Nature By Chance

Dew-covered prairie
My sister and I had a conversation a few weeks back about Polk County Conservation employees. It went a little something like this...

Sis: So the Naturalists - do they eat bark and pine cones and communicate with animals?

Me: Um, well, not exactly. Most that I know live in typical suburban homes and drive to work every day to educate the public on the natural world.

Sis: (with a shocked look on her face) Really?! Well, what about the ones working in forestry? Are they out chopping down trees, slinging them over their backs and hauling them to their acreage to build a home with their own two hands?

Me: I think you need to come out to our office and job shadow for a day!

This humorous exchange got us thinking...

What can we do to get individuals unaware or uninterested in opportunities in the outdoors...outdoors?! 

We all come from various backgrounds, levels of comfort, and sense of adventure. Some of us certainly are the pine cone chompin', squirrel chatterin', lumberjackin' type! Most of us lie a little more towards the opposite end of this spectrum and at various intervals in between of involvement in the natural world. And what about those who might lie completely at the opposite end? Maybe you have a friend or a family member you wish to encourage to get out there and enjoy all that nature has to offer. How do we go about getting them excited about the outdoors (but maybe leave out the lingering flavor of pine cone)? Or perhaps you are looking to further immerse yourself in natural settings.

Check out your local County Conservation organization!

And here in Polk County, our goal is to get you outside!

What better way to enjoy a summer evening than surrounded by beauty of a county park? How about we throw some tunes in there to make the deal that much sweeter and entice even the most wary to come out and relax amongst the flora and fauna of Iowa? Join us on July 4th for our Music in the Park Concert Series as we welcome Flying Pig Fiddle and Banjo to the stage at the Jester Park Amphitheater. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on as we celebrate Independence Day Southern Appalachian style with old-time string band music on fiddles, banjo, washtub, washboard, pitchfork, fiddlesticks, feet, and more!

And don't miss an evening of food, fun, art and music at Easter Lake Park, Shelter #2 in Des Moines on Friday, July 17th, from 6-8 p.m. Food, beverages and local art will be available to purchase along with free nature programs and art activities. Our featured band, High Society Big Band, plays swinging jazz sounds of the Big Band era, performing compositions that span an entire century of music.

What about those who prefer to remain indoors and enjoy all things wild from the comfort of their homes? 

Insect hotel provides temporary and long-term shelter
Have we got a workshop for you! Contribute to conservation efforts and attract pollinators to your home and garden by building an insect hotel! The Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Longhouse will be host to a workshop crafting willow homes for these critters on July 11th. Click here for more information and to register.

And for those curious about Iowa ecosystems but maybe unsure of where to begin exploration, don't miss the Discover Our Parks series in July. Come along as we discover life in a stream on a Creek Walk, happen upon creatures in a Marsh Stomp, and take in the grandeur of an Iowa grassland on a Prairie Hike. If viewing local wildlife excites you, come explore Carney Marsh with Polk County Naturalists. We will talk about how this area came to be before setting out on binocular exploration of its inhabitants. We may even dip a net or two into the marsh and see what aquatic critters we might find. Come dressed to go off trail and get a little muddy!

Be sure to check our calendar of events for full details on these outings!

Whether it is from within the comfort of four walls or waist-high in a wetland, fostering a need for the natural world is one of great importance in this ever-changing world in which we live. We look forward to seeing you in our parks!


Popular Posts