Homegrown: September 2012 Calendar

Luke Urich, age 7 or Shueyville, opens the wings of a monarch butterfly after tagging it with a sticker at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville on Saturday, August 28, 2010. The monarchs will migrate to Mexico for the winter. Urich has been tagging monarchs for three years. (Cliff Jette/Sourcemedia Group News)
Luke Urich, age 7 or Shueyville, opens the wings of a monarch butterfly after tagging it with a sticker at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville on Saturday, August 28, 2010. The monarchs will migrate to Mexico for the winter. Urich has been tagging monarchs for three years. (Cliff Jette/Sourcemedia Group News)

Following are gardening and eco-events happening in Eastern Iowa during September 2012:

Sat., Sept. 1, noon to 4 p.m., Tomato Tasting and Seed Saving Workshop, Seed Savers Exchange, Decorah. This non-profit organization, dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds, is hosting a free Tomato Tasting and Seed Saving Workshop on Saturday, September 1, 2012. The Tomato Tasting will run from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, offering visitors the opportunity to sample a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes and learn how to save tomato seeds. The event will be held at the Lillian Goldman Visitors Center. More than 40 varieties of tomatoes of all colors and sizes will be available, including yellow cherry tomatoes, pink beefsteaks, striped stuffing tomatoes, red grape tomatoes and green roma’s. This year’s tasting will include 10 rare varieties from Seed Savers Exchange’s seed bank collection. Last year, Dester, a beefsteak tomato from the rare varieties was voted most popular. The Oneota Food Co-op in Decorah is sponsoring this year’s Salsa Contest. Limited to 25 entrants, applications are available at the Co-op, by calling 563-382-4666, and online at The registration deadline is Monday, August 27. The co-op will also be providing food for purchase during the event.  There will be tomato seed saving workshops beginning at 12:00 noon featuring Seed Savers Exchange staff as well as tomato advisor and expert Craig LeHoullier.  LeHoullier will give two talks, Tasting the Biodiversity of Tomatoes and Tomatoes with Great Stories and Great Flavors. Visitors will be able to tour Seed Savers Exchange’s tomato gardens. Guided hayride tours begin at 12:00 noon and are scheduled for every 45 minutes.  “This family event gives people the opportunity to experience the wide diversity of tomatoes available, and learn how to improve their own gardening experience,” says Diane Ott Whealy, the co-founder of Seed Savers Exchange. The event will include music with special activities planned for kids. All events are free to the public. For information visit

Sun., Sept. 2, 4-8 p.m., Join Grinnell Heritage Farm for their annual heirloom tomato tasting! In addition to the heirloom tomatoes there will be great food, activities for kids, and to top it off the Goosetown String Band from Iowa City will be playing! Everyone is welcome. This is a great way to connect with where your food comes from and enjoy an evening with fellow locavores.

4:00 pm - Farm Tour

5:00 pm - Heirloom Tomato Tasting Begins

6:00 pm - Locavore Potluck

What to bring: You + Friends + Neighbors + Co-workers. Local Foods Dish To Share. Dinnerware (plate, silverware, cup, etc.)

Mon., Sept. 3, Prairie Programs at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. 110 Parkside Drive, West Branch. Explore Iowa's prairie heritage on Labor Day. Ranger-guided walks of the 81-acre tallgrass prairie will start at 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Meet at the Tallgrass Prairie Observation Deck by the Gravesite parking lot. A park ranger will discuss how and why the National Park Service is reconstructing this endangered habitat as part of the landscape commemorating Herbert Hoover's life. The walk is less than a mile and lasts 60 to 90 minutes. Bring water, dress for the weather, and wear comfortable walking shoes. Hats, sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses, and insect repellent are also recommended. Parking is limited so please allow extra time to find a parking space. At 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Sarah Utoff will perform “Laura Ingalls Wilder Remembered” at the Presidential Library and Museum. The performance and the prairie walks are free. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are in West Branch, Iowa at exit 254 off I-80. Both are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. Parking is limited so please allow extra time to find a parking space. For more information go online at or call (319) 643-2541.


Wed. Sept. 5, 1:30–4 p.m. Lift Your Spirits with Flowers: Floral Arranging 101 at Prairiewoods. A floral arrangement can brighten almost anyone’s day.  In this course at Prairiewoods (120 East Boyson Road in Hiawatha), you will learn to take whatever plant material is available to you and create an arrangement for your home or for a gift.  Prairiewoods’ own Rita Heires, FSPA, has been creating exquisite arrangements for years.  Her work has graced the tables of the Prairiewoods Center, beautified special events, cheered up friends and adorned the bedsides of many she has tended with care.  Sister Rita will lead this two-and-a-half-hour course using plant material found on the Prairiewoods’ grounds.  You will learn how to create pizzazz with a variety of materials and different techniques, leaving with an arrangement sure to bring a smile to the faces of all who behold it.  The cost is $5 and includes plants and supplies.  Please bring your own vase, dish or empty 15-ounce can.  Registration is required by Friday, August 31.  For more information or to register, contact Prairiewoods at 319-395-6700 or


Wed., Sept. 5, 5:30-8 p.m., Culinary Walk; downtown Iowa City. Field to Family Benefit Event. Graze through downtown Iowa City’s favorite local food spots. Sample tasty treats created by Atlas, Devotay, Motley Cow, New Pi Co-op, Share Wine Lounge, and 126. Tickets sold ONLINE, New Pioneer Co-op stores, and Hy-Vee First Ave. location. $25/person, $15 with current student ID, $30 day of event.


Thurs. Sept. 6, 6–8 p.m., Food Preservation and Canning 101 at Prairiewoods. Preserving the bounty of your garden harvest each fall can help you enjoy the fruits of your labor all year long.  Home food preservation is not difficult, but it does require following specific instructions.  It’s important to keep food safety in mind every step of the way, because ignoring recommended procedures can make you and your family sick!  Because safety recommendations and methods are constantly evolving, you need to stay up to date on best practices and not rely on traditional methods.  This workshop at Prairiewoods (120 East Boyson Road in Hiawatha) is aimed at those wanting to learn how to safely preserve food and those who just need a refresher course.  Participants will receive current food preservation publications, view research-based resources on display, sample fresh salsa and learn specific tips for safe food preservation.  If you use a pressure canner, you can bring your lid and dial gauge to be tested at the workshop.  (Dial gauges should be checked before each season, but weighted gauges do not need to be tested.)  This workshop will be led by Jill Weber, nutrition and health program specialist at Iowa State University Extension.  The cost is $15 and includes information on canning, freezing and drying.  Registration is required by August 31.  For more information or to register, contact Prairiewoods at 319-395-6700 or



Fri., Sept. 7, Dr. Bill Tracy, "Public Plant Breeding and the Role of Land Grant Universities" Harvest Lecture Series; Decorah Seed Savers Exchange, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. The series is designed to connect everyday gardeners and eaters with professionals in the food and seed industries. The Harvest Lecture Series is based on the Science Café model of engaging the general public in a casual setting, an atmosphere where everyone joins in. These lectures and discussions are meant to involve people who may not typically have these conversations. Dr. William Tracy, Ph.D., Professor of Agronomy at UW-Madison, is a sweet corn breeder. To improve eating quality and pest resistance, Bill works with corn varieties from around the world. He creates and releases improved populations, inbreds, and hybrids. Each lecture begins at 7:00 pm and costs $10. Refreshments will be served by Oneota Food Coop in Decorah beginning at 6:30. Founded in 1975, Seed Savers Exchange operates an 890-acre farm in northeast Iowa where thousands of rare fruit, vegetable, and other plant varieties are regenerated and preserved in a central collection. Its mission is conserving and promoting America’s culturally diverse but endangered food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants. For information visit


Sat., Sept. 8, 10 a.m., Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd. SE. REAL Walk: The Milkweed Community-Monarchs & More. Monarch butterflies are not the only invertebrates that live on milkweed. Explore this unique community and learn their amazing stories. Use a net to collect milkweed community residents for a closer look. REAL Walks are geared for adults. M: $4; NM: $5.


Sat., Sept. 8, 1-3 p.m., Practical Farmers of Iowa/ IVRCD Field Day. Kate Edwards, Wild Woods Farm. 2471 Sugar Bottom Rd NE, Solon

Farmer Kate at Wild Woods Farm is in her second year as a beginning farmer. Come and hear how Kate got started farming, and meet other beginning farmers in Eastern Iowa. In addition to farming, Kate is a member of the recently appointed Johnson County Food Policy Council. Council members will be available for questions about the Council and on-going issues in the area’s food and farm scene.


Sun., Sept. 9, 1 p.m., Monarch Tagging, Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd. SE. Celebrate Iowa Prairie Week by  joining us to learn about the monarch butterfly migration and how it depends on native plants! We will catch and tag butterflies in our prairie for Monarch Watch. Learn ways you can help monarchs all summer as well as during this incredible 3000-mile journey. Advance registration recommendedM: $3; NM: $4; Child: $2


Sun., Sept. 9, 1:30-4 p.m., Fall Flower Show at Noelridge Greenhouse. The Good Earth Garden Club will stage the 37th Annual Flower Show in cooperation with Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation at Noelridge Greenhouse, 4900 Council Street NE, on Sunday, September 9. Anyone is welcome to enter this judged competition with ribbons awarded. There are separate categories for adults and children. Exhibits will be accepted from 6:30-11:00 a.m. They range from floral designs and flower photos to onions and zucchini. Call Helen Venneman, (319) 393-8964, for more information on rules and categories. The show is open to the public free of charge from 1:30-4:00 p.m.


Sun., Sept. 9, 2-4 p.m., Edible Urban Landscape Walking Tour.  Downtown Iowa City. New urban plantings bring food, beauty, and educational activities to downtown Iowa City! Backyard Abundance and New Pioneer have created oases of greenery to inspire new uses of public and private lawn space. Each site on this walking/biking tour features different types of edibles ranging from corn to aronia berries and everything in between. The tour can be walked in 1-2 hours. Refreshments, tour guides, and informational handouts will be available at each site. For details, visit Urban landscape sites (more to come): New Pi’s Soilmates’ Children’s Educational Vegetable Garden at IC Public Library: 123 S. Linn St., Recreation Center Children’s Discovery Garden: 220 S. Gilbert St., and Chauncey Swan Park Edible Landscape: 460 E. Washington St. Also New Pioneer Iowa City store Administration Building Edible Landscape: 523 Iowa Ave. and New Pioneer Alley Orchard along Ralston Creek east of Iowa City Co-op store. This tour is helping launch Abundant Safari, Iowa City’s new self-guided adventure through environmentally abundant landscapes. Backyard Abundance created the program and helped design and implement three of the sites on the tour. More information can be found on the website:”


Tues., Sept. 11, 6-8 p.m., Chain Saw Safety and Maintenance, Indian Creek Nature Center. Chain saws are efficient tools for ecological restoration, tree care, and firewood preparation but can be temperamental and must be used safely. Ian Hunt from the Stihl Company will demonstrate the basics of chain saw safety and maintenance to help users keep their saws sharp and running properly and safely. Register by 4:00 PM on Monday, Sept, 10. M: $7; NM: $10



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Wed., Sept. 12, 5:30 p.m., Richardson-Jakway House, Jakway Forest, Aurora. An Old Time Meal at the Historic Richardson-Jakway House. Enjoy a delicious meal of bison roast, fingerling potatoes, zucchini casserole, fresh tomatoes, peppers and green beans, Amish bread with honey and elderberry jam, topped off with apple crisp. Abby Lundy will present a program about the house and the lesson plans she has created for the Richardson-Jakway House. The program will begin at 5:30 p.m., and is sponsored by the Richardson-Jakway Foundation, a non-profit group organized to raise funds for the preservation of the Historic Site.  Cost for the event is $20 per plate. Please preregister by calling 319-636-2617.  Registration is limited to 25 people so sign up today!


Wed., Sept. 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Seed Saving, How and Why with Roxanne Mitten, Earth Source Garden, Iowa City. Learn about the time honored tradition of saving seeds from year to year. It is an opportunity to preserve rare, favored strains, and be more secure in your seed sourcing. Roxane will lead a general discussion of seed saving, and then move to identifying plant parts, how pollination occurs, and how to keep the strains pure. In the “hands-on” part of the class we will examine and work with available plant material. $5/person Register at


Thurs., Sept.13, 6-8 p.m., Making ‘Local’ Last All Winter  with Rachel Morey, New Pioneer Coralville location. Can you picture yourself enjoying local food all winter? Rachel Morey finds satisfaction and fun in processing her garden abundance by canning, drying, fermenting, and root cellaring. Join Rachel as she explains the “math” of how much to grow, how much to process, and what preservation techniques work best for each crop. Rachel will demonstrate water bath canning of tomato sauce (delicious for salsa or spaghetti sauce), fermentation of kim chee, drying fruits and herbs, and discuss the role of root cellaring. $15/person Register at


Thurs. Sept. 13, 6:15 p.m., Linn County Master Gardener Zora Ronan's home, 5031 North Marion Road, Central City. Take a tour through Zora's garden and listen as she teaches about how to extend the growing season and wrap up your garden.  There will be time after the tour for a question and answer session. Please register in advance to or 319-377-9839. The Homegrown Lifestyle Network is a program that provides more opportunities for the Homegrown Lifestyle Program participants, their friends & family, and the general public, to enjoy monthly tours, speakers and other educational opportunities related to the topics that the Homegrown Lifestyle program covers (geared towards people living on a large lot or small acreage who are interested in producing food for their own use in a way that sustains their natural environment).


Thurs.  Sept. 13, 7 p.m., Green and Simple: Simplicity Discussion Series, Indian Creek Nature Center. Join our six-week discussion course that introduces various aspects of simple living. Begin with this free, no-obligation preview discussion of simplicity principles. Following this session, group discussions will occur on successive Thursday evenings beginning Sept. 27. A discussion course book is required and is included in the fee. Call or go to the Center’s website for session descriptions. Registration required by 4 PM on Friday, Sept. 7. Fee: $50; $60/couple if sharing a book.


Thurs., Sept. 13, 7 p.m. at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville; An American Icon:  A Wilderness Icon: America’s Red Rock Wilderness. Conservation organizer with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Clayton Daughenbaugh, will share a program about the efforts to designate public lands in Utah.  SUWA has been the only independent organization working full-time to defend America’s redrock wilderness from oil and gas development, unnecessary road construction, rampant off-road vehicle use, and other threats to Utah’s wilderness-quality lands. America’s red rock canyonlands wilderness draws pilgrims from across the country and around the world.  It is the largest network of undesignated wilderness lands remaining in the lower 48 states – at its heart lays the Greater Canyonlands region surrounding Canyonlands National Park. The program includes “Wild Utah”, a multi-media slideshow documenting citizen efforts to designate public lands in southern Utah's spectacular canyon country as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This 15-minute journey through red rock splendor, narrated by Robert Redford, invigorates and motivates viewers to participate in the movement to protect these unique lands.  It was made possible through the generous donation of photos, music and words from concerned Utahans who wish to pass this heritage on to future generations.   Advanced Registration: Not required/show up. Cost: $2.50/adult, $1/child (16 and under) or $5/family.


Sat., Sept.15, 9 a.m., to noon; Iowa City Community School District School Garden Produce Booth at the Farmers Market, Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp. This summer at least 15 ICCSD schools are growing food in school gardens. To celebrate the hard work of our school gardeners, Farm to School will host an ICCSD School Garden Produce booth at the Iowa City Farmers Market on Kids Day, Sept. 15th. Students will help harvest the produce, make posters, and run the booth. A photo tour of ICCSD school gardens will be on display. Proceeds from the sale will benefit ICCSD Farm to School.


Sun., Sept. 16, 8 a.m., 2nd Annual Culinary Ride - A bicycle tour of local farms and food; Field to Family Benefit Event. Savor food prepared with fresh produce by local chefs, and enjoy handcrafted beverages while roaming farms and enjoying the company of friends. This years route will head west of North Liberty to explore restored prairie, berries, veggies, and more. Experience the ride at their own pace: 60-mile Beet-it-Up, an adventurous gravel route OR 20-mile Cherry Tomato Route, all paved. A $45 suggested donation ensures you'll be well fed and you'll also receive a reusable surprise to take along on the ride. Proceeds of the bicycle ride benefit the Youth Off Road Riders and ICCSD Farm to School. More information and tickets HERE. Proceeds of the bicycle ride benefit the Youth Off Road Riders and Farm to School. This event gives riders a dynamic experience of what it means to contribute to the health of the Eastern Iowa local food community. Savor food prepared with fresh produce by local chefs, and enjoy handcrafted beverages while roaming farms and enjoying the company of friends. We’re riding to ensure that kid’s growth and development includes a nutritious helping of physical activity, fresh food, and a connection to the natural world. The Culinary Ride promotes awareness of local farms and businesses that support the health of our community, land, and local economies. .



Sun. Sept. 16, 1-4 p.m., 14th Annual Honey Fest; Indian Creek Nature Center. Spend a fun afternoon with the family learning about the important role bees play in your life and the challenges they face. Meet beekeepers and “talk shop.” Other activities include crafts and old-fashioned games, live music by Iowa Vanguard Jazz Collective, and a dutch oven baking demonstration (sample fresh cornbread with honey!) Honey-made goodies and refreshing honey lemonade available for sale. Admission: $3/person; children 3 & under/free.

Sun., Sept.16, 1:30 - 3 pm, Seed Saving workshop; Linn County Master Gardeners in the Greenhouse at

Lowe Park, 4500 North 10th St., Marion. Saving your seeds to use for next year’s planting. Free.

Sun., Sept.16, 3-4 p.m., Tomato Tasting, Linn County Master Gardeners in the Greenhouse at Lowe Park, 4500 North 10th Street, Marion. Sample 26 different varieties. Free.

Tues., Sept. 18, 6 p.m., Hands on History: An Interactive Family Tour at Brucemore. Bring the whole family to tour the Brucemore gardens, grounds, and Mansion. Participants will learn about the daily lives of children and families in Victorian America while touring the estate, practicing etiquette of the era, and creating a craft project. Tickets for Brucemore members are $10 per adult and $5 per child or $12 for non-member adults and $7 per child.  Space is limited; purchase tickets by visiting or calling (319) 362-7375. Family programming at Brucemore is sponsored by US Bank. Experience Brucemore, an unparalleled blend of tradition and culture, located at 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At the heart of the historic 26-acre estate stands a nineteenth-century mansion filled with the stories of three Cedar Rapids families.  Concerts, theater, programs, and tours enliven the site and celebrate the heritage of a community.  For more information, call (319) 362-7375 or visit

Tues., Sept. 18, 7 p.m, Green and Simple: Backyard Chicken Basics, Indian Creek Nature Center. Interested in keeping backyard chickens? This workshop details the basic information needed to legally and successfully keep hens in urban and suburban environments. Participants will receive a completion certificate that meets the City of Cedar Rapids’ requirements for getting the necessary permit. Register by 4:00 PM on Friday, Sept. 14. M: $7, NM: $10

Wed.,September 19, 6:30–8 p.m., Introduction to Medicinal Herbs at Prairiewoods. Herbs have been used for wellness and healing since ancient times.  Learn about this ancient and holistic tradition during this class at Prairiewoods (120 East Boyson Road in Hiawatha), led by Nan Fawcett, LMT.  Nan believes there is a deep spiritual value in understanding the plant kingdom and our relationship with it.  At her family farm in West Branch, named Wapsi-No-Noc, she grows medicinal and culinary herbs.  In her garden tending and in her bodywork practice, she focuses on health and wellness.  Nan will talk about the amazing variety and properties of plants and their important place in our world.  She will have various medicinal herbs on hand and discuss how people can use them.  She also will display samples and describe different methods of extracting the medicinal properties of plants for making tinctures, teas, decoctions and salves.  The Green Living Group, which meets the third Wednesday of each month, will join this program for its September meeting.  There is a suggested free-will offering of $5.  For more information, contact Prairiewoods at 319-395-6700 or


Fri., Sept. 21, 7 p.m., Turn Here Sweet Corn, An appearance by author Atina Diffley; Prairie Lights 15 S Dubuque Street, Iowa City. Atina Diffley will read from her new book, Turn Here Sweet Corn. In telling her story of working the land, coaxing good food from the fertile soil, Atina Diffley reminds us of an ultimate truth: we live in relationships—with the earth, plants and animals, families and communities. A memoir of making these essential relationships work in the face of challenges as natural as weather and as unnatural as corporate politics, her book is a firsthand history of getting in at the “ground level” of organic farming.



Sat.,  Sept. 22, 9 a.m. to noon; Author at the Market, Atina Diffley Turn Here Sweet Corn. Iowa City Farmers Market, Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp. Visit with Atina Diffley and get a signed copy of her new book, Turn Here Sweet Corn.


Sat., Sept.22, 9 a.m. to noon at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville, Fall Bird Banding. The bird banders never know which unusual birds they will catch while working the nets.  Local bird bander Rob Bradley will again be banding birds caught at Wickiup Hill. Visitors may be surprised with special views of summer birds including many types of woodpeckers, tropical migrants and finches.  Advanced Registration: Not required/show up. Cost: $2.50/adult, $1/child (16 and under) or $5/family.


Sat., Sept. 22, 5-7 p.m., Autumn Equinox: Paw Paws, Pumpkins, and Storytelling; Earth Source Garden in Iowa City. Day and night are equal lengths on the Equinox, Sept. 22. Meet and sample the exotic local fruit the paw paw with Patrick O’Malley of Iowa State University Extension. We’ll celebrate with live music, a pumpkin harvest, and refreshments from the garden! We look forward to a campfire with story-telling and songs by Chris Vinsonhaler. FREE


Sat., Sept. 22, 6 p.m. at Wickiup Hill; Journey to Freedom Outdoor Hike. Imagine you are a Freedom Seeker--a runaway slave traveling Iowa's Underground Railroad in 1853. On this journey, you'll encounter slave catchers, farmers, and bounty hunters while trying to navigate your way to Canada. Who can you trust? Will your group make it to freedom? Or will you be captured and sent back into slavery? Let the African American Museum of Iowa and Wickiup Hill take you back in time to experience the journey's perils and triumphs in this interactive living-history event.  Hikes will last approximately 90 minutes. Please wear comfortable shoes, all-weather clothes, and be prepared to hike approximately 2 miles on uneven terrain.  Advance registration: Pre-registration is required and space is limited.  Register by contacting or 319-862-2101 ext. 22. Cost: Free.


Sun., Sept. 23, 5:30 p.m, Field to Family's Harvest Dinner, Field to Family Benefit Event. Hotel Vetro, Iowa City. Enjoy the best local foods meal all year, homemade by local chefs at the Field to Family Harvest Dinner. Join us in welcoming Atina Diffley as our guest with her new book, Turn Here Sweet Corn. Andrew Dunham of Grinnell Heritage Farm will open our conversation on working the land organically. Participating chefs include Thorin Peugh of Share, Katy Meyer of Trumpet Blossom, Seth Hershey of Vesta, Bryan Herzic of Orchard Green, and Derek Perez of El Banditos.

Tickets $50. Tickets sold HERE, New Pioneer Co-op and Hy-Vee Iowa City and Coralville locations.


Wed., Sept. 26, 2-4 p.m., Creek Study and You at Bever Park in Cedar Rapids. Get your hands and feet wet as we dip into a creek study.  Explore what’s in the mud…learn about plant and critter life…discover techniques of casting a fishing pole, and more!  This program is sponsored by Linn County Conservation and Cedar Rapids Park and Recreation.  This is an early-out day for Cedar Rapids Schools, a perfect opportunity to treat your student to a hands-on, fun, exploration program to keep them learning after school!  Advanced Registration: Available at the Ambroz Recreation Center in Cedar Rapids, or by calling 286-5731.  Registration is limited. Cost: $10 for Cedar Rapids residents and $14 for non-residents.  Special Notes: Students should dress in clothing and shoes that can get muddy and should bring a bottle of drinking water.


Sat., Sept. 29, 1 p.m., Bug Academy: Preparing for the Freeze; Indian Creek Nature Center. Some insects produce their own antifreeze! Others use a variety of equally unusual ways to survive winter’s cold. Join Joe Zito for an indoor presentation followed by an outdoor hands-on exploration of fall insect activities. Open to all adults and children 8 years old and up. M: $5; NM: $8



Sun., Sept. 30, 2 p.m., Slithering Snakes! Indian Creek Nature Center.“Snake Man” Don Becker is back with live snakes that live in Linn County. Adults and children will enjoy a close encounter with this important ecological creature. Bring your questions! Families: M: $7; NM: $10; Individuals: M: $3; NM: $4

Sun., Sept. 30, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Fall Wild Mushrooms at Prairiewoods. Why did the mushroom go to the party?  Because he was a fungi!  Join local fungi expert Marty Augustine of the Prairie State Mushroom Club as he leads participants on a search for edible fungus at Prairiewoods (120 East Boyson Road in Hiawatha).  Watch a presentation about local edible mushrooms and then take a foray into the woods in search of mushrooms.  Please bring a sack lunch and a container to collect mushrooms, and dress for conditions (which may include ticks, mosquitoes or poison ivy).  The cost is $12 per person, or $20 for two people.  Registration is requested by September 20.  For more information or to register, contact Prairiewoods at 319-395-6700 or


Sun., Sept. 30, 1–4 p.m., Nature Fest at Prairiewoods. Celebrate Saint Francis at our annual Nature Fest at Prairiewoods (120 East Boyson Road in Hiawatha). This family- and pet-friendly outdoor party celebrates our connection with animals, Earth and the Universe—which were important connections to Saint Francis.  Experience Prairiewoods in its natural fall splendor with guided prairie walks, eco-tours, live music, children’s activities, face painting, storytelling and much more.  And what would a celebration of Saint Francis be without a Blessing of the Animals?  Bring your furry, winged, scaled or other friends to be individually blessed by a pastor.  (If you are looking for a new furry friend, Little Paws Dog Rescue will have animals available for adoption too!)  You can also participate in the Native American tradition of Gift Blanket Sharing.  In this ceremony, a blanket containing a few gifts is spread on the ground.  You may take something from the blanket or leave your own gift, such as a poem, a song, a small token from nature or an object you no longer need.  In addition to an item for the Gift Blanket Sharing, you may want to bring a blanket or chair for comfortable outdoor seating.  If your pet is joining you, please bring appropriate gear, such a leash or carrying case.  This is a free party, so bring lots of friends!  For more information, contact Prairiewoods at 319-395-6700 or




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