Come to compete...or just to eat! Whether you’re a newcomer or have been Dutch oven cooking for most of your life, we hope you’ll join us for our upcoming Dutch Oven Cook-Off on Saturday, June 4th 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.
Competing: Once again we are having both novice and “well seasoned” divisions. Novices (those individuals or teams with limited experience) will be judged separately and will compete for 1st and 2nd place prize money ($75 and $50 respectively) in two categories: side dish (rice, potato, pasta or vegetable) and dessert. “Well-seasoned” cooks will compete for 1st through 3rd place ($100, $75 and $50) in three categories: dessert, main dish and a new category this year, appetizer.
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. Proceeds from the taste testing will benefit the Cedar Creek Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.
Lake Sugema Wildlife Management Area, Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, Shimek State Forest Keosauqua Unit, and a portion of the Fox River watershed were dedicated last October as Iowa’s newest Bird Conservation Area. This unique area is one of southeastern Iowa’s most species-rich grassland/savanna/forest habitats. To celebrate the area naturalist Therese Cummiskey and writer/birder Diane Porter will lead three programs in May for bird lovers.
Birds of Lacey Keosauqua. Friday, May 6th, 7:00 p.m.
Diane Porter of birdwatching.com and Therese Cummiskey of Jefferson County Conservation will introduce participants to the variety of bird species found in Lacey Keosauqua State Park (many of which they’ll be able to see if they attend the birding hike the next day). This program will include a slide show presentation plus an up close and hands on look at the beaks, feet and wings of birds. Meets at the Beachhouse Lodge in Lacey Keosauqua State Park. The Friends of Lacey will serve refreshments.
Early Morning Bird Hike at Lacey Keosauqua. Saturday, May 7th, 7:30 a.m.
The first two weeks in May are peak migration times in Iowa for warblers and many other birds. Meet at Ely Ford in Lacey Keosauqua State Park at 7:30 a.m. It may be early but it will be well worth it once you see even one warbler in its spring plumage. If the group is large, it will be split into smaller groups and sent off in different directions. Don’t forget your binoculars!
Mother’s Day Wildflower Hike. Sunday, May 8: 1:00 p.m.
The early spring flowers are some of the most beautiful of the woodland. This casual hike along the trails at Jefferson County Park will introduce participants to a variety of wildflower species. Begins at the nature center. No fee.
Birding the Grasslands. Friday, May 13th, 7:30 a.m.
Jeff Glaw, wildlife management biologist, will lead us through the Lake Seguma Wildlife Management Area, which provides important nesting habitat for declining grassland birds such as northern bobwhites, bobolinks, northern harrier and the state threatened Henslow’s sparrow (photo above). Meet in the north boat ramp parking lot of Lake Sugema which you reach by driving through Lacey Keosauqua State Park.
Wild Edibles Hike. Sunday, May 15th, 1:00 p.m.
Forage in the forest along the trails at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park! Join Naturalist, Kathy Dice (above right) for a leisurely hike as she points out wild edibles, how to identify them, prepare them and explain a few with medicinal values. Participants should meet at the Beach at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park. This is an official Des Moines River Water Trails event cosponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Jefferson County Conservation. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, please call (641)-472-4421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full Moon Float. Saturday, May 21st, 9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Paddle under the light of the Full Moon! Participants will head out on the water to hear the stories of the night sky come alive. Naturalist Brittney Tiller will be interpreting the various constellations and objects of the night sky from the calm waters of the lake. Participants should meet at the Boat Ramp at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park. This is an official Des Moines River Water Trails event cosponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Jefferson County Conservation. Pre-registration is required and participation is limited. If you do not have your own canoe or kayak, some are available for loan. The trip is open to all but children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants may register by calling (641)-472-4421 or emailing email@example.com.
Forgotten Towns of the River. Friday, May 27th, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Paddle into the past as we hear the stories of former towns come to life through the voice of local historian Mike Miller. We'll put in at the Keosauqua boat ramp and take out in Bentonsport. This is an official Des Moines River Water Trails event cosponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Jefferson County Conservation. Pre-registration is required and participation is limited. If you do not have your own canoe or kayak, some are available for loan. The trip is open to all but children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants may register by calling (641)-472-4421 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Night Tracking. Saturday, May 28: 9:00 p.m.
Have you ever wondered what animals roam the park while we are sleeping? By using glow-in-the-dark powder and black lights, we will be following the tracks left behind by these animals. All ages welcome but youth must be accompanied by an adult. Come prepared for a short hike. No fee. Meet naturalist Brittney Tiller at the nature center.
Need more info? Call Therese at 472-4421, or e-mail to email@example.com
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.