Enjoy Summer!

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It’s been just over 2 months since the first ever Iowa Outdoor Youth Summit; at least two young Iowans attended the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit and Festival in New York City, and summer is here with especially surprising weather. Here it is the 4th of July and summer officially half over. Impossible; my garden isn’t even all mulched! So far … Read

Speak Your Mind

Martha McCormickOutdoor Education, Social Justice1 Comment

Nature hike

Polk County Conservation is collecting input from the public about renovations for Yellow Banks Park in the southeast part of Polk County, and for Thomas Mitchell Park in Mitchellville, the eastern part of the county. You can fill out a survey here– Yellow Banks Park Survey Thomas Mitchell Park Survey …and you can see the survey results here– Yellow Banks … Read

Join the Movement

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Go outside! It’s spring, and Iowa is joining a broad based movement to renew a close, personal relationship with the out of doors. April 10-11–As part of Iowa’s “Reconnecting Children with Nature” effort, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Next Step are organizing the Iowa Outdoor Youth Summit. The goal of the event is to bring groups of youth … Read

Ride a Bike

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Sanibel Island Shells

I remember the first time I rode down the hill toward the city park after my dad took my training wheels off. Such a feeling of exhilaration and freedom! I still like to ride my bike, and that feeling has never gone away. I got back into cycling in 2008, and rode 110 miles of the MS 150 in eastern … Read

Embrace Winter

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Birdhouse in winter

It’s been an especially cold winter in many places, but kids (and adults) can have fun and get healthy by going outside even in frigid, snowy weather. Each winter I resolve to renew my relationship with my skis, toboggan and ice skates. This winter looks like it might be a good time to keep that resolution! Ray Morley and his grandkids … Read

Find Refuge

Martha McCormickOutdoor Education1 Comment

I just applied to make my yard a certified wildlife habitat. I figured I might as well, since the deer have plucked my rosebuds one by one this summer and fall. Really, it’s a small step toward taking better care of the outdoors. I started the process about three years ago when a group of friends and I removed an … Read

Go Outside!

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Last week my friend Anne and I built a “pondless waterfall” in my backyard. I had a great time digging in the dirt, getting muddy from top to toe and watching my little Tater cat explore the waterfall as it came into being. As I built it, I thought about my young friend Isaac playing in it when the weather … Read

Go Outdoors!

Martha McCormickOutdoor Education1 Comment

The naturalists at Polk County Conservation are some of my favorite people to work with. I’ve facilitated adventure education programs with them, canoed, and learned to use GPS in parks throughout Polk County. Some of the parks make you say, “I can’t believe this place is only 20 minutes from my house!” They work to make kids and adults more comfortable … Read

See Polk County Conservation Surveys

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Echinacea and Rudebeckia in my backyard

This program evaluation measures progress of clients toward goals of– deeper respect and connection with nature sharing knowledge and experience with others becoming greener in their behaviors around energy and the environment. Patrice Petersen-Keys, the other naturalists at Polk County Conservation and I have worked on this during the last couple years, here are links to surveys– Participant Survey 2011 Teacher Survey … Read

PCC Surveys & Results

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Bugs are cool

These are the links to the Polk County Surveys– Participant Survey Podcast Survey Teacher Survey Green Arts Program Survey And links to the results Participant Survey Results (2009) Participant Survey Results (Short Term Involvement 2008) Podcast Survey Results Participant Survey Results (Long Term Involvement 2008) Teacher Survey Results Green Arts Program Survey Results