2017 List of Topics

One touch of nature... - Posted December 2017

Explore winter with the same enthusiasm as you do spring, summer, and fall! There is much to learn and fun to be had.

What is a 'sense of place?' - Posted November 2017

A “sense of place” refers to a child’s (or any person’s) connection with their community and natural environment. A sense of place is developed in the classroom with a place-based education approach that fosters those connections. Place-based education immerses children in their local community, landscapes, heritage, and experiences. It is using the local natural and human world to learn science, social studies, math, art, music, and language. Families can also be the catalyst for connecting family members to local places.

Barn Owl Connections and Recovery - Posted October 2017

As with many species that are endangered, barn owl recovery and research is ongoing. It is not a hurried and human scheduled clock. The barn owl was listed as an Iowa endangered species in 1977. 2017 has brought good news to Iowa barn owl populations with over 25 nests being reported. It is still unknown how many barn owls reside and nest in Iowa. You can help the Iowa DNR by reporting any sightings of this rare animal to the Wildlife Diversity Program at (515) 432-2823.

Lessons from a Water Lily - Posted September 2017

It has been an exciting two years to watch the aquatic life and fishery thrive at the Marion County Park Lake. Each month, there is something new and exciting that ‘just appears.’ During June 2017, staff were surprised to see water lily leaves appear around the well-used fishing pier. The bloom of the lily was an early morning celebration for the aquatic life that day.

The Peace Tree and Lost Towns - Posted August 2017

The Lake Red Rock area and all of Marion County is rich in diversity and historical attributes. So many people have handed down awe inspiring stories, mapped historical areas, renamed roads and have written down some of the most interesting reflections within their community. Learn about the old sycamore and the towns lost when Lake Red Rock was filled.

When the bough breaks... - Posted July 2017

Many wildlife homes are in trees, whether originally built by them or added on, it can be a costly decision to their survival. An eagle pair, quaintly referred to as the “Gladys Black Eagles” built a nest in an enormous cottonwood tree in a quiet little bay on the south side of Lake Red Rock in or around 2009. The trials and triumphs of this eagle pair, their young, and prevailing through two collapsed nests.

Conservation efforts do not happen in a vacuum - Posted June 2017

Osprey reintroduction is a perfect example of how many entities came together over the last two decades for the good of the effort and benefit of all. Osprey reintroduction efforts started in 1997 at Macbride Nature Recreation Area from efforts led by then Macbride Raptor Project Director, Jodeane Cancilla and her ‘osprey village.’ The state-wide effort was assisted by a very passionate and persuasive Wildlife Diversity Technician, Pat Schlarbaum.

Cavity Nesting Birds - Posted May 2017

Some of our most beloved birds that return to Iowa as their breeding grounds have been experiencing challenges in their habitats. There are numerous species of birds that rely on tree cavities and snags in our woodlands and river corridors. Some species have been assisted by human built housing and others have recovered from disastrous declines. What is the real reason for concern? The beginning of decline for many species begins with the loss of habitat.

Bluebirds - Posted April 2017

In a nutshell, bluebirds are what the name indicates-blue. Henry David Thoreau wrote that, “The bluebird carries the sky on its back.” There are three species of bluebirds found in North America: eastern (Sialia sialis), mountain (S. currucoides), and western (S. Mexicana).When our country was settled from east to west, bluebird populations were no doubt abundant, and probably as common as the American robin. In fact, numbers flourished as virgin forests were cleared which provided even better habitat for the bluebird. So what changed? The first of cavity-nesting bird update.

Diversity is Key to River Corridor Communities - Posted March 2017

Healthy soils, waters, habitats, and a healthy community have been the topic of discussion in states and communities for years. Some discussions are negative, others positive, and there are some that simply do not want to understand. Marion County is truly fortunate to be rich in land and water resources. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t work to be done and knowledge to gather.

Eagles of our time - Posted February 2017

Congress chose the majestic bald eagle as our national symbol in 1782. In 1978 because of the Endangered Species Act, the bald eagle was listed as an endangered species in 43 states and as a threatened species in five others. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources eagle monitoring statistics, Iowa has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of nesting bald eagles over the past 20 years.

Despite the apparent good health of bald eagle populations, challenges to their conservation still exist.

Natural Real Estate: A bird's humble abode - Posted January 2017

Natural real estate is considered priceless. The competition of some of our highly respected predators, nesting habitats, and behavior seem to make or break a successful nesting season for many birds.