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 this summer's Dutch Oven Cook Off, the 2014 Dutch Oven Cook Off newsletter is also available. Click here - may take a while to load.

(PDF files require Adobe Reader - click on the logo to download it)



Upcoming Programs

Squirrels! Sunday, January 11th, 1:00 p.m.

Whether you think they’re a nuisance or an adorable critter of the backyard, there are a whole bunch of reasons to find them fascinating. Join us at the Jefferson County Park nature center to learn about the incredible adaptations of our local tree squirrels. No pre-registration necessary.



Young Birders Club: Eagle Watching Saturday, February 7, 9:00 a.m.

For youth 8 to 18. We’ll carpool from the Jefferson County Park nature center parking lot and head down along the Des Moines to look for eagles and any other bird that crosses our paths. All children 11 years or younger must be accompanied by an adult. Fee: $3.00 or $5.00 for child and parent. Pre-registration is required. Call 472-4421 or e-mail


Great Backyard Bird Count Saturday, February 14, 9:00 a.m.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four day event that engages bird watchers across the country in counting birds. To learn how you can participate visit the official website at or consider joining us at Jefferson County Park for our bird count on February 14th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. We’ll have hot coffee, coffee and tea available for our bird watchers. Pre-registration is appreciated but not required.


Winter Night Sky Saturday, February 21, 7:00 p.m.

Winter is prime time for star gazing. Bring your binoculars, dress the kids for the weather and come learn about the winter night sky. We’ll start with the constellation Orion to find a variety of other stars, constellations, and planets. Meet at the nature center at 6:30 p.m. Pre-registration is appreciated but not required. In case of overcast weather or snow we’ll do an owl calling program.


Restoring Habitat on Private Lands Tuesday, February 24, 7:00 p.m.

Join DNR Private Land Biologist Kevin Andersen (right) as he shares stories of working with private landowners on establishing and protecting wildlife habitat. In Iowa, land in public ownership is very limited and these areas can only serve as islands of habitat in a landscape dominated by urban sprawl and row crops, so Kevin works with private landowners to restore wetlands and prairies, plant shelter belts and winter food plots, etc. all in an effort meet the needs of Iowa’s diverse wildlife species. Meets at the Jefferson County Park nature center.


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



From the Director's Dennis Lewiston

Update. The Jefferson County Conservation Board had another busy year. Campers from 28 different states visited Jefferson County Park and paid over $22,000 in camping fees. $4,521 was collected in camping fees at Mac Coon Access and $1,645 at Round Prairie Park. The JCCB recorded 119 shelter reservations this past summer collecting $2,200 in rental fees. There were also 52 cabin reservations with $5,670 collected in rental fees. Therese Cummiskey worked with 166 groups (3,723 individuals) in naturalist-led programs from July of 2013 through June of 2014.

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. For some interesting facts on Iowa's County Conservation Boards check out this winter's newsletter. You can find the newsletter link at the top of this page.



Nature Talk... by Therese Cummiskey


Lost Information. My computer crashed right before thanksgiving. About two weeks later when things were up and running again, I realized that I had lost many of my e-mail addresses. I had my main list of contacts BUT my separate contact lists for the newsletter, basket making, and birding were missing...and it seemed that many of those people who were on those special lists could no longer be found in my main address book! So I need to rebuild my lists. If you would like to be put on one of those lists, please e-mail me at And if you know of anyone who once talked about getting our newsletter or going on a bird hike with me or making baskets at Jefferson County Park...then would you please consider forwarding this information to them. I would greatly appreciate it. Therese


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

See some articles from our newsletter, Naturally Speaking.


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