Please excuse the mess

We have started the process of moving our administration office to Starr's Cave Nature Center and as anyone who's ever done a home remodel knows, there's some mess involved. We started out by reorganizing some storage spaces we had in the building. We consolidated, purged, and rearranged to free up one storage room that will soon become office space for the Director. We emptied out another room that will become the staff kitchen. Doing so revealed some plumbing issues that we're tackling now. Once that's done, we will patch the walls back up (we had to cut holes to access the plumbing) and move ahead with putting things back together. But as it stands right now, we have materials and tools scattered and stacked around the first floor. We're still open, so come on by and check on the progress. 

The plan is to have things wrapped up by spring with new offices for the Director, Chris Lee, and the Administrative Assistant, Jeff Breuer. Our current admin office in West Burlington will revert back to the county once we vacate it. We're not sure what their plan is with it yet. Once the move is complete, all administrative operations including shooting range memberships and board meetings will be headquarted at the nature center. As you walk in the main door, Administration will be in an office to your left and Environmental Education will be to your right. By moving admin staff to the nature center, we'll save money by having one less building to run and we'll have staff at the nature center everyday which will allow us to keep the place open more than we do now. 

Ranger House Cabin almost complete

The work to convert the old Park Ranger residence at Big Hollow into a rental cabin is almost complete. We will likely open it for online reservations by February. The 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom ranch house will be available for rent year-round. Reservations will be made through, the same as our off-grid cabin and reservable campsites. The Ranger House Cabin is fully furnished. Renters need only bring clothes and linens. 

Once all renovations are complete and rentals go live online, we will host an open house/ribbon cuttin event to show it off to the community. Keep an eye to our Facebook page for that announcement. 

Radio Update on Eagle Watch Event:

Tune in to KBUR on January 9th at 7:25 am for an exclusive update on our upcoming eagle watch event. We're thrilled to share the latest insights and details about this fascinating event.

Spring Program Sign-ups:

Spring is just around the corner, and that means it's time for field trips! This year, we're taking a fresh approach to our programming, focusing on providing enriching experiences for students through field trips. Teachers can now sign up their classes or entire grades for exciting educational activities in the county parks. Starr’s Cave is a year-round wonder, but spring is especially magical for these outdoor adventures. Our program guide offers suggested activities, and we're more than happy to tailor experiences to ensure the best learning outcomes. Submit your requests today through our convenient Google doc.

Bald Eagle Program:

January holds a special treat for nature lovers - the chance to witness more Bald Eagles than usual! Join us on January 13th at 10:00 am at the Port of Burlington for a free bald eagle program. Our educational session will enlighten visitors about these magnificent creatures, followed by a viewing session at Lock and Dam 18. No registration is required for this FREE event, so mark your calendars!

Professional Development Break:

From January 23rd to January 25th, our conservation department will be attending professional development training in Coralville IA. This annual training is an invaluable opportunity for our staff to enhance their skills and knowledge in conservation. Please note that our offices will be closed during these dates.

January is shaping up to be an exhilarating month here at the Nature Center, brimming with educational experiences and opportunities to immerse yourself in nature. Whether it's learning about Bald Eagles, planning for spring field trips, or catching up on our radio updates, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

We can't wait to share these enriching experiences with you all. Join us as we embrace the new year with open arms and a deep appreciation for the natural world that surrounds us.

Stay tuned for more updates, and don't forget to mark your calendars for these exciting events!

published Monday, January 8, 2024

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