Funded by REAP

Resource Enhancement and Protection
What's New!
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Our Quarterly Newsletter now On-line

Naturally Speaking is now available in PDF. Click here for Winter 2014 Edition

Also our 2013 Dutch Oven Cook Off Newsletter is also available. Click here. - may take a while to load. (A PDF file requires Adobe Reader - click on the logo to download it). Download Adobe Reader

Upcoming Programs

If registration is required for a program please e-mail or call 641-472-4421.


Sunday in the Park with Toad. Sunday, April 27th: 1:00 to —3:00 p.m.

Join Naturalist Therese (Toad) Cummiskey for a spring hike. The hike will include everything from what flowers are blooming to what frogs are singing. Come dressed to be on possibly wet and/or muddy trails and to walk up to a mile. Meets at the nature center in Jefferson County Park. Registration not required.


Birding Whitham Woods. Saturday, May 3rd: 7:30 a.m.

Join Naturalist Therese Cummiskey for a bird hike at Whitham Woods, located just west of Fairfield on Burlington (Business 34). We should see a nice nice variety of birds including warblers. Bring along your binoculars (we'll have a few extra pair for those who don't have their own). Meet in the parking lot. No registration is required.


Young Birders: Birding Whitham Woods. Saturday, May 3rd: 9:30 a.m.

For young birders age 8 to 18. Join Naturalist Therese Cummiskey for a bird hike at Whitham Woods, located just west of Fairfield on old highway 34. We'll spend about an hour or so exploring Whitham Woods to see what migrants are returning and what others are just moving through. Registration required. Youth ages 11 or younger must be accompanied by a parent. Meet at the Whitham Woods parking lot.


Spring Birding at Lacey Keosauqua. Saturday, May 10th: 7:00 a.m.

Join's Diane Porter and naturalist Therese Cummiskey for a bird hike at Lacey Keosauqua State Park. Meets at Ely Ford. Yes, you'll have to get up early, but "the early bird gets the warbler". This is peak migration time for warblers so it will be well worth it. And there will be other birds there as well, such as scarlett tanagers (photo at left) and orioles, that won't require you to get a kink in the neck! Registration not required.

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



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 7th Annual Dutch Oven Cook-Off on Saturday, June 21st at Jefferson County Park located just southwest of Fairfield, Iowa off Libertyville Road. 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.

Like last year we will be having both novice and “well seasoned” divisions. To register for the event contact or call 641-472-4421. For the Dutch Oven Cook Off rules and competitor information Click here.


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 50 dishes including Streusel Topped Caramel Apple Cheesecake, Peach-Keen Cobbler, Bacon Herb Wrapped Pork Loin, and Pineapple Cheese Twist.


From the Director's Dennis Lewiston


Projects Completed. The new swinging bridge at Jefferson County Park is complete. Shawn Morrissey and Bob Leazer worked on the bridge for this past year. The bridge was dedicated in memory of Ebb Camelin (who constructed the first bridge in 1983) and park user Ali Moradi.

The pond renovation at Whitham Woods is finished. The project, which involved the enlarging and deepening of the 60 year old pond, was funded by a fish habitat grant. We were hoping to get some good fall rains so the pond could be partially stocked before winter...but now we'll have to wait to see what Spring will bring.



Nature Talk... by Therese Cummiskey

Why do I like being a naturalist?

....see photo at left!

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