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.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Northeast Iowa Poetry

Things at Osborne have been very busy with the Junior Naturalist Camps in full swing. Hope to have some updates and pictures from them soon. In the meantime, a night of refuge and inspiration was found while camping in a secluded valley on the Turkey River Watershed; creating this poem.  Wish we could all venture back to the times when the land was still wild and free.  Enjoy!

Relic Ridge
In a different day
a different time
you were mine
We were native lovers in another life,
Our spirits were young
our souls were old.
tonight I revisit
the spot where our
stories were told.

In a time when the world
was still sacred,
we shared the blessings
of the Driftless together.
We tickled ourselves with bluestems,
climbed the giant white pine
danced with the owl moon,
swam freely in a clear river
On relic ridge you were mine.

We followed the natural cycle.
in a country full of game
we blended our lifestyle with
perfect harmony
With open minds we
read the book of nature,
we were the oaks and prairies rooted deeply
in the Driftless soil.
Together we sowed the seeds of love,
we never let our food spoil;
for our impact was light and
our respect was deep for
the land which sustained us.

In a different day,
a different time
you were mine.
We were native lovers in another life,
Our spirits were young
our souls were old.
tonight I revisit
the spot where our
stories were told.

Centuries ago,
on this archaic limestone
our human lives were left behind
Nature is constant motion;
our bodies leave hope for
new life to be grown.
Now my spirit awakes with the
sun bringing dawn,
not with the sadness of
you being gone cause;
I won't forget the summer solstice
the sacred nights we shared
dancing in the ambiance of the Driftless.

In a different day,
a different time
you were mine.
We were native lovers in another life;
Our spirits were young
our souls were old,
tonight I revisit
relic ridge where our
stories are told.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Motor Mill

Just a quick note to remind everyone to visit Motor Mill this summer. Hidden in the Turkey River valley, the Motor Mill Historic Site is a peaceful natural area managed by Clayton County Conservation. Motor Mill features a six-story limestone flouring mill and four related stone buildings dating from the late 1860’s. The surrounding ground also includes a restored upland Oak Savanna to walk and has plenty of bird viewing opportunitites; camping is also available. Free tours are available Saturdays 9-5, Sundays 12-5 and holidays 9-5, two weekends/ month May-September or group tours by appointment.  Open weekends are:

June 26-27
July 3-4 July 17-18
July 31-August 1 August 14-15
August 28-29 September 4-6
September 18-19

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ornate Box Turtle Found

This Ornate Box Turtle was found crossing the road four miles west of Millville.  The children promptly picked it up and brought it into Osborne for identification and help.  After getting their picture taking and learning some facts about Ornate Box Turtle's the children returned the turtle to the area near where they found it.

Ornate Box Turtles are listed as a THREATENED species in Iowa and are very uncommon in Northeast Iowa.  They are Iowa's only fully terrestrial (land dwelling) turtle and are a good indicator species  These turtles prefer large open sandy habitats where they can bury themselves in the sand and also require sandy areas for reproduction/egg laying.  Due to few natural preditors Ornate Box turtles can live up to 50 years old-however Iowa's population is threatened because of the lack of sandy habitat available and car collisons.  

Thank you to the children who had the knowledge and caring to bring this special reptile into Osborne. I am sure they will not forget it-I know I won't.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Animals at Osborne Nature Center

If you have not been to visit Osborne Nature Center in the past few months, now is the time to bring the kids out to the NativeWildlife Exhibit. At the end of May, the Wildlife Exhibit became the new home for a raccoon and coyote. Both of these animals came from Minnesota Wildlife Connection in Sandstone, Minnesota. Even more exciting news broke this weekend, after the doe had a baby fawn.  ( It's a buck!)Fawns are unique because they do not smell. Having this adaptation helps keep predators away.

On Wednsday, the fawn was spotted lying quietly in the grass and resting beside her mother. Now is a great time to get a unique experience seeing the baby fawn; take time to bring the family outdoors to Osborne Nature Center to see the new animals.

Field Trips

Wishing on Dandelions

The last school field trip took place yesterday at Osborne Nature Center, bringing the end to a wonderful spring season of connecting children to the natural world. In 30 days the Osborne Nature Center had over 25 field trips visit the park.  Group sizes ranged from 12 kids to 170 kids and some came as far as 2 hours away to see the animals and nature.  The success of these field trips can be attributed to faculty and staff who recognize the importance of getting children outdoors. Many of the school groups are forced to do their own fundraising to cover the cost of the bus driver and gas; also many field trips would not be possible without Don Dunbar. Don is our most prominent volunteer at Osborne and his kindred spirit and stories are a joy to be around.  Thanks to all the teachers, administrators, parents and Don for helping children play outside. Remember to play outside this summer!