Category Archives: Wickiup Hill Learning Center

Summer Camps!

The naturalists at Wickiup Hill Learning Center are excited to offer eight summer camps in 2014 and six archery day camps. Learn how to be a naturalist, survive in the wild, build a fairy house or carve a walking stick! Check out our brochure for this year’s outdoor adventures – Wickiup’s Summer Camps 2014

Water Table Installed at Wickiup Hill

photo 1

In July of 2012, Wickiup Hill was awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to complete a water table as part of the Everyone Lives in a Watershed exhibit at Wickiup Hill. After several months of planning with department staff, Boss Display of Columbus, OH is currently  installing the water table at Wickiup Hill.

This exhibit is centered on improving watershed management through interactive displays.  Following interaction with the exhibit, watershed table, and associated educational materials, visitors will be able to define a watershed, understand that everyone lives in a watershed, identify good and bad watershed practices, and understand that there are actions everyone can take to better manage water and that poor watershed decisions result in flooding and deteriorating water quality.

Watch for additional information regarding when the exhibit will be open to the public.

photo 2

photo 3

Green Day at the Market!

Join Wickiup Hill and dozens of “green” organizations at the Downtown Cedar Rapids Farmers Market on July 20.  All organizations will be located in GreenSquare Park. The goal of “Green Day” is provide a space that is fun for kids and families, as well as educational- both as far as the environment and also about the missions of our individual groups.  We hope to see you there!

May Wickiup Challenge

Looking to get outside and explore nature?  Come to Wickiup Hill for the Wickiup Challenge.  The Wickiup Challenge is self-guided exploration program with the help of your cell phone!  Stop at the kiosk near the parking lot and look for the Wickiup Challenge sign.  Call the number, listen to the clues and then go explore!  Once you find the secret spot, use your cell phone to learn why the secret spot is unique!  Stop at the desk at the Wickiup Hill Learning Center and get a small prize for participating!

Want to listen to the clues now?  Call 319-531-3178 and enter stop number 000.

Watch and listen for new challenges regularly at Wickiup Hill!

Wickiup-Challenge-Logo

April Wickiup Challenge

Looking to get outside and explore nature?  Come to Wickiup Hill for the Wickiup Challenge.  The Wickiup Challenge is self-guided exploration program with the help of your cell phone!  Stop at the kiosk near the parking lot and look for the Wickiup Challenge sign.  Call the number, listen to the clues and then go explore!  Once you find the secret spot, use your cell phone to learn why the secret spot is unique!  Stop at the desk at the Wickiup Hill Learning Center and get a small prize for participating!

Want to listen to the clues now?  Call 319-531-3178 and enter stop number 000.

Watch and listen for new challenges regularly at Wickiup Hill!

Wickiup-Challenge-Logo

Wickiup Challenge

Looking to get outside and explore nature?  Come to Wickiup Hill for the Wickiup Challenge.  The Wickiup Challenge is self-guided exploration program with the help of your cell phone!  Stop at the kiosk near the parking lot and look for the Wickiup Challenge sign.  Call the number, listen to the clues and then go explore!  Once you find the secret spot, use your cell phone to learn why the secret spot is unique!  Stop at the desk at the Wickiup Hill Learning Center and get a small prize for participating!

Want to listen to the clues now?  Call 319-531-3178 and enter stop number 000.

Watch and listen for new challenges regularly at Wickiup Hill!

Wickiup-Challenge-Logo

Conservation Overview Program

The Linn County Conservation Department is offering an 8 week class designed for individuals who are interested in conservation.  Topics for the classes will include Eastern Iowa geology and soils, wildlife ecology, Iowa forestry and more! 

Speakers for this popular series include:
Dr. Ray Anderson, Senior Research Geologist, Iowa Geological and Water Survey Bureau
Dr. Neil Bernstein, Professor of Biology, MountMercyUniversity
Rob Roman, Roadside Biologist, LinnCounty 
Lynn Alex, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Office of the State Archaeologist
Dennis Schlicht, Biology Instructor, WashingtonHigh School
Wayne Petersen, Urban Conservationist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Mark Vitosh, District Forester, Iowa DNR 
Dustin Henrichs, Field Coordinator, Trees Forever

If  these speakers peak your interest, this program is for you!  Mark your calendar for classes on March 7,14, 21,28 and April 2, 11, 18, 25 at 6PM.  Don’t forget about the field trip on April 27! Teacher recertification credits ae available for an additional fee through Grant Wood AEA. 

To sign up, contact Gail Barels, gail.barels@linncounty.org or 319-892-6485.

Conservation Department Awarded Environmental Literacy Grant for Wickiup Hill

The Linn County Conservation Department was awarded an environmental literacy grant for the “Wild, Wonderful Wetlands” project at Wickiup Hill.  The grant is awarded by the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition (ICEC), the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE), the Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) and the Nebraska Alliance for Conservation and Environmental Education (NACEE).  These organizations received a $150,000 grant from the U.S. EPA Environmental Education Sub-Grants program. Sub-grants were awarded to organizations with projects that contribute to the regional goals for environmental literacy and building capacity for environmental education in the four state region, while supporting the EPA’s educational and environmental priorities.

The “Wild, Wonderful Wetland” project is an educational corner near the “Nature is Fun” exhibit at Wickiup Hill Learning Center.  The project provides nature and wetland education through free play and structured environmental education.  The project will feature a fishing corner where visitors can “catch” aquatic life.  The aquatic life will be made from recycled materials.  The corner will have an aquatic identification area, provide an understanding of life history and the ideal habitat of each life form. Visitors will also be able to add and remove items that contribute or subtract to the health of the wetland. Lastly interpretive panels will contain descriptions of healthy wetlands and share the indicators of healthy water quality. 

The “Wild, Wonderful Wetland” project supplements current educational curriculum and provides for year-round learning.  Wickiup Hill education staff currently teach a pond-study program that includes “netting” aquatic life from the wetland at Wickiup Hill Learning Center.  Aquatic life is identified and discussed with the visitors.  However, this program is weather-dependent.  In rain or cold weather, the program is not available.  Additionally, this year, the wetland is dry due to the drought.  The current pond study program is one of the most popular programs offered at Wickiup Hill Learning Center.  By offering this educational exhibit, the education staff will provide wetland education on a consistent basis. 

The development of the corner will begin immediately.

Learn a skill that’s new to you!

Naturalist Niche
By Chuck Ungs

When leading Wickiup Hill field trips we often teach participants about the Woodland Culture of the Native Americans.  When I discuss the fact that the arrival of the first bows and arrows in the Midwest occurred about a thousand years ago it always creates interest in the group.  There is a fascination with the history of these tools, which saw extensive use here.

We will offer some insight into the skill of building longbows with a course that will be held from 8 to 4:30 on February 2 and 3, 2013, at our Department’s shop near the junction of Highway 13 and County Home Road.  The course costs $220 per person.  To register for the class interested people need to contact Chuck Ungs by calling (319) 892-6489.  Registration is due by the end of the business day on Jan. 30. 

The class will be led by Gene Winter, an experienced bow builder and the instructor for hundreds of students that have built bows over many years.  Gene will provide an Osage orange stave for each participant.  This is a tree that has been used for a very long while to build longbows.  In fact, the French settlers in south central states called the tree Bois d ’arc, which means wood of the bow. It also is called hedge apple due to the fruits it produces.

The process of building your own bow is involved and requires some time and tools to build so participants will need to be at class both days, and due to the physical constraints will need to be in high school or older.  The participants should bring a pair of leather gloves and a sack lunch if they like and perhaps a water bottle or soft drink each day.

We hope that you will join us if you are interested in building your own bow.  I have built several in these classes along the way and found the course and the bows produced to be very enjoyable to shoot and to create.  It brings a very unique sense of accomplishment to shoot a bow that started out as a large chunk of wood, and through your own hand work was transformed to beautiful instrument to fling arrows.

Watch the video below of last years workshop!

Recycled Art Program

January 12 – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at Wickiup Hill

art-EzraSunfishChildren will have the opportunity to explore the fun of making art
using recycled materials. Participants will create and decorate their
own stuffed Plush Fish or magnetic Fridge Fish using recycled fabrics
and other found materials. Arizona artist Pete Goldlust creates
whimsical, colorful creatures out of secondhand clothing and other
recycled materials. A collection of these creatures will inhabit The
Wickiup Hill Learning Center beginning in January 2013. This workshop is
open to children ages 5-10. Participants must be accompanied by an
adult at the workshop, but one adult can bring several children.  This
program is co-sponsored by the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

Advanced Registration: Required. Please call 319-892-6485 to reserve your spot by Wed. Jan. 9.

Cost: $5.00/child

Where will the dragonfly take you?!

They have arrived!! Yes, the long anticipated, hands-on exhibits are currently being installed at Wickiup Hill.

The exhibits made the trip from Rantoul, IL, where they were designed and fabricated, to Toddville – their new home at Wickiup Hill.  Installation of the exhibits is near complete.  We can’t wait to share them with you!  Stay tuned for opening date information!

Linn County Photo Club Newsletter now available

Click here to read.

Snowshoe Building Class

Linn County Conservation is offering a hands-on class that will get participants in the mood for winter and winter outdoor recreation opportunities!  Come build a pair of traditional snowshoes. Conservation Education Specialist Chuck Ungs will guide participants through the snowshoe-building process. These sets make a unique gift, functional tools or can be used as decoration.

Participants need to attend the class sessions on Tuesday, December 4, 11, & 18.  These evening classes will run from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Wickiup Hill Learning Center near Toddville. With some time invested at home, kits can be completed around New Year’s.  Additional evenings will be needed the week following construction (between Christmas and New Year’s) to varnish the shoes. This will be completed in the evenings at the Conservation Department workshop on County Home Rd (near the Abbe Center).  For best results, two or three of these evenings will be required to varnish the shoes properly.

Registration Details:
Advanced registration is required. The deadline is November 29th, so kits can be ordered. To pre-register, call 319-892-6485.  Class size is limited to 15.
Cost: The $175 class fee includes the cost of a snowshoe kit, a binding set and varnish for each participant.
Special Notes: Attendance at all three lacing sessions is highly recommended. Kit building typically requires the manual dexterity of someone high school age or older.

Newsletter for the Iowa Gourd Society

Interested in the Iowa Gourd Society? Take a look at their November newsletter. Click here to read now!

Walking on Water

Naturalist Niche Article
By Chuck Ungs

It is a wonderful feeling to be able to walk on water.  You are able to float above it all and seemingly glide over your surroundings.  Of course I’m not able to do this on liquid water – what I mean is the frozen variety.  I saw a few flakes in the air as I was making my commute today even.  It won’t be long before winter finds us and presents us with a ground covering amount of snow.  When it does you can bet that I will be ready to put on my snowshoes and begin floating above the earth again.  You can easily do the same, especially if you join a series of classes we are offering at Wickiup Hill this December.

Linn County Conservation will again offer the opportunity to build a pair of traditional snowshoes. Conservation Education Specialist Chuck Ungs will guide participants through the snowshoe-building process. Those who have taken the class in the past have been very pleased with the finished shoes and have enjoyed the class. These sets would make a unique gift, functional tools or can be used as a grand decoration.

Participants should plan to attend the evening sessions on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 11, & 18. These evening classes will run from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Wickiup Hill Learning Center near Toddville, IA. With some time invested at home, kits can be completed around New Year’s. Additional evenings will be needed to varnish the shoes in the evenings at the Conservation Department shop near our headquarters in the week following construction, between the Holidays. For best results, two or three of these evenings will be required to varnish the shoes properly.

Participants must pre-register and pay by November 29, so we can order kits. The $185 class fee includes the cost of a snowshoe kit, a binding set and varnish for each participant. To pre-register or for more details and options, call 319-892-6485. Attendance at all three lacing sessions is highly recommended. Kit building typically requires the manual dexterity of someone high school age or older. Class size is limited to 15.

Tickets Now Available for Jack Gladstone

2011 Native American Music Award (NAMA) winner singer Jack Gladstone returns to Wickiup Hill Learning Center to perform on November 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.  Jack’s award winning album “Native Anthropology,” is a landmark recording achievement in a career that has spanned almost three decades.  His video “The Bear Who Stole the Chinook” is nominated for a Short Film Video the 2012 NAMA awards.  The NAMA were formerly called the Native American Grammy Awards. 

Jack Gladstone is a Storysmith/Troubadour from the Blackfeet Nation of Montana. Regarded as a cultural bridge builder, he produces programs on indigenous history and tradition. Jack has released fifteen critically acclaimed CDs and most recently garnered the prestigious Best Historical Recording from the Native American Music Association.  

A former college instructor and Smithsonian scholar, Jack co-founded Native America Speaks, Glacier Nat’l Park’s highly regarded lecture series.  In addition, Gladstone was a featured tribal voice for Montana’s Centennial, the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial and the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. He has also been featured at Wolf Trap Nat’l Park for the Performing Arts. Jack’s studio recordings have been produced by Lloyd Maines (Dixie Chicks), David Griffith (Vassar Clements), and Phil Aaberg (Peter Gabriel). Jack has opened shows for Rita Coolidge, Garrison Keillor, and Bonnie Raitt. 

Ticket Details:

Ticket prices for this multi-media extravaganza performance are $10 for adults, $5 per child or $20 per family.

A limited number of tickets are available.  First priority is given to tickets reserved online.  Second priority is given for purchasing tickets in person at Wickiup Hill (10260 Morris Hills Rd, Toddville).  Tickets can be placed “on-hold” by calling (319) 892-6485, however, these tickets are not guaranteed until paid for and will be released for re-sale one week prior to the event.

Wickiup Hill Expansion Update

Watch the video to see how far the expansion project has come!

Wicked Wickiup Fall Fest!

Kick off the fall season and enjoy a morning of family fun at Wickiup Hill! Use your Wicked Wickiup Passport to navigate through the activity stations, which include:  
– Photo Station with Oversized Spider 
– Craft Cauldron
– Creepy Critters
– Fall Face Painting (for an additional charge)
– Troll Trail 
– Pumpkin Bowling
– Spirited Scarecrow Build
– Luminous Leaf
– Gourd Society Meet & Greet
– Trick or Treat on the Trail
– Straw Scramble
– Halloween Hike Story Trail

Costumes encouraged!  Aimed at ages 3-10, but younger and older siblings welcome! Cost $2/child or $5/family.  Please call and register at least 3 days prior at 892-6485. Program will be offered on Saturday October 20th from 10:30am-12pm and Thursday October 25th from 4-5:30pm.

AN AMERICAN ICON: UTAH’S RED ROCK CANYONLANDS

America’s red rock canyonlands wilderness, located in southern Utah, 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 lies the Greater Canyonlands region surrounding Canyonlands National Park.

 

The Wickiup Hill Learning Center will host a program entitled “A Wilderness Icon: America’s Red Rock Wilderness” on Thursday, September 13 at 7pm at 10260 Morris Hills Rd. in Toddville.  The speaker will be Clayton Daughenbaugh, conservation organizer with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

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.  

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and its partners in the Utah Wilderness Coalition seek to gain local support for the “Citizens’ Proposal” to protect wilderness areas in Utah’s red rock canyonlands.  Comprehensive legislation is pending in Congress and administrative decisions by the White House and the Department of Interior are ongoing. 

“These are spectacular public lands owned by all Americans.  As citizens we have a great opportunity to act to protect these special places,” Daughenbaugh said.

For more information on the program, contact Clayton at clayton@suwa.org

Iowa Gourd Society Meet & Greet

Saturday October 20, 2012, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

cloth coiling

The Iowa Gourd Society and itʼs local members will be at Wickiup Hill Learning Center on Saturday October 20, 2012 from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm to demonstrate different decorating techniques, growing, harvesting & cleaning instructions.

From 11:00 am to 12:30 pm Dallas & Roxie DeShane from Orion, IL will be giving a presentation titled: “Gourd”opedia Special Edition – The History and Mystery of Gourds – The journey of a gourd covers thousands of years. How did they get here? Where are they from? Why don’t the gourds look like the ones I planted? How do the garden surroundings influence gourd genetics for generations to come? From necessary vessels to artwork in your home – learn how gourds have evolved – from their past to the present.

ink dyes

A vast variety of art mediums are used to decorate gourds, demonstrations will include: basket weaving on gourds, carving, polymer clay, beading, painting, staining, dyeing, wood burning, crushed egg shell inlay and a variety of others. Over past few years artists of all mediums have found the wonderful world of ‘gourds’ and enjoy the challenge gourds offer to apply their techniques to.

 

pine needle coiling

This event is FREE to the public and we welcome all ages. If you haven’t had a chance to see some of the gourd art in the display case at Wickiup, now is the chance to do so and then ask any questions you may have. Along with demonstrations, there will be a small selection of gourd art ‘For Sale’, a table where kids can decorate a gourd magnet with chalk and take home (free), as well as refreshments.

Schedule of Events
9:00 – 11:00 General demonstrations & open questions
11:00 – 12:30 “Gourd opedia” presentation
12:30 – 2:00 General demonstrations & open questions

polymer clay and gourds

The Iowa Gourd Society was established in 1999 and consists of members from around the state. There is a General membership meeting/workshop the 3rd Saturday of March, May, July, September, and November in Marshalltown, Iowa with local ‘Patch’ gatherings in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. These  meetings are free to IaGS members with just a small fee for the workshop that
is taught by members or visiting gourd artists. For more information visit the Iowa Gourd Society website at: http://www.iowagourdsociety.org or you may contact
Sharon Foster at: sharon.foster@mchsi.com. Click here to download PDF.

spirella on gourds

 

wax design on gourds

 

wood burn and gold foil

wood burning