa. Eagle viewing will be held at Lock and Dam 13 in Fulton, Illinois off IL Highway 84.

The following programs are scheduled throughout the day:
9:30 a.m. – Welcome to Eagle Watch and "Listen to the Eagles' Message" DVD.
10:00 a.m. – Candy Ridlbauer, Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab and Education Center, in Loves Park, Illinois will be presenting live birds that the center is currently rehabilitating.
11:15 a.m. – Pat Schlarbaum, Iowa DNR, presenting "Celebration of Peregrine Falcons."
12:00 p.m. – Chuck Jacobson, Clinton County Conservation Board, presenting Nature Music and Songs.
12:30 p.m. - Candy Ridlbauer, Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab and Education Center, in Loves Park, Illinois will be presenting live birds that the center is currently rehabilitating.

The exhibits will feature live birds of prey, conservations groups, artists, drawings for door prizes and refreshments.

Scenic Stage Line, of Morrison, Illinois, will provide a courtesy bus shuttle between Clinton Community College and Lock and Dam 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The first shuttle will depart Clinton Community College at 8:30 a.m. and busses will run every half hour until 3:30 p.m. Due to limited parking at Lock and Dam 13, participants are encouraged to use the courtesy bus service.

For more information please contact the Thomson Park Rangers at (815) 259-3628 or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (815) 273-2732.