Funded by REAP

Resource Enhancement and Protection

What's New!
 Director's Desk | Nature Talk 

Our Quarterly Newsletter now On-line

Naturally Speaking is now available in PDF. Click here for Winter 2015 Edition.

Other issues also available. Click here for Autumn 2014 Edition. Click here for Spring 2014 Edition. Click here for Winter 2014 Edition.

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Also, if you want to look at last summer's Dutch Oven Cook Off, the 2014 Dutch Oven Cook Off newsletter is also available. Click here - may take a while to load.

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Upcoming Public Programs


Young Birders: Birding Neff Wetlands. Tuesday, July 7th; 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

The Loop Trail goes right through the middle of this wetland and provides easy access to view a variety of wetland birds, from common yellowthroats to wood ducks. Interested participants can meet naturalist Therese Cummiskey at the parking lot of Lamson Woods. For youth 8 to 18 years of age. Registration is appreciated by not required. No fee.


Bear Creek Geodes. Wednesday, July 8th; 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. OR Monday, July 13th; 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

For 3rd & above. We’re heading to Van Buren County to visit Bear Creek in search of Iowa’s State Rock. Geared for 3rd grade and above but those younger are allowed if accompanied by an adult! Bring along a bucket and your lunch and wear clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting wet. Because of the popularity of this program we will be offering it on two different days. Fee: $20.00/individual. $5.00 for accompanying parent. Because this event takes place on private property, all participants must sign a waiver.


Young Birders: Backroad Birding Thursday, July 9th; 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

For kids 8 to 18 years of age who love birds and bird watching. We'll load up in the van and head out to different spots around the county to find birds...perhaps along a field looking for horned larks or a messy fence row in search of bobwhite quail. Limited to 10 youth. Registration required. Fee: $5.00. Meets at Jefferson County Park nature center.


Kayak Basics for Beginners. Tuesday, July 14th; 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.

For 5th grade & up. For students new to kayaking this class will introduce you to kayak basics, followed by time on Pleasant Lake to practice. Meets at Pleasant Lake parking lot off Pleasant Plain Road. Fee: $10.00. Limited to 6 participants each class. This class is made possible by the naturalist staff of Lee County Conservation.


Bug Week

July 18 to 26th is National Moth Week and we're working with local entomologist Moni Hayne to spotlight the biodiversity of moths (see Wednesday, July 22nd's program). But we thought we'd take the opportunity to celebrate all sorts of bugs during this week by offering a variety of insect programs for both youth and adults. Each session begins at the Jefferson County Park nature center which is located southwest of Fairfield off Libertyville Road.

Bugs: Up Close and Personal.
Monday, July 20th; 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

All ages of youth. Children under 1st grade must be accompanied by an adult. This unique program will allow participants to get a much closer look at bugs! We'll start indoors with a hands-on presentation and head outdoors to do some sweep neeting in the prairie. Fee: Free. No registration necessary.

Good Bugs. Bag Bugs.
Tuessday, July 21st; Noon to 1:00

For adults. Come join entomologist Moni Hayne over the lunch hour. We'll provide you with lunch and the opportunity to learn about the beneficial species of insects you have in your yards and gardens and about those species that are pests. Participants are welcome to bring along any bug they want identified. Pre-registration required. Call Therese at 472-4421 or e-mail Fee: $8.00 (includes lunch).


Moths at Midnight!
Wednesday, July 22nd (10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. OR 11:30 p.m to 12:30 a.m.)

For all ages, youth and adults. All youth under 11 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. On July 22nd we're offering two late night sessions for mothing. 10:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. for those individuals who don't want to stay up too late. And from 11:30 to 12:30 for those who do. (Moni says the coolest moths come out at midnight...and so will we!). Fee: Free. No registration required.

For more information about National Moth Week go to: National Moth Week.

luna Insects of the Pond.
Thursday, July 23rd; 1:00 - 3:00 p.m..

For 3rd grade and above. We know that ponds have cool things like frogs and turtles but there's also giant water bugs, whirligig beetles, water scorpions and other cools insects! Come explore with us. Kids need to wear boots and wear clothes they don't mind getting dirty. Space is limited so pre-registration is required. Call Therese at 472-4421 or e-mail Fee: $5.00

Frass & Tracks.
Friday, July 24th; 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

For 3rd grade and above. Many of us are familiar with the signs of animals like foxes and squirrels. We can follow their tracks or find their scat along a trail. But insects also leave signs behind and that's what we'll learn about in this session. Space is limited so pre-registration is required. Call Therese at 472-4421 or e-mail Fee: $5.00


Need more info? Call Therese at 472-4421, or e-mail to



From the Director's Dennis Lewiston

Enjoy Your County Parks This Summer! Did you know that every county in Iowa (99) has a county conservation board? The Iowa County Conservation system was established in 1955. Since that time, over 1,832 county conservation areas, encompassing over 193,624 acres have been established. 24 million park users spending 851.5 million dollars visit Iowa’s county parks each year.



Nature Talk... by Therese Cummiskey



Need more info? Call Therese at 472-4421, or e-mail to

See some articles from our newsletter, Naturally Speaking.