Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Family Snow Fun

Sledding and / or Cross-country Skiing Clinics!
The Fayette County Conservation Board and TAKO (Take A Kid Outdoors) will be offering some snow fun at several locations this year. Sledding fun and / or Cross-country Skiing are being offered at different locations. Lunch will be provided for participants by TAKO from noon to 1 PM at all of the events.
For locations where there will be sledding fun please bring your own sled and try the slopes. Participants are asked to pre-register for one or both of the sledding times.
For the Cross-country Skiing participants will learn about cross-country ski equipment, helpful recovery techniques and the kick and glide method. Participants can either use the FCCB’s equipment or bring their own equipment. TAKO will be paying the normal $1.00 per person fee. Approximately 35 people can use FCCB equipment per clinic. Participants must pre-register in order to participate in the clinic(s) of their choice. The following information is required about each person participating: which season(s) you would like to participate in, First and Last Name, Contact Phone Number and Shoe Size (please indicate men's, women's, or children's).
Please call the Gilbertson Nature Center for more information or to pre-register at 563-426-5740 or e-mail gncfccb@alpinecom.net for the Sledding and / or Cross-country Skiing Clinics.

Sledding Fun and Cross-country Skiing Clinics
Saturday, January 8, 2011, West Union Elementary School, West Union
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Cross-country Skiing Clinics
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Gilbertson Nature Center, Gilbertson Conservation Education Area
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Sledding Fun and Cross-country Skiing Clinics
Saturday, February TBA, 2011
Location TBA, Oelwein

10:00 AM – Noon and 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Gift Idea’s = Part II

Here are some unique and some practical ideas for that someone on your list of any age you are still looking to get a gift for.

Why not get that special someone a gift of a donation to a worthy cause they believe in and /or support.  Make the donation to the organization in that person’s name, see of the organization will send out a special card or give you one to give to that speical someone. If they do not provide a spiecal card you can make one your self letting that person know they have received a gift of a donation to [for example – The Fayette County Conservation Board’s Environmental Education Program] given in their name.

Reusable Shopping Bags:
Everyone loves to and needs to shop. But not everyone has reusable shopping bags.
So why not purchase that special someone some reusable shopping bags and a gift card maybe too.
One year I purchased some plan colored canvas shopping bags. I also purchased t-shirt transfer papers that I could print onto from my color printer and some fabric paint. I then had some fun I made each person in the family a special personal reusable cloth shopping bag. It was our daughters first Christmas, so I made sure I had pictures of everyone with our daughter. Then I took the photos, scanned them into my computer because I did not have a digital camera and then using the photo programming that came with our printer/scanner I made up special pictures with words and more. Then I printed each one off onto the t-shirt iron on transfer paper and ironed them onto the shopping bags. Now for those I could not or did not have photos of them with our daughter I placed a picture of her on the bag and then decorated the bag with fabric paint. Everyone loved them and still us them today.

Gift Cards:
Gift Cards are always easy to get and give. It allows that special someone to pick out just what they want. There are even special gift cards to help them get music, down loadable books and more.

Wrapping up that special gift can be challenging. I love newspaper. It is easy to wrap with, I have lots of it around and I can reuse it or recycle it when I am done.
I also love reusable gift bags or boxes that make life easy and simple. We have gift bags and boxes we pass around and around in our family.
One year I made reusable gift bags from material. I just sewed them together with scraps of Christmas material I purchased at the store. They were a hit and have been used over and over and gone many miles from one family to the next and back to me. It has been fun to see them used over and over. The nice thing has been when they have gotten soiled I just wash them. Once one of them had a loose spot so I just sewed it up and on it went being used again and again.
We also like to open gifts in our house carefully and reusue the wrapping paper over and over.  It is fun to see how many differnt gifts can be wrapped over the years with the same wrapping  paper.  We also reuse bows and ribbon too.
You can also wrap in your speical homeade reusable shopping bags.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed my two part Christmas Gift Ideas. The gift ideas I have listed are all gifts that I would love to get. Also, do remember that sometimes when one gives a gift they mean well when giving but sometime the recipient does not understand the reason behind the gift. So if you do give a different and unique gift do include an explanation so that you do not offend the recipient.

From the Fayette County Conservation Board We Wish Each and Everyone Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Gift Idea’s = Part I

Ideas that Kids with help or alone depending on their age can make for that Special Someone on Their List.
With Christmas fast approaching many people are scurrying around to find gifts for friend and family. Sometimes it is hard to figure out just what to get a certain person on your list. So in this blog spot I want to give you a few unique Christmas gift ideas that children of all ages can give at Christmas time or any time of the year. I will warn you some are not as traditional as many you may have giving in the past, but for a moment please hang in there with me and think outside the box of tradition.
If you have a child in your house you know how badly they want to give a special gift to their Parents, Grandparents, Aunt, Uncle, friends, family, or other relative. Here are some simple gift ideas that are over all easy to make and fairly cheep.
Cook or Bake:
Depending on the age of the child kids love to make homemade treats.It could be a simple as rice crispy treats, no bake or bake cookies, help an older child make homemade bread, candy, or other cool kitchen creations.
Picture Frame Ideas:
In any of these frames you could put a picture of the child or children, their family, a pet, a drawing the child has made, their hand and/or foot prints or anything the child would like to put into the frame to give to that special person. These are great fun to make and give away.
You can help a child make simple picture frame out of craft sticks and glue. Have them decorate the frame with what you have on had to make it look cool. Then take the item that is going in the frame and glue it into the frame, attached a heavy card stark behind the item and a magnet and you have a simple, quick person picture frame/refrigerator magnet. Or put a simple loop of yarn on the back so the photo could be hung on the wall.
Make a tree stick / branch frame and decorate it and do the same as you did with the craft stick frame.
Pick up a cheep wooden picture frame at Goodwill, consignment store, or a dollar type store that may not be the coolest looking and have the child decorate the frame with buttons, paint, or what ever you have on had. Then put what every the child want to put into the inside of the frame.
Recycling Goes to the Birds:
This is a fun way to make a cheep bird feeder and all it takes is help imagination, help from adult or older sibling, scissors or other cutting tools, twin or string, and containers that can be recycled into a bird feeder.
Kids love arts and crafts and a simple bird feeder can be made out of a milk jug, pop bottle, bleach bottle, laundry soap bottle and more.
Once the bird feeder is made you can add in a bag of seed and there you have it a homemade bird feeder.
Here is a link to a hand out you can print off that will have lots of great ideas and more on “Recycling Goes to the Birds”. Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4cDL72cVrA2ZFZTbkhGV3BYWkE/view?usp=sharing
Help the kids in your family make special placemats.
You will need tag board cut into the size of a placemat.
Clear shelf paper or lament paper that will cover the card stock on both sides and stuff to decorate the placemat with.
You can use anything flat; try pressed dried leaves, or flowers. Use photos of the child, their pets, family, photos the child has taken of their world from their eyes.
Have the child draw or paint a special picture.
Have them put their hand prints and / or foot prints with a current picture of them on one side.
The child could put together a collage of memories of a special event, day or time they had with the person for whom the placemat is for.
Decorate both sides to the tag board placemat this makes it reversible and even more fun because it can be flipped over and over all year long.
A Treasures Box:
Find a cool sturdy box that can be used over and over again to store treasure in.
Cover the box in white paper and then have the child decorate the box.
Have them put simple special treasure to give to their special friend. They could put in a picture of them self with their friend. A picture of just the child, a picture of the friend and the child together, or a picture of the friend and the child doing something fun and exciting together.
You could put in something you and the child cooked or bakes together to share with the friend.
Play Dough Ornaments:
Who did not love and still does not love to play with Play Dough!
You can purchase Play Dough or even find many recipes to make your own homemade Play Dough on line.
Then all you have to do is gather up you Christmas cookie cutters, come yarn, ribbon or string, a rolling pin, a cookie tray and get busy making play do Christmas Tree decorations.  They could be Easter, Holloween or what ever shape or type of cookie cuters you have.
You can even roll out the do and have the child put their hand or foot print into it. Then make sure you have a whole in the item so yarn, ribbon or string can be attached to hand the new ornament onto the tree. Kids love to make them and family love to get them.
I have lots of other ideas but these are just a few of the more fun ones I enjoyed doing as a child or with my children.
From the Fayette County Conservation Board We Wish Each and Everyone Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2010 Camping Season Drawing to a close

Fall seems to be “flying by” and winter just around the corner and the Fayette County Conservation Board Camping season is slowly coming to a close.

Both Gouldsburg Park and Gilbertson Conservation Education Area Campground bathhouse are now closed for the season. The electricity is still on and will remain on until the first significant snow fall. There are pit toilets at both locations to use so you are welcome to come and camp, cost are still the same $12.00 / night for electrical hook up sites and $7.00 / night for non-electrical hook up sites.

The “Electrifying” Maize Maze is now closed for the season.

The Petting Zoo, Mavis Conner Dummermuth Historical Building and Hart Dummermuth Historical House and area also closed for the season.

The Gilbertson Nature Center is now Open only by appointment contact: 563-426-5740 or e-mail: gncfccb@alpinecom.net

Just a reminder to though who come to walk or ride the trails at the Gilbertson Conservation Education Area a large part of the park is open to public hunting and people also hunt on the neighbors ground as well. So please take a little precaution and wear a blaze orange hat, vest or both if possible so hunters can see you.

If you are hunting on park ground please do not forget there maybe others out walking or riding horses or non-motorized bikes on the trails so please before you take a shot double check what your target is and what is beyond it. Do not forget there is a 200 yard no shoot zone around any building that is occupied by people or has live stock living within it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Events at the Maize Maze!

If you are out exploring the Fall colors and are looking for some fun come and “Get Lost” at the Country Heritage Comunity Maize Maze located East of Elgin, Iowa across from the Gilbertson Conservation Education Area’s Nature Center. Follow the Yellow with Green Letter Maze signs and your will find your way to “Getting Lost” at the Maze.

The Maize Maze will provide you, your family or group with and “Electrifying” experience. This years design is CFL Charlie, the energy efficiency mascot for Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.
Open on Saturday and Sunday from 1 – 4 PM or by appointment
The cost is $6 for ages 12 and up, $4 for ages 6-11 and free for ages 5 and under
Contacting LaVern Swenson at 563-419-1133

The Maze Maize is also open for Groups by appointment, like the scouts, 4-H, Schools, Church groups and more. If your group has 10 or more the cost will be $3 per person for all ages. Contact LaVern at 563-419-1133 to schedule your group’s field trip. Field trip dates are limited though, because, the last day that groups are able to visit will be Oct 29 during the day.

Why you ask are the group field trip and weekend visit only occurring until Oct. 29?
That is a good question. It is because the Maize maze will soon be “Haunted”.

Once again the Haunted Halloween Maize Maze will occur!
Friday, October 29
Saturday, October 30
6:30 – 9 PM Each Night
$5.00 per person for all ages

The Postville Jr. Class and the Valley CEW SODA Students will be helping to make this year's Maize Maze an “Electrifyingly Spooky!” experience.

So come out “Get LOST” and “Get Scarred”!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hazardous Household Waste Days

The Fayette County Solid Waste Managment Commission will be hosting -

Hazardous Household Waste Days

Fayette County residents may dispose of your hazardous household liquids free of charge.

Friday, October 1, 2010
3:00 - 6:00 PM
West Union, City Shop Parking Lot

Saturday, October 2, 2010
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Oelwein, City Hall Parking Lot

Accepted: gasolin and diesel additives, degreasers, waxes and polishes, solvents, paints (no latex-based paint), lacquers and thinners, caustic household cleaners, spot and stain removers (with petroleum base) and pesticides.

For more information contact:
Fayette County Recycling Center 563-422-3712
Fayette County Transfer Station 563-425-3037

Monday, August 30, 2010

Last Big Weekend 2010!

Petting Zoo
If you want to visit the Gilbertson Conservation Education Area’s Petting Zoo then you better come for a visit, for its last day open will be Monday, September 6, 2010 from 11 AM – 7 PM. Then it will close until next year on Memorial Day Weekend.

The Petting Zoo will be Open: September 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6th from 11 AM – 7 PM.

Gilbertson Nature Center
Mavis and Conner Dummermuth Historical Building
Hart Dummermuth Historical House

These buildings will be Open:
September 1  from 11 AM – 4:30 PM
September 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 from 11 AM – 7 PM

The hours for being open will then change on September 7 to by appointment only or when the Maize Maze has them open.

So come out and enjoy exploring the Gilbertson Conservation Education Area!

If you have any questions please call: 563-426-5740 or e-mail: gncfccb@alpinecom.net

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shade Tree Program

ISU Extension Program
Saturday, August 28, 2010
1:00 - 3:00 PM
Gilbertson Nature Center
22580 A Avenue
Elgin, Iowa

To register call the Fayette County Extension Office at 563-425-3331
Cost: $5.00
Registration Deadline: Friday, August 27, 2010

Shade Tree Program
Participants will learn about shade trees selection, planting and care.  Be prepared when it is time to replace your ash tree.

While the Emerald Ash Borer has not been found in most of Northeast Iowa, it is coming. Since ash is one of the major species in our landscapes, now is the time to start looking at replacements. Proper selection, planting and care of new trees is essential if you want a tree that will add beauty, shade and value to your property. It can be a considerable investment, but provide decades of dividends if done right.

Extension Horticulturist, Bob Hauer, will talk about the pros and cons of the usual shade trees available in Northeast Iowa along with a few of less commonly seen species. He will also talk about the essentials of planting and caring for the trees. Since there are no “perfect” trees, Bob can also answer your questions on the advantages and drawbacks of most common shade trees.

The program costs $5 and pre-registration is required by calling Fayette County Extension at 563-425-3331 by Friday Aug. 27th.

"The fees for service will be used to off-set direct expenses and to support the County Extension Program.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New and Updated Pages

As you explore the Fayette County Conservation Board (FCCB) Google Blog Spot you may notice that just below the informational box at the top there are now some tabs.

One tab says Home, one says Environmental Educational Programs, and the final one says 2010 Maize Maze – “Electrifying”.  If you click on each of these tabs they will take you to the pages.

The Home tab is where you are now reading this blog entry.

The Environmental Educational Programs tab will provide you with information about the Environmental Educational Program and a link to a listing of Environmental Educational Programs and Resources available.

The 2010 Maize Maze – “Electrifying” tab will provide you with information about this year Maize Maze, cost, time’s it open, links to a Field Trip Planning Guide, the Maize Maze Flyer and more.

So check out our NEW and Updated Pages to learn more about what is happening.

If you have questions or comments please contact the FCCB.

Thank you, enjoy reading and have fun exploring the great outdoors!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer

On May 15, 2010 it was confirmed by the Iowa Emerald Ash Borer Team that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been found in Iowa, in Allamakee County along the Mississippi River.  The EAB is an invasive pest that kills ash trees.

What does an EAB look like?
To learn more about the EAB check on the Iowa DNR Web Page: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Home.aspx

Fire Wood in Fayette County Conservation Board Parks?
How will this effect fire wood in Fayette County Conservation Board parks? At this time we are following the suggestions of the Iowa DNR and other regulating government groups.  We are asking all campers not to move firewood and instead buy wood where they are staying and burn all of that wood completely.

Stop the Emerald Ash Borer
Don't Move Firewood!  StopTheBeetle.info

Purple Things?

As you travel throughout Iowa and even other states you may have seen some purple things hanging in the trees. These are EAB traps. They are designed to attract the adult beetle if it is in the area. If the beetle is attracted to the trap it will get stuck in the non-toxic glue and stay there until the EAB Team check the traps. Do not panic though the traps will not attract the EAB into our area, they will only catch EAB if they are all ready in the area near the trap.  These traps will be up all summer long if you should find on the ground please call the USDA-APHIS-PPQ at 515-251-4083 and describe the location of the trap.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Open for the Season!

The Gilbertson Nature Center, Mavis and Conner Dummermuth Historical Building, Hart Dummermuth Historical House and Petting Zoo OPEN for the Season to the general pubic Saturday, May 29, 2010.

They will be OPEN: Wednesday - Sunday, 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM or by appointment.

They will be open Monday, May 31, 2010 and Monday, September 6, 2010, 11 AM - 7 PM. Date and Times subject to change by management.

The petting zoo’s last day open to the general public will be September 6, 2010. The petting zoo will not be open during inclement weather.

Starting on September 7, 2010 the building will only be open when the Maize Maze opens them or by appointment.

If you have a group that would like to visit the Petting Zoo please make an appointment one to two weeks in advance of the visit by calling the Nature Center at 563-426-5740 or E-mail: gncfccb@alpinecom.net.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dutton's Cave Park OPEN But Dutton's Cave is CLOSED!

A rapid spreading bat disease closes state owned cave used for hibernation and the Fayette County Conservation Board, Dutton’s Cave Park Cave where many bats live during the summer.

The disease known as white-nose syndrome is killing bats across the eastern half of the United States and now has shown up in Missouri.

Dutton’s Cave and others have been closed following recommendations by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service due to the rapid spread of the white-nose syndrome into the Midwest. Indiana and Illinois have already closed state owned and some county caves.

The closing is a precaution to help slow the spread of the disease. It is know the disease spreads from bat to bat. But it may also be spread by people carrying it on the clothing, cave exploring equipment or foot wear from cave to cave as they explore.

The disease was found in New York Cave in February 2006 and has killed more than a million hibernating bats of six different species in thirteen different states. Now it has been found in Missouri near St. Louis the second to the last week of April 2010.

It is not known how long white-nose syndrome will remain a threat. Currently and sadly there are more unknowns than known’s.

So please respect the cave closed signs, look from a distance, to help protect Iowa Bats from white-nose syndrome. Thank you!

More information on White-nose syndrome in Bats:

Dutton’s Cave Park is open you are welcome to come visit, camp, picnic, hike down to the end of where the trail is close to see the cave opening, play on the play ground or just enjoy the park. But please do not go into the cave so that we can keep Iowa Bats healthy.

If you have questions or comments please contact the Fayette County Conservation Board at 563-426-5740, e-mail: gncfccb@alpinecom.net or leave a comment on the blog site.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Celebrate Arbor Day on April 30, 2010

What is Arbor Day?
A formal Holiday to celebrate trees and all the wonderful things tree's provide us with.  It is also a day to encourage people of all ages to plant and care for trees.
The first Arbor Day was observed in 1872, in Nebraska.
But trees have been a part of literature and history as a symbol of life.
J. Sterling Morton a journalist in Nebraska encouraged everyone to set a side a special day to plant trees.
In 1872, the State Board of Agriculture accepted this idea and delcared April 10 as Arbor day.  They offered prizes to be give to the county or person(s) who correctly planted the biggest number of trees on that day.  Over one million trees were planted in Nebraska on their first Arbor Day.
By 1920 over 45 states and territories were celebrating Arbor Day.
Today it is celebrated in all fifty states.
At one time Arbor Day was moved to April 22, J. Sterling Morton's birthday.
Today April 22 is now known as Earth Day World Wide.
Today Arbor Day is celbrated on the last Friday in April in all fifty states and Puerto Rico and some U.S. territories.  This year the last Friday in April is April 30, 2010!
To learn more about Arobr Day check out the Arbor Day Foundations web page: http://www.arborday.org/

Happy Arbor Day!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lots of Dirt Turning Fun at the Horse Plowing Event at the Maze Maize

A fun time was had by all who visit, watched, plowed and more on April 17, 2010 at the Maize Maze site located within the Gilbertson Conservation Educaiton Area.

There were 8 teams who came to plow the maze field.  At just over 4 acres total to plow the teams had a fun work out turning the black soil.

Many came out to see and even try their hand with the help of the owner at driving a team as they plowed the fields.  A good time was had by all.  Thank you to everyone one who plowed and who came to watch and learn.


REC to Sponsor "Electrifying" Maize Maze

Treat your family to some "electryfying" fun this summer at the 2010 Country Heritage Community Maize Maze.  This year's maze is sponsored by Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative.

The maze pattern is based on Compact Florescent Lighting (CFL) Charlie, the energy efficiency mascot for all Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.  Harold Waterman, a grafic design student at Upper Iowa University, is the 2010 maze designer.  In addition to learning about electritcy and energy efficiency, visitors to the maze will have opportunty to pick popcorn and Indian corn, visit the nearby nature center, petting zoo, farm and home antiques museum and an old time farm hosue.

Country Heritage Community (CHC's) Maize Maze is located at the Gilbertson Conservation Education Area, just east of Elgin on Agate Road or County B64. Last year over 3,000 people visited the site including families, school and church groups, young adults and visitors from other states.

The maze is open from July 17 to October 31, 2010. 
Hours are 1 - 5 PM Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and open by appointment any time, day or night. 
Admission is free for childeren under 5 years old; $4.00 for ages 5 - 11; and $6.00 for 12 and Up. 
Educational group rages are $3.00 per person with a minimum of 10 pople in the group. 
For a real adventure, try solving the maze at night (must be 18 or older). 
Contact Lavern Swenson fo rmore information and scheduling: cell 563-419-1133 or e-mail: lagracie@acegroup.cc.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Explore Fayette County Conservation Board Recreational Area's!

The Fayette County Conservation Boards Recreation Area’s are open for the 2010 Season, the electricity where avaible is on, the water where avaible is on, and the entrances are open for you and your family to go explore, hike, camp, enjoy the spring flowers, singing songbirds and more.

The Recreational Areas that are open for all to explore are:

1. Wildwood Nature Center - 18673 Lane Road

A seven acre area located four miles north of fayette on State HWY 150, or Lincoln Road, then 1 mile west on County Road C14 or 190th Street and then left onto Lane Road. This area featuers a live animal and raptor exhibit. The nature center contains a variety of mounted native animals and birds. A staff naturalist is on hand to welcome visitors and field questions. Wildwood Nature Center is also the main office of the Fayette County Conservation Board, the location of the County Parks Program, and the Roadside Management Program. Public restrooms and drinking water are avaible at this location.

2. Twin Bridges Park - 13112 O Ave. and 14650 130 Street
A 17 ½ acre park located on County Road W 25 three miles north of Maynard at the confluence of the south and west branches of the Volga River. This park contains a shelter house, play ground, primitive camping area and pit toilets.

3. Gilbertson Conservation Education Area
Campground - 1810 Agate Road
Gilbertson Nature Center - 22580 A Ave
Located east of Elgin Iowa on county Road B 64 or Agate Road features a modern campground, primitive camping, horse camping, over 5 miles of trails to hike or ride on horse back or non-motorized bikes, fishing in the Turkey River or the Pond and one can come and explore the Petting Zoo, Nature Center, two historical Building, and the Maize Maze when they open for the season, watch this Blog for up dates on Opening dates and times.

4. Echo Valley State Park - 9672 Echo Valley Road & 9680 Echo Vally Road
A one hundred acre natural area that contains historical structures hand-build by the Civilian Conservation Corps such as a dam, keystone archway, lime kiln, and shelter house. The EVENT Trail and other hiking trails lead though this historical park. The park also provides visitors with picnicking areas, primitive camping, and trout fishing in two streams.

4. Glovers Creek Fishing and Wildlife Area
A 187 acre area next to Echo Valley State Park that is accessible though the Glover’s Creek side of Echo Valley. This area is open for public fishing and hunting. Both park entrances are located two miles east of West Union north of State Highway 56.

5. Goeken Park - 28191 Lincoln Road / State Hwy. 150
Is 5 miles north of West Union on U.S. Highway 150. It is a 6 ½ acre road side park. It has a wonderful panoramic view of many miles of the Turkey River Valley. The park also features one electrical hook up camping site, many non-electric sites, two shelter houses, a playground, pit toilets and water when it is turned on.

6. Gouldsburg Park - 18649 Sunset Road
Located 5 miles north of Hawkeye or 3 miles north of the intersection of U.S. HWY 18 and county Road W14 or Rose Road, the turn onto Sunset Road and follow until you come to the park on your left side. This park is a 64 acre area at the confluence of the Little Turkey River and Crane Creek. These water ways provide good fishing, tubing and canoeing. The park has a modern campground with dump station, showers, flush toilets, and electrical hook ups. The park also has pit toilets, primitive camp sites, a playground, shelter house and hiking trails.

7. Thelman Wildlife Area
A 310 acre public hunting area featuring grass plantings, a wetland, timber area, and crop ground for wildlife. Located just of State HWY 18 on County Road V68 or W Ave.

8. Dutton’s Cave Park
Campground - 25218 Iornwood Road
Shelter House Access - 9082 35th Street
Located 2 ½ miles northeast of West Union on U.S. HWY 18, and ½ mile north on Ironwood Road is a 46 acre heavily timbered, deep ravine ending in a wall directly above the cave opening. This park contains two electrical hook up sites, several non-electrical sites, shelter house, hiking trail, water when on, pit toilets, and a playground. It is a great park to see spring wildflowers and hear song birds in the early morning.

9. Downing Park - 23008 78th Street 
Located 2 miles north of State HWY 3, turn going north onto V 68 or W Ave. This quiet 40 acre park offers a shelter house, playground and pit toilets. It is a great bird watching park.

10. Valley Canoe Access - 3306 Diamond Road
A 3 acre area that features access to the Turkey River and a beautiful native prairie planting.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gouldsburg Park Open for the 2010 Season

Gouldsburg Park is Officially Open for the 2010 Season.
The Bathhouse is open and the Electricity is on.

Located 3 miles north of the intersection of U.S. HWY 18 or 230th Street and county Road W14 or Rose Road. Turn onto Sunset Road and follows until you come to the park on your left side (18649 Sunset Road)

Gouldsburg Park consists of 64 acres at the confluence of the Little Turkey River and Crane Creek. These water ways provide good fishing, tubing and canoeing.

The topography is rolling to hilly with desirable picnicking areas.

The park features a modern campground with dump station, showers, flush toilets, and electrical hook ups.

The park also has pit toilets, primitive camp sites, a playground, shelter house and hiking trails.

This park also features an historic mill stone that was once inside of the Gouldsburg Mill build in 1860/70’s.  Because of the chinch bugs that destroyed the wheat crop the mill closed in 1881.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Evening Chorur" - Frogs & Toads

With spring here an evening chorus is starting to sing as water’s warm and sleeping frogs and toads awake.

They sing to find a mate, they sing to let us know rain is coming and they sing to warn of danger near by. But in the spring their main reason for singing is to mate.

The Field Guided to Iowa Reptiles and Amphibians http://www.herpnet.net/Iowa-Herpetology/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid has great information about all of the Frogs, Toads, Salamanders Snakes, Turtles and Lizards that live in Iowa.

If you click on the Frogs and Toads section http://www.herpnet.net/Iowa-Herpetology/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=84&Itemid=48 you will get to learn about all the different species that can be found in Iowa. Now not all can be found in Northeast Iowa but many of them can be. You will get to see pictures of the frogs and toads and some even have a video you can see and hear them crocking.

If you really want to have fun with frogs and toads and have some extra time on your hands, love to stay up late or get up early than the Iowa DNR is looking for you! You could join the ranks of the Iowa Frog and Toad survey people. To find out more check out this link: http://www.iowadnr.gov/wildlife/diversity/frog_toad.html

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Horse Plowing at the Maize Maze Fields

Saturday, April 17, 2010
Rain Date: Saturday, April 24, 2010
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Gilbertson Conservation Education Area

Go East out of Elgin on Agate Road or County Road B64 then turn onto A Ave. and you will soon see the Gilbertson Nature Center on you right and the Maize Maze site on your left.

The State Line Plowing Association of Southeast Minnesota and Northeast Iowa, plus others will once again plow the Maize Maze Fields with their horses, Mules, and Plows.

For the last 5 years they have come to help tell the story how our ancestors plowed the fields and in doing so preserving our agricultural history.

So grab you camera, some shoes you can get dirty and join in the fun of some old fashion plowing.

For more information contact: Laverne Swenson at 563-419-1133 or e-mail: lagracia@acegroup.cc

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gilbertson Conservation Education Area Campground Season Starts!!!!

The Gilbertson Conservation Education Area Campground is Officially Open for the 2010 Season.
The Bathhouse is open and the Electricity is on.

Located along the Banks of the Turkey River on the East side of Elgin, Iowa at 1810 Agate Road.

This unique area offers something for everyone with a canoe access, pave ¼ mile trail that is wheelchair accessible, playground, shelter house, modern campground with dump station, a bathhouse with sinks, flush toilets, showers, 28 electrical hook up sites and several non electrical camping sites.  A Primitive Equestrian Camping area is also availbe by appointment.

The campground is only one part of the 345 acre Gilbertson Conservation Education Area. The area also features over 5 miles of trails available for hikers, non-motorized bikes, horseback riders', and in the wintertime cross-country skiing.  Parts of the park are open to public hunting. One can even fish in the pond or the Turkey River.

The petting zoo is open to the public from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day Wednesday – Sunday 11 AM – 7 PM or by Appointment May 1 to Labor Day.

The Gilbertson Nature Center at 22580 A Ave. features interpretive and educational displays about Northeast Iowa, the Mavis & Conner Dummermuth Historical Building contain farm and home antiques and memorabilia and the Hart Dummermuth Historical Home depicts a farm home from between 1890 – 1920’s. The buildings are open to the public from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day Wednesday – Sunday 11 AM – 7 PM or by appointment.

For more information: check out the Gilbertson Conservation Education Area Web Page:
http://www.elginiowa.org/GILBERTSON.html, call: 563-426-5740 or e-mail: gncfccb@alpinecom.net

2010 Camping Fees for Gilbertson Conservatoion Education Area:
Season Pass = $250.00 for the 2010 Camping Season
$12.00 / night with electricity
$7.00 / night without electricity
$7.00 / night Equestrian Camping

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Dawn Chorus"- Song Birds

Spring has arrived and with it come a "Dawn Chorus". That chorus consists of many different animals sinigng their “love songs”. The birds normaly are the first one to “sence, or feel” spring has arrived. They get excited to establish a home, attract a mate to help their species continue to survive. As local resident birds grear up and sing for spring, migents slowly arrive adding to the dawn chorus. It is beautiful in the early morning as they all “chime” in. To some it is a muttled mess of sounds, but to other’s a beautiful chorse.

In this blog I have listed some of the more common "Dawn Chorus" birds you might hear around you.

I have also attached a PDF document listing Bird Songs or Calls. This guide will help you identify bird songs by using human words to help you remember and recognize many of the birds that sing around you. To open the document click on the "Dawn Chorus" - Song Birds tital, it will open a google document you will be ablet to download, save and / or print off the docement.  Then you can use it to help you identify many of the singing Birds in the "Dawn Chorus".

Birds and their Songs:
Black-capped Chickadee = "Chick-a-dee-dee-dee" or "Phoe-be"
White-breasted Nuthatch = "Hank Hank" or "Nurt Nurt"
American Goldfinch = "Potato chip, Potato chip-chip" [done in flight] or "Per-chickory, Per-chickory"
Eastern Meadowlark = "Iowa is beautiful" or "Spring of the Year"
Red-winged Blackbird = "Conk-Lar-REE!" or "Oak-a-REE!" Call note a harsh "CHECK!"
Northern Cardinal = "Wa-cheer Wa-cheer, Birdy-Birdy-Birdy, Wheat, Wheat, WheatBlue Jay = "JAY, JAY, JAY
Scarlet Tanager = robin like notes slower and with a slight bur "Chip-bur, Chip-bur"
Brown Thrasher = each part of the song is repeated 2 or 3 times
Eastern Bluebird = soft single or double notes a "Cha-we" or "Chawe-we"
American Robin = "Cheerily, Cheer-UP-CHEERlo" or "Cheerily, Cheerily, Cheer-UP-CHEERAlee"
Killdeer = "Killdee, Killdee"
Indigo Bunting = "Sweet Sweet, Chew Chew, Feet, Feet"
Mourning Dove = "WhoooOooo-who-who-who"
White-throated Sparrow = "Sweet Canada Canada Canada" or "Poor Sam Peabody Peabody"
Ruby-crowned Kinglet = "See See See, To, To, To, Think of Me, Think of Me" very loud for a small bird
Rufous-sided Towhee = “Drink Your Tee"
Tufted Titmouse = "Peat, Peat, Peat" or "Peter, Peter, Peter"
Bobwhite = "Bob White or toot-sweet!"
Yellow Warbler = "Chit chit chit Chit CHit-Tweet" or "Sweet Sweet SWEET I'm so Sweet"
Common Yellowthroat = "Wichity, Whichity, Whichity, Which"
Ovenbird = "Tea-Cher, Tea-Cher, Tea-Cher"
Eastern Phoebe = "FEE-bee"
American Crow = "CAW, CAW, CAW"
Northern Oriole = here, here, come right here, dear OR flute-like, disjointed series of notes
Cedar Waxwing = trill (hp, rapid) always flocks OR zeee-zeee-zeee… (hp trilled)
Chimney Swift = chit-chit-chit-chit... (rapid staccato) OR twittering (rapid)
Chipping Sparrow = chipping trill (mechanical, dry, rapid)
Common Nighthawk = Pee-eet (nasal) OR beeer
Gray Catbird = meeeee-ew or maaaaaanh (nasal) OR varied mocker-like phrases (seldom repeated)
House Finch = zreee! (included in varied, warbling song)
House Sparrow = chiddik, chiddik (dry, non-musical)
House Wren = stuttering, gurgling, musical, i at end
Purple Finch =  Warbling – varied phrases, fast, lively, brief
Rose-breasted Grosbeak = cheer-up, cheer-a-lee, cheer-ee-o (malodic) AND chink
Song Sparrow = Maids, maids, maids-put-on-your-tea-kettle-ettle-ettle OR Hip, hip, hip hurrah boys, pring is here! OR Madge, Madge, Madge pick beetles off, the water’s hot

Here is a link to the Field Checklist of Iowa Birds:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Guide to Early WIldflowers

If you click on the words Guilde to Early Wildflowers below, you will open a PDF copy of the  Guide to Early WIldflowers Fayette County Conservation Board.  You will be able to save this document and / or print it off so you can take it with you when you go hiking to help you identify many of the early spring wildflowers found in Fayette County.  Happy Wildflower Hiking!

Guide to Early Wildflowers
Fayette County Conservation Board

Early Spring Wildflowers have adapted to be small in size to survive adverse weather conditions.

Exchanges of information were common between the Native Americans and the Pioneers when food and medicine were scarce.

HEPATICA - (liverleaf, liverwort) Buttercup family
Round-lobed Hepatica - Hepatica amricana
Blooms March - May. Leaves and stem: rounded lobes of 3 lobed leaves. Stalks hairy. Flowers white, pink, lavender, or blue. The 6 to 10 “petals” are really sepals. There are three bracts below each flower. 4 - 6” in height. Found in leafy woods.
Sharp-lobed Hepatica - Hepatica acutiloba
Blooms March - April. Similar leaves and stems to the round-lobed hepatica but the lobes of the leaves are pointed, occasionally 5 to 7 lobes. Hybridizes. 4 - 9” in height. Found in upland woods.
During Middle Ages Hepatica was used to treat liver ailments, “Doctrine of Signatures” held that if a plant in some way resembled an organ of the human body that the plant could cure ailments of the organ. Contains tannin which is a mild astringent; Chippewas made a tea of the root for children with convulsions.

TRILLIUM - (Birthwort) Lily family
Snow or Dwarf White Trillium - Trillium nivale
Blooms March - May. Smallest and earliest blooming trillium with less than 1” long petals and narrow 1 - 2” leaves. 2 - 6” in height. Found rich woods.

Nodding Trillium - Trillium cernuum
Blooms April - June. The flower dangles below the leaves, petals are 1” long, may be white or rarely pink. Leaves had short petioles. 6 - 24” in height. Found in acid or peat woods.
Trillium from Latin tres meaning “three” and lilium for lily., has petals, 3 sepals, 3 leaves.
Pioneers say the Native Americans used the plant to induce labor and treat other childbirth problems; Native Americans used the root to make an antiseptic for open wounds, sore eyes, ear drops, and internal bleeding.

BLOODROOT – Sanguinaria canadensis - Poppy family
Blooms March-May. The flower has 8 - 10 pedals, 6 - 12” heigh, and is white colored. The leaf unfurls after the flower appears. The root is poisonous (poppy characteristic) contains alkaloids related to morphine.
A red juice oozes from broken stem and was used as war paint; pioneers for fabric dye also mixed it with oak bark (containing tannin to set color). The Chippewas drank tea made from the root for stomach cramps; some made a tea to bathe burns; sore throat lozenge was made by squeezing juice on a lump of maple sugar; Early medical practice was used for asthma, warts, ringworm, eczema, and fungal infections.

ANEMONE – Buttercup family
Rue-Anemone - Anemonella thalictroides
Blooms March - May. A delicate plant with 2 or 3 flowers on a slender stalk above a whorl of small 3 lobed leaves. The 5 - 10 petals like sepals are usually whitish in color, but sometimes are shaded to a magenta pink. 4 - 8” in heights.
No medicinal uses by the Native Americans or pioneers. But the clusters of tubers have been harvested for food by both. Some times the tubers are called “wild potato”.
False Rue-Anemone - Isopyrum biternatum
Blooms April - May. Growing 1 1/2 feet tall, with its erect stem and branches having a distinct green color, False rue anemone has a fibrous root system with many scattered tubers. There are 3 to 9 leaflets per leaf and each leaflet is somewhat rounded in shape, with three lobes that are more deeply cut than those of the true anemone. The flowers are among the earliest of spring and are hard to distinguish from those of true rue anemone and woodland anemone. The flowers occur in loose clusters and have 5 white petal like sepals, but no true petals.
No medicinal or food uses of this plant by Native Americans or pioneers.
Woodland Anemone - Anemone quinquefolia
Blooms April - June. Is the earliest and smallest woodland anemone. The flowering stem growing 9” tall with three deeply cut leaves about halfway up the stem. Each stem is topped with a solitary flower that can be up to 1” across, with four to nine with to purplish pedals.
The Meskwaki Indians made tee of anemone roots for headache, dizziness and even for refocusing of crossed eyes.

SPRING BEAUTY – Claytonia virginica - Purslane family
Blooms March-May. Has a pair of smooth linear leaves midway up the stem. The petals are white or pink with darker pink veins. 6 - 12” in heights. Found in moist woods.
This is an important food source for wildlife. Native Americans and pioneers ate the tubers raw or boiled in place of potatoes; the tuber or bulb tastes like chestnuts. Leaves were eaten fresh in salads and as greens. Grizzly bears like the tubers, as do rodents. Grazing animals browse the greens.

CUT-LEAVED TOOTHWORT – Dentaria laciniata - Mustard family
Blooms April - June. Noted for its whorl of 3 leaves, each divided into 3 narrow, sharply toothed segments. 8 - 15” in height. Found in moist woods and bottoms. The flower has four white petals which take on a pinkish cast as they get older.
Tuber eaten raw tastes like a radish. Pioneers as an important seasoning ingredient in soups, stews, and other dishes used the tuber.

DUTCHMAN’S BREECHES – Dicentra cucullaria - Poppy family
Blooms April-May. Smooth slender stems come from a common point at around ground level to a height of 4 - 12”. Each stem is a leaf petiole that is topped with a smooth three-divided leaf. Each of these leaves is more deeply cut into linear segments. The perennial root system has a small divided bulb that is covered with scales. The flower stalks arch higher than the leaves carrying 4 - 10 flowers hanging in a one-sided cluster. The flowers are well described by their common name. The flowers are white but will sometimes be tinged with pink. There will also be a bit of yellow color where the petals of the breeches (flower) flare apart.
Native Americans did not make use of this plant this attractive and destructive plant. Early pioneers used the plant to treat urinary problems and as a poultice for treating skin diseases. This plant contains toxic alkaloids; it is sometimes eaten accidentally y cattle resulting in sickness.

SQUIRREL CORN – Dicentra candensis - Poppy family
Blooms April-May. Found growing in with Dutchman’s Breeches. The leaves closely resemble Dutchman’s breeches except they are finer, delicate, compact and more grayish in color. The flowers are more heart shaped and lack the spreading spur that Dutchman's breeches have. The flowers closely resemble the bleeding heart flower.
This plant is also poisonous, but less than Dutchman’s breeches. Tuber is the size of a kernel of corn is often eaten by mice that seem unaffected by the toxicity. In early European medicine this plant was used to treat menstrual complaints, skin problems, and syphilis.

WHITE TROUT-LILY – Erythromium albidum - (Dog-toothed violet) Lily family
Blooms April-June. Has only 1 small leaf for the first 2 -3 years, than the next 2 - 3 years it will have a 1 larger leaf, then after that two leaves are formed. The plant may not flower until it is 6 - 7 years old and only after it has two leaves. Leaves are mottled resembling a trout.
Native Americans ate the bulbs raw, boiled or roasted. Was used to treat gout.

WILD GINGER – Asarum canadens - (Indian ginger) Birthwort family
Blooms April-May. Two large leaves growing on hairy petioles up to 6” long. At the base of the two leaf petioles, a single flower will drop. A bell shaped flower that is maroon to rich brown in color inside and lighter outside. The outside is dull, rather than shinny and covered with stiff white hairs.
Pioneers used this plant as a substitute for Jamaica ginger. Roots can be made into a hard candy. Medicinally it was used for whooping cough, upset stomach, fever, and chest complaints. Native Americans made a contraceptive tea; a poultice was made with wild ginger and plantain for skin inflammations. An antibiotic substance has been found in this plant. For Meskwaki it was the most important seasoning, they also mixed it with meat of unknown death to eliminate danger of poisoning.

JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT – Ariseama triphyllum - (Indian turnip) Arum family
Blooms April-June. One to two leaves each with three pointed oval leaflets. This leaflets growing up to 7” long. A separate stalk carries the club-like spadix (commonly called the preacher or the jack). It is usually 2 - 3” long and covered with minute yellow flowers. A leaf-like spathe wraps around the lower part of the spadix but opens to expose the upper part. The open part extends up above the spadix and curves over it to form the “pulpit”. This spathe may be green, purplish-brown or striped. The fruit is a showy cluster of scarlet berries.
Corm was eaten after it was baked or boiled, peeled and powdered, then heated again, this was done to inactivate the calcium oxalate concentrations which when eaten raw create a severe stinging sensation in the mouth. Chippewas used this plant to treat sore eyes; others used the powdered root for headaches. Also it was used for snake bites, asthma, and rheumatism. Meskwaki's mixed the fresh roots with cooked meat in hopes that opposing warriors would eat it and become ill.

MAYAPPLE – Barberry family
Blooms May. Growing up to 18” high from large horizontal rootstock, this plant can have one or two large leaves per plant. Each leaf is broadly circular in shape and up to a foot across, has 5 - 9 deeply cut lobes. Each lob is veined and coarsely toothed. Single leafed plants do not bloom. The flower appears on a short stout stalk from the crotch of the stem. It has 6 - 9 waxy white petals.
The fruit is toxic until ripe (greenish-yellow) when it can be made into preserves or eaten raw. Native American used this plant to treat snakebites, syphilis, warts, urinary and bowel problems. The plant was boiled and the liquid poured onto potato plants as an insecticide.
I hope you are able to get out and enjoy spring and its beauty.Guide to Early Wildflowers

2010 Camping Season Fee's

Season Passes for 2010
$250.00 for the 2010 Camping Season Camping Season

Gilbertson Conservation Education Area
Gouldsburg Park
$12.00/night with electricity
$7.00/night without electricity
$7.00/night Equestrian Camping at Gilbertson

Dutton’s Cave Park
$8.00/night with electricity
$5.00/night without electricity

Goeken Park
Twin Bridges Park
Echo Valley State Park

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fayette County Conservation Board 2010

Fayette County Conservation Board – 2010 Board Members
Frank Olson, West Union
Donald Bunn, Maynard
Blake Gamm, Fayette
Jack Swanson, Arlington
Eric Boehm, Wadena

Full Time Staff 2010:
Rod Marlatt, Executive Director
Lonnie Robbins, Maintenance Supervisor
Dustin Schott, Park Ranger
Matt Ellis, Park Ranger - Gilbertson Conservation Education Area
Dawn L. Amundson, Environmental Education Coordinator
Sue Lueder, Office Manager/Naturalist
Jon Steege, Roadside Vegetation Manager
Jon Saboe, Assistant Roadside Vegetation Manager
Dan Harrington, Assistant Roadside Vegetation Manager

Main Office:
Wildwood Nature Center
18673 Lane Road
Fayette, Iowa 52142
Environmental Educaiton Program Headquarters:
Gilbertson Nature Center
22580 A Ave
Elgin, Iowa 52141

Welcome to the Fayette County Conservation Board's new Blog page!

This blog has been set up to help people of all ages learn more about the Fayette County Conservation Board; Recreational Areas that the Fayette County Conservation Board owns and / or manages; and Environmental Education Programs and materials avaible to the general public, schools, civic and youth groups and more.

To announce up coming events, public programs, fun things to see and / or do in the counties recreational, and more!

The blog may feature a Fayette County Conservation Board Recreational Area, an up coming event or program, staff information, board member information, and more.

The Fayette County Conservation Board encourages you to visit this blog at least once a week. The goal of the Fayette County Conservation Board staff is to list at least one new post a week if not more. So check back when you can!