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.

How Iowa Was Made

December 5, 2017 - 11:00 a.m.-noon. Ancient sea creatures, woolly mammoths, and metros from outer space! Sound like a sci-fi movie? Actually, they all have something to do with the history of Iowa. Lewis Major, Polk County Conservation Naturalist, will discuss why Iowa’s landscape looks the way it does, and what it looked like in the past. We’ll review key geological periods of our state and the forces of nature that were working to shape the land. A power point presentation and real fossils and artifacts will be used to tell the story of how Iowa was made and how we got here. Register for lunch; deadline is December 1. To register for lunch, click here.

Early Nesting Iowa Owls

January 2, 2018 - 11:00 a.m.-noon. The blustery, cold, snowy weather of January certainly doesn't seem like a good time for a bird to be nesting! On the contrary, some resident Iowa owls are among the earliest nesting birds! Come learn about our early nesting owls, some owl characteristics, owl visitors to Iowa, and meet a non-releasable education screech owl from SOAR - Saving Our Avian Resources. Register for lunch; deadline is December 29. 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
Lessons Learned from Prairie Restoration

February 6, 2018 - 11:00 a.m.-noon. Keith Summerville, professor of Environmental Science & Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Drake University will share lessons learned during his 15 years of prairie restoration research at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt. Restoration ecology is the science that helps us understand how to heal the landscape and return native plants and animals to their historic habitats. Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, a gem in the otherwise rapidly urbanizing Polk County, has been an incubator for developing techniques for restoration ecology for at least 25 years. Keith will use four studies of the animals and plants of Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt to explain why the science of restoration ecology has so much promise for conserving the biodiversity of Iowa’s prairies and wetlands. Register for lunch; deadline is February 2. To register for lunch, click here.

Bird Migration

March 6, 2018 - 11:00a.m.-noon. From warblers to terns to eagles, birds are some of the world’s greatest travelers. Migration, or the seasonal movement of an animal from one region to another and back, is an amazing life history event critical to the lives of many avian species. In Iowa, we witness the migration of many species as they move between breeding grounds as far north as the Arctic and wintering grounds as far south as southern South America. Rachel Vanausdall will explore the motivation behind migration, how birds migrate, and how scientists study bird migration. The talk will include a synopsis of her work with fall migrant Least Sandpipers at Saylorville Lake. Register for lunch; deadline is March 2. To register for lunch, click here.

Get to know your Des Moines Art Center

April 3, 2018 - 11:00 a.m.-noon. Jill Featherstone, Director of Education, will deliver an illustrated presentation about the free cultural treasure in your community—the Des Moines Art Center. The presentation will include a brief history of the Art Center, an architectural overview, highlights from the collection—including the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and the many ways in which we fulfill our educational mission by an unwavering commitment to serving the greater good. Register for lunch; deadline is March 30. 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.

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