Polk County Conservation

Senior Programs and Trips

OWLS having lunch at the Lodge
Click here for a Desk Aid on how to register for a public program or event.
OWLS - Older, Wiser, Livelier, Seniors

Looking for an excuse to get out of the house, make some new friends, enjoy a good meal and learn about the exciting world of nature? Then join us!

These programs are held the first Tuesday of each month. The nature program will start at 11:00 a.m. at the Jester Park Lodge. An optional luncheon follows the program at noon in which pre-registration is required. Registration deadline for lunch is the Friday before the program. The cost of the catered lunch is $10.00.

Iowa Phenology

March 7, 2017 - 11:00 a.m.-noon. Simply put, phenology is an awareness of the natural rhythms of life. Most people already have some awareness of those rhythms: flowering plants, migrating birds, seasonal changes. Starting with this knowledge, it’s possible to go further in understanding what is going on around us and how those happenings fit into cycles. What signals do migrating insects follow? When will mushrooms pop up from the woodland soil? How far do small birds like hummingbirds and warblers migrate to breed or overwinter? Why do all those boxelder bugs and Asian lady beetles seem to wait until frost to mob the windows of the house and sneak inside? This program may not answer every question, but it will help you become a detective and observer who can puzzle out some of the answers. Register for lunch only; deadline is March 4. To register for lunch, click here.

South Georgia Island

April 4, 2017 - 11:00 a.m.-noon. In the Southern Atlantic Ocean, nestled half-way between the tips of South America and Africa, is a 100 mile long island archipelago featuring unrivaled alpine beauty. It’s also a wildlife paradise, with beaches crowded with battling bull Elephant and Fur Seals, vying for space with several species of penguins, often numbering in the hundreds of thousands! This British protectorate, once a headquarters for the South Atlantic whaling fleet, is now  managed as a pristine environment, serving as home to more than 100 million birds, including several species of Albatross and  myriad other bird species.  We will see and learn about the many animals inhabiting this magical place, as we ply the scenic bays, aboard the Ortelius, an expedition ship, built to navigate some of the roughest seas in the world. Come join us for an educational and stunningly beautiful presentation. Register for lunch only; deadline is April 1. To register for lunch, click here.

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair

May 2, 2017 - 11:00 a.m.-noon. Our State Fair – Iowa’s Blue Ribbon Story is the book that chronicles 150 years of Iowans who have collectively made up our unique August experience. You’ll discover a bit of yourself in their stories – from watching two locomotives collide in front of a packed Grandstand to riding the Roller Coaster or sneaking a smooch with your sweetheart while gliding through Ye Old Mill, from parading your Charolais around the ring to watching judges test your piecrust, from camping in Tent City to eating your noon meal beside your car. Author Mary Kay Shanley shares best-of-the-best tales, which are accompanied by a few of the book’s 500 brilliant photographs. There’ll be time for sharing because everybody has a great State Fair story to tell. Program sponsored by Humanities of Iowa. Register for lunch only; deadline is April 28. To register for lunch, click here.

The Art of Conservation: A Visit with Ding Darling

June 6, 2017 - 11:00 a.m.-noon. Tom Milligan, as Jay N. “Ding” Darling, visits with the audience as an old friend, in his 11th office at The Des Moines Register. Beginning with his early years in Sioux City where as a young boy where he became aware of the natural world around him as well as his developing skills as an editorial cartoonist, he recalls his remarkable life journey. His story continues to include 2 Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoons for The Register and a remarkable career as a nationally known conservationist. From the introduction of The Duck Stamp to the creation of the National Wildlife Federation, Darling’s influence was felt not only through his cartoons but his actions as well. Considered by many to be one of the most important members of the modern conservation movement in the first half of the 20th century, the impact of his work is still felt today. Program sponsored by Humanities of Iowa. To register for lunch, click here.

Tom Milligan, as Jay N. “Ding” Darling visits with the audience, as an old friend, in his 11th office at The Des Moines Register. Beginning with his early years in Sioux City where as a young boy where he became aware of the natural world around him as well as his developing skills as an editorial cartoonist, he recalls his remarkable life journey. His story continues to include 2 Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoons for The Register and a remarkable career as a nationally known conservationist. From the introduction of The Duck Stamp to the creation of the National Wildlife Federation, Darling’s influence was felt not only through his cartoons but his actions as well. Considered by many to be one of the most important members of the modern conservation movement in the first half of the 20th century, the impact of his work is still felt today. Program sponsored by Humanities of Iowa. - See more at: http://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Polk/Park/Jester-Lewis-A-Park/Events/9367/O-W-L-S-Older-Wiser-Livelier-Seniors-The-Art-of.aspx#sthash.m4Ndjxze.dpuf
Our State Fair – Iowa’s Blue Ribbon Story is the book that chronicles 150 years of Iowans who have collectively made up our unique August experience. You’ll discover a bit of yourself in their stories – from watching two locomotives collide in front of a packed Grandstand to riding the Roller Coaster or sneaking a smooch with your sweetheart while gliding through Ye Old Mill, from parading your Charolais around the ring to watching judges test your piecrust, from camping in Tent City to eating your noon meal beside your car. Author Mary Kay Shanley shares best-of-the-best tales, which are accompanied by a few of the book’s 500 brilliant photographs. There’ll be time for sharing because everybody has a great State Fair story to tell. Program sponsored by Humanities of Iowa. - See more at: http://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Polk/Park/Jester-Lewis-A-Park/Events/9366/O-W-L-S-Older-Wiser-Livelier-Seniors-Our-State.aspx#sthash.pEoLWYWQ.dpuf
Our State Fair – Iowa’s Blue Ribbon Story is the book that chronicles 150 years of Iowans who have collectively made up our unique August experience. You’ll discover a bit of yourself in their stories – from watching two locomotives collide in front of a packed Grandstand to riding the Roller Coaster or sneaking a smooch with your sweetheart while gliding through Ye Old Mill, from parading your Charolais around the ring to watching judges test your piecrust, from camping in Tent City to eating your noon meal beside your car. Author Mary Kay Shanley shares best-of-the-best tales, which are accompanied by a few of the book’s 500 brilliant photographs. There’ll be time for sharing because everybody has a great State Fair story to tell. Program sponsored by Humanities of Iowa. - See more at: http://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Polk/Park/Jester-Lewis-A-Park/Events/9366/O-W-L-S-Older-Wiser-Livelier-Seniors-Our-State.aspx#sthash.pEoLWYWQ.dpuf
People and Pollinators

July 11, 2017 - 11:00 a.m.-noon. Pollinators play a key role in providing the food we eat — one in every three bites, to be exact. Just as they contribute to the production of berries, coffee, chocolate and more, we can support pollinators by growing native plants and maintaining Iowa’s nutrient-rich soil. Join staff from Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge as we get up close with plant plugs, seeds and native plants, and learn how you can give back to the pollinators that support Iowa’s ecosystems (and your favorite foods). To register for lunch, click here.

Our State Fair – Iowa’s Blue Ribbon Story is the book that chronicles 150 years of Iowans who have collectively made up our unique August experience. You’ll discover a bit of yourself in their stories – from watching two locomotives collide in front of a packed Grandstand to riding the Roller Coaster or sneaking a smooch with your sweetheart while gliding through Ye Old Mill, from parading your Charolais around the ring to watching judges test your piecrust, from camping in Tent City to eating your noon meal beside your car. Author Mary Kay Shanley shares best-of-the-best tales, which are accompanied by a few of the book’s 500 brilliant photographs. There’ll be time for sharing because everybody has a great State Fair story to tell. Program sponsored by Humanities of Iowa. - See more at: http://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Polk/Park/Jester-Lewis-A-Park/Events/9366/O-W-L-S-Older-Wiser-Livelier-Seniors-Our-State.aspx#sthash.pEoLWYWQ.dpuf
Our State Fair – Iowa’s Blue Ribbon Story is the book that chronicles 150 years of Iowans who have collectively made up our unique August experience. You’ll discover a bit of yourself in their stories – from watching two locomotives collide in front of a packed Grandstand to riding the Roller Coaster or sneaking a smooch with your sweetheart while gliding through Ye Old Mill, from parading your Charolais around the ring to watching judges test your piecrust, from camping in Tent City to eating your noon meal beside your car. Author Mary Kay Shanley shares best-of-the-best tales, which are accompanied by a few of the book’s 500 brilliant photographs. There’ll be time for sharing because everybody has a great State Fair story to tell. Program sponsored by Humanities of Iowa. - See more at: http://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Polk/Park/Jester-Lewis-A-Park/Events/9366/O-W-L-S-Older-Wiser-Livelier-Seniors-Our-State.aspx#sthash.pEoLWYWQ.dpuf
Learning how to carefully spot and identify nests is a challenge welcomed by a growing number of experienced and beginning birders alike. From huge platform nests located high in trees to neatly woven cup nests hidden in the grass, the amazing diversity of nests nearly matches the diversity of the birds themselves. Join Iowa DNR biologist Bruce Ehresman as he discusses nest sites, nest types, and nest materials of birds in Iowa and beyond. Bruce will show how this information can help a keen observer determine the type of bird that made a particular nest - and how important those nesting aspects are to a bird's life cycle. In addition to photos, he will bring in various examples of nests for first-hand views. Bruce participated in both of Iowa’s Breeding Bird Atlases, during which time he spent several thousand hours locating nests across the state. He is excited to share what he has learned with others who appreciate wildlife. - See more at: http://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Polk/Park/Jester-Lewis-A-Park/Events/6785/OWLS-Bird-Nests-a-Tour-of-Avian-Architecture-a.aspx#sthash.PvLo6Y6Q.dpuf
Learning how to carefully spot and identify nests is a challenge welcomed by a growing number of experienced and beginning birders alike. From huge platform nests located high in trees to neatly woven cup nests hidden in the grass, the amazing diversity of nests nearly matches the diversity of the birds themselves. Join Iowa DNR biologist Bruce Ehresman as he discusses nest sites, nest types, and nest materials of birds in Iowa and beyond. Bruce will show how this information can help a keen observer determine the type of bird that made a particular nest - and how important those nesting aspects are to a bird's life cycle. In addition to photos, he will bring in various examples of nests for first-hand views. Bruce participated in both of Iowa’s Breeding Bird Atlases, during which time he spent several thousand hours locating nests across the state. He is excited to share what he has learned with others who appreciate wildlife. - See more at: http://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Polk/Park/Jester-Lewis-A-Park/Events/6785/OWLS-Bird-Nests-a-Tour-of-Avian-Architecture-a.aspx#sthash.PvLo6Y6Q.dpuf

Senior Eco Bus Tours in 2017 (flyer)

Contact Us

Administration Office
11407 NW Jester Park Drive
Granger, IA 50109

P: (515) 323-5300
F: (515) 323-5354
pccb_info@polkcountyiowa.gov

Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

More Contacts