On behalf of the Clayton County Conservation Board and animals at the Osborne Nature Center, we welcome you to our new innovative blog. On this site you can find information regarding the facilities of Osborne and a Google Calendar showing the public events being held here. Videos and slideshows are also located on the bottom of the page. Subscribe to our blog or check back often to view new happenings at Osborne and within Clayton County Conservation. We hope you find this blog to be enjoyable and informative-Remember to play outside.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Junior Naturalist Camp

The Junior Naturalist Camp season has started at Osborne Nature Center. The Junior Naturalist Camp is held during the summer at Osborne. The camp is open to Clayton County 6-8th grade students. The Junior Naturalist program focuses on exploring nature and the environment. Activities are led by Naturalists at Osborne Center, local resource specialists and sportsmen. Each grade level has a different theme and participates in a variety of activities. Some activities include: geocaching, canoeing, tubing, archery, night hikes, Bird ID, and survival skills. Sign up quickly as the deadline is May 19, 2010.

For more information simply vist the LINK below for a copy of the Junior Naturalist Brochure. http://www.claytoncountyconservation.org/JNPbrochure10.pdf

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Camping in Clayton County

Each year, camping in Clayton County provides people with a variety of outdoor experiences. The Clayton County Conserveration Board currently owns and manages five parks that offer camping.  Bloody Run and Joy Springs are the two most widely used parks. Both parks include potable water, excellent scenery and good trout fishing. 

Motor Mill National Historic Site offers campers a historic place to camp and tour.  The campground is located deep in the Turkey River valley and offers good fishing with a restored upland oak savanna.  Water will be available soon after the new well is completed.

Friedens's and Buck Creek are the two most "primitive" campgrounds owned by Clayton County.  Both places are free to camp and provide no potable water. Instead, these parks provide users with a rustic experience of Northeast Iowa.   Frieden's park is located along the Turkey River and provides excellent fishing.  Buck Creek has lots of public acess for trout fishing and hunting. 

For more information click on the Clayton County Conservation Board's symbol located on the right side of this website or call 563-245-1516.

If you want to experience the beauty and wildlife of Northeast Iowa come camp Clayton County Parks; just one trip and you'll be hooked!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cardinals Kissing

Many avian species do numerous acts to court their partner, this is called "pair bonding".   One morning at my feeder I saw a male cardinal sharing his seed (mouth to mouth) with a female cardinal.  It was a laughable yet inspiring moment and has spawned this poem "Cardinals Kissing"

On the long lonely nights,
I’d wake well before the cold dawn,
Brew my coffee and
Let my thoughts carry on.
Watch the first sunray
Glisten the western hill,
Listen to your
Cheerful rhapsody,
Watch you feed
On treasures of safflower and sunflower seed.

A modest businessman, you sold your song and beauty
For the monthly seed price of 12.43.
The woods were your residence,
My feeders your cathedral,
You were the best winter minister, a radiance of inspiration.

Their was not a wind too strong or a snow too high;
That kept you from coming back to redden up my day.

You pardon the winter;
Because in spring,
All loneliness goes missing
when cardinals go kissing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Wildflowers

Smiles are all around, new sounds float in the air; but did you notice the forest floor no longer is bare?

To many, Iowa's spring woodland wildflowers are the ultimate treasure of early spring.  Many of these woodland wildflowers are called "spring ephemerals".  Ephemeral flowers are the early risers of the forest; they flower and fruit within one or two months.  Typically, they can only be seen above ground from April through the end of May.  Ephemerals bloom early when there are no leaves on the trees; taking full advantage of the nourishing sunlight and high soil moisture.  Due to the variance in early spring weather, ephmerals have developed many adaptations. The Bloodroot, a common spring ephemeral; has leaves around the main stem to trap warm air. Pasque Flower and Hepatica have tiny hairs to keep the plant warm. 

Not only are Spring Ephemerals pretty to look at, they help sustain many other forms of life. Bees and other insects pollinate Spring Ephemerals, hummingbirds pollinate Columbine. The seeds of many Spring Ephemerals are transported by ants in a process called "myrmecochory."  The fleshy organ of the seeds, attracts ants who then bring them to their nests where they eat the seed and discard the remains. This helps wildflowers by dispersearing the seeds to many places and protecting them until germination.

Enough of the talking; go take a walk in the woods and see what wildflowers you can discover-remember Spring Ephemerals can be "Here today, Gone tommorrw"

HEPATICA: Notice the "hairs"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bird Nestcams

If you enjoyed the Luther Bald Eagle Camera, or just plain enjoy watching nature; please take a moment to visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Nestcams.  Right now they have cameras set up for an Eastern Bluebird, Barn and Barred Owls, and a Eastern Phoebe.  ALL of these species breed in Iowa!  After your done watching, take time to look outside to see what nest you may find. 

Cornell Ornithology Link:   http://watch.birds.cornell.edu/nestcams/camera/index

Bluebirds-How we can give back.

Tru-ly,  cheer cheerful charmer, is the sound of the cheerfull Eastern Bluebird. Bluebirds first arrived in Clayton County nearly two weeks ago and are now looking for places to successfully nest and raise young. Many Iowan's can help aid in the success of nesting Bluebirds by creating and monitoring Bluebird boxes. This is a fun, exciting way to get further aquainted with the quintessential spring harbinger of Clayton County. Throughout their stay in Iowa, Bluebirds may have more than one brood of young; so do not fret if you can not put up a box right now.  Osborne Nature Center has blueboxes on display, and bluebox plans for visitors to use.