Thursday, December 29, 2016

WANTED! Your Real Christmas Tree

We are looking for Christmas trees for fish structure at Gilbertson Conservation Education Area.

If you are looking to get rid of your Christmas tree make sure the decorations are all off.

Drop it off next to the shelter by the petting zoo. 

Thank you in advance!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Map 2016 Public Hunting Boundaries at Gilbertson Conservation Education Area

Here is a link to a map of the 2016 Public Hunting Boundaries at the Gilbertson Conservation Education Area.

This is a PDF downloadable / printable black and white map.

Monday, November 7, 2016

$100,000 Grant Received for Trail Project in Fayette County

Fayette County Conservation has been awarded a $100,000 grant from Iowa Resource Enhancement and Protection, commonly referred to as REAP.

REAP invests in projects that enhance and protect Iowa's natural and cultural resources.  15% of REAP is set aside for grants to cities and counties for projects that help establish natural areas, and encourage outdoor recreation and resource management.

This grant was made possible through the Fayette County Conservation Board’s partnership with the Turkey River Recreational Corridor (TRRC) and Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D). The grant money will be used for expansion of the TRRC Trail from the City of Elgin to Gilbertson Conservation Education Area through the construction of a pedestrian bridge across the Turkey River and a paved walking trail through the park complex.

This money will not only benefit Elgin and Fayette County residents, but also visitors to the TRRC.  It will create pedestrian and bicycle connections so residents and visitors can safely and comfortably move between Elgin and Gilbertson Park. This project is part of a larger initiative to develop, improve, and add to the Northeast Iowa trails system that will eventually span from Guttenberg and the Cassville Ferry to Lanesboro, Minnesota.

In its 27 years, REAP has benefited every county in Iowa by supporting over 15,000 projects. REAP has funded these projects with $250 million in state investments, leveraging two to three times the amount in private, local and federal dollars.  Collectively, these projects have improved the quality of life for all Iowans with better soil and water quality; added outdoor recreation opportunities; sustained economic development; enhanced knowledge and understanding of our ecological and environmental assets, and preservation of our cultural and historic treasures.

Local Contact is: Rod Marlatt, Fayette County Conservation Director

Friday, October 14, 2016

Haunted Maize Maze

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Time: 6 PM till 9 PM

Cost: $5

Hot chocolate and apple cider & hot dogs free
22580 A Ave.
½ mile East of Elgin, Iowa

Must be with a school, a non-profit community organization OR church
 Let me know what group they represent to get reimbursed

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New Facebook Page - Check it Out!

Here is our new Facebook page.

Check it Out and We hope You will Like the Page!  Thank you!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Some of the 2016 Petting Zoo Animals

These are some of the animals you can see at the Petting Zoo located at the Gilbertson Conservation Education Area.

The Petting Zoo, Gilbertson Nature Center, and Historical Buildings are open for the 2016 season: Wednesday - Sunday, 11 AM - 7 PM or by Appointment by Calling: 1-563-426-5740 or e-mailing:

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

2016 Spring, Summer and Fall Calendar of Events

For more information about the events listed below contact: Dawn L. Amundson, Environmental Education Coordinator, Gilbertson Nature Center, 22580 A Avenue, Elgin, Iowa 52141, 563 – 426 – 5740, E-mail:

Monday, May 6, 2016 = Petting Zoo, Gilbertson Nature Center, Mavis and Conner Dummermuth Historical Building and Hart Dummermuth Historical House Open for scheduled field trip groups only.

Saturday, May 28, 2016 = Gilbertson Nature Center, Mavis and Conner Dummermuth Historical Building, Hart Dummermuth Historical House, and Petting Zoo open for the summer season, Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Monday, May 30, 2016 = Gilbertson Nature Center, Mavis and Conner Dummermuth Historical Building, Hart Dummermuth Historical House, and Petting Zoo open for the summer season, Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Friday, June 3, Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5, 2016 = Free Fishing Weekend, Iowa
Residents Only.  Annually the Iowa DNR host Free Fishing Days, for Iowa residents only, during the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of June.
All fishing regulations must be obeyed.

TBA = Country Heritage Maize Maze Opens, Times to be announced, Contact: 563-419-1133

Monday,July 4, 2016 = Gilbertson Nature Center, Mavis and Conner Dummermuth Historical Building, Hart Dummermuth Historical House, and Petting Zoo open for the summer season, Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Monday, September 5, 2016 = The last day the Petting Zoo is open for the season.
The Gilbertson Nature Center, Mavis and Conner Dummermuth Historical Building and Hart Dummermuth Historical House buildings will now be open when the Maize Maze opens the buildings or appointment only.  Once the Maize Maze closes for the season the buildings will only be open by appointment.

TBA = Haunted Maize Maze, Times to be announced, contact: 563-419-1133

Thursday, April 14, 2016

2016 Seasonal Camping Rates for the Fayette County Conservation Boards Parks

Gilbertson Conservation Education Area
Gouldsburg Park
$15.00/night with electricity
$10.00/night without electricity
$10.00/night Equestrian Camping at Gilbertson Conservation Education Area

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

Goeken Park
Twin Bridges Park
Echo Valley State Park

For more information contact:
Wildwood Nature Center
563-422-5146 or 563-425-3613

Gilbertson Nature Center

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Horse Plowing in the Maze Maize in 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Rain Dates: Saturday, April 30

Across from the Gilbertson Nature Center
22580 A. Ave.
½ MILE EAST OF Elgin, Iowa

    The Maize Maze is planning to plow with horses.

    The theme for the Maize Maze this year is “Amazing Iowa Barns”.

    Also planning to demonstrate planting with a horse drawn or small tractor drawn 2 row wire check corn planter like our ancestors used.

    Public is welcome to come and watch.

For more information contact:
The Maze Master
Laverne swenson

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hunter Education Safety Class

The Class is now Full as of 2/29/2016
Hunter Education
Safety Class
Gilbertson Nature Center
Saturday, March 5, 2016,
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday, March 6, 2016, 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Participants must Pre-Register by February 29, 2016 to be able to participate in the class.

Participants must Pre-Register on line by going to the following link:

Once you or your child are registered  online to take the class please remember to contact the Gilbertson Nature Center at 563-426-5740 or e-mail: to make arrangement on how the student can get a study guide to do the required chapter reviews for the first day of class.

Hunter Safety Education Class is required according to Iowa law; any one born after January 1, 1972 is required to complete and pass a Hunter Education Safety Class to be able to purchase an Iowa Hunting License.  This certification will also meet the requirements of other states.

Participants must be a minimum of 11 years of age.

This is a Regular Classroom Hunter Education Safety Class NOT an Internet Field Test.

Attendance is required for each of the full two days!

For information call Dawn at the Gilbertson Nature Center at 563-426-5740 or e-mail:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Snowfest at Osborn Park

Saturday, February 6th, 10 am-3 pm
Reservations Required, Equipment Fee: $1 per clinic

The Clayton and Fayette County Conservation Boards will co-sponsor a fun day in the snow on Saturday, February 1st.  Snowfest activities include clinics to learn to cross-country ski or snowshoe, plus sledding and more.

Both clinics will be offered twice, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Choose from cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, or come all day and do both. Participants can use equipment provided for a $1.00 fee per clinic or bring their own equipment.  Before or after the clinics, head over to the pond with your sled or enjoy some hot soup, prepared by the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness initiative.

Skiing participants will learn about ski equipment, helpful recovery techniques, and the kick and glide method with Fayette County Naturalist Dawn Amundson.  Then go for a glide on the trails around Osborne Park.  Or try out Clayton County Conservation’s snowshoes with Naturalist Kenny Slocum.  Come learn about the history of snowshoes and how fun they are to use.  Equipment and sizes for all clinics are limited, so sign up early to ensure the correct size.

Participants must pre-register in order to participate in the clinic(s) of their choice.  The following information is required about each person participating: the clinic and time to participate, first and last name, phone number and shoe size (please indicate men's, women's, or children's).  Please call the Osborne Nature Center at 563-245-1516 for more information or to pre-register.  It is a fun way to exercise this winter while getting in touch with nature.

Please contact (563) 245-1516 to pre-register for one or more of these two clinics.
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
snowshoeing or skiing
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
snowshoeing or skiing

 Osborne Nature Center is located on HWY 13 five miles south of Elkader. The center is open from 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday-Saturday. For more information on events call 563-245-1516 or visit

Monday, January 11, 2016

Winter Birding and Wildlife Program

Date: Saturday, January 23, 2016
Location: Fayette County Extension
Time: 10 AM

Winter can be a good time to enjoy viewing our bird and animal wildlife, plus a nice way to appreciate our great natural resources right here in our own backyards and parks. To better help you learn more about how to enjoy, recognize and support our winter wildlife natives and visitors, come to the Fayette County Extension Office. This meeting is free and open to the public.

Program presenters include Dawn Amundson, Elgin, Fayette County Conservation Board Environmental Education Coordinator, and Ron Lenth, Oelwein, Iowa State University Extension Coordinator. Topics to be covered include identification keys, tips on successful feeding and devices, habitats for survival and attracting wildlife. Whether you are just beginning to better appreciate our outdoor creatures, or a seasoned veteran, there should be something for all ages to learn.