Iowa Raptors. Saturday February 17th: 2:00 p.m. Join birdwatching.com's Diane Porter and naturalist Therese Cummiskey for a Birding 101 class. We'll take a look at some of the species of raptors you'll see this time of year. This class is for anyone who wants to learn more about these flying predators; great for beginners as well as the more well-seasoned birder. Diane and Therese will cover identification, adaptations, behavior and life history. Meets at the Jefferson County Park nature center. No registration required. No fee.
Farming with Tree Crops. Saturday February 24th: 1:00 p.m. Join husband and wife team Tom Wahl and Kathy Dice and learn abut the role of trees in sustainable agriculture. Tom and Kathy are co-owners of Red Fern Farms located in Wapello, Iowa. For over 25 years Red Fern Farm has pioneered a range of tree crops (chestnusts, paws paws, persimmons, etc.) and agroforestry practices. Learn from their experience about which species work, best management practices, and the scale required for profitability. Identify which species are better for the backyard than the market and which might be the viable niche for your land. Meets at the Jefferson County Park nature center. No registration required. No fee.
Iowa Butterfly Survey Network Training. Saturday, March 17th, 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Calling all butterfly lovers! Take an active role in conservation as a citizen scientist through the Iowa Butterfly Survey Network (IBSN), with this training from Reiman Gardens entomology staff. Learn survey techniques specifically developed for butterflies so you can help monitor butterfly populations, and provide valuable data to identify potential threats, show effectiveness of habitat restoration efforts, and give an annual snapshot of the health of all butterfly populations in Iowa. There is no fee for this training but pre-registration is REQUIRED. A minimum of 12 participants are required for the training to take place so sign up and put this event on your schedule. Please contact Therese at 641-472-4421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birding at Jefferson County Park. Saturday, April 28th; 8:00 a.m. Join birdwatching.com's Diane Porter and naturalist Therese Cummiskey for a morning of spring birding at Jefferson County Park. Meet at the nature center and we’ll head down the entrance road in search of thrushes, orioles and early warblers. No fee. No registration required. Bring your binoculars.
Warblers at Lacey Keosauqua. Saturday, May 12th; 8:00 a.m. Join birdwatching.com's Diane Porter and naturalist Therese Cummiskey for a morning of spring birding at Lacey Keosauqua State Park which is one of the best places in the state to look for migrating warblers. It’s also a great location for tanagers and pileated woodpeckers. We’ll meet at Ely Ford at 8:00 a.m. No fee. No registration required. Bring your binoculars.
Wild Edibles. Saturday, May 12th; 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. We are bringing in naturalist Kathy Dice to introduce participants to nature’s wild edibles. Kathy co-owns Red Fern Farms in Wapello, Iowa and has been a wild edibles enthusiast for over 35 years. She was recently featured on IPTV’s Iowa Outdoors program in the segment “Edible Outdoors”. An hour of trail time will be followed by a cooking demonstration and then time for questions. Participants will gain the skills to identify and eat edible weeds from their lawns and gardens. Fee: $10.00 per participant. Space is limited to 30 so pre-registration is required. Meets at the Jefferson County Park nature center. To register call Therese at 472-4421 or e-mail email@example.com
Spring Into Summer Dutch Oven Cook Off. Come to compete...or just to eat! Competing: Whether you’re a newcomer or have been Dutch oven cooking for most of your life, we hope you’ll join us for our 10th Annual Dutch Oven Cook-Off on Saturday, May 19th at Jefferson County Park! The goal of this event is to have fun, demonstrate Dutch oven cooking skills, and to amaze the public with the great food that comes out of cast iron. Once again we will have both novice and “well seasoned” divisions. Novices will be judged separately and will compete for 1st and 2nd place prize money ($75 and $50 respectively) in two categories and “Well-seasoned” cooks will compete for 1st through 3rd place ($100, $75 and $50) in three categories. For more details see the Competitor Rules and Information on page 6 of the February newsletter. See the February newsletter here (a PDF)
Eating: The public is invited to come watch and visit with the cooks. Individuals can pay a small fee ($5.00 for 13 year olds to adult; $2.00 for 7 to 12 year olds; $1 for kids under 6) that will allow them to sample the food after the initial judging is done. Visitors to the event last year had the chance to taste test over 40 dishes including Gooey Caramel Cinnamon Rolls, Cheesy Chicken Cordon-Bleu, and Roasted Red Pepper Parmesan Bread! Proceeds from the taste testing benefits the Cedar Creek Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. Most taste testers around around 11:15 a.m. as the first category is being judged. For more information see the newsletter.
Need more info? Call Therese at 472-4421, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Jefferson County Conservation Board offers a variety of outdoor-related programs each year. During the 2015 - 2016 fiscal year, 3903 individuals took part in naturalist programs. The bulk of that number was school group related. (Every classroom in the Fairfield School District makes a trip to Jefferson County Park as part of their curriculum.) Teachers have an opportunity to take part in a field trip that can help expand what they are studying in the classroom and in the process give the kids a hands-on, in-touch-with-nature experience. To schedule a field trip for your classroom contact Therese by calling 641-472-4421 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Naturalist-led programs are also offered for the general public throughout the year. The programming varies from cultural history related programs such as basket making, maple syruping and the annual Dutch Oven Cook Off to outdoor recreation classes such as canoeing and kayaking. Natural history related programs make up the bulk of the naturalist-led programs for the public and might include an indoor class on pond management or outdoor hikes and trips to go wildlife watching, stargazing, or rock hunting. You can learn about upcoming programs by visiting this website, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and asking to be put on the newsletter mailing list or by looking up Jefferson County Conservation on Facebook.
Church groups, clubs and other organizations interested in a naturalist-led hike or presentation can contact the naturalist by phone (472-4421) or e-mail. Currently there is no fee charged for these programs unless there are supplies involved (i.e. basket making); or if the naturalist has to travel out of county, mileage may be charged.