2022 Summer Day Camp and Summer Camp Take Home Kit registration now OPEN!

Summer Day Camps

In the summer we offer nature day camps for different age groups. Day campers spend their days exploring the habitats of Iowa County, trying out exciting outdoor activities, discovering nature, and having fun!  Each week we will have different topics for the following age groups: Storytime (3-5 years old), Nestling (6-9 years old) and Jr. Naturalist (10-13 years old). See a list of this summers offerings below.

Summer day camps are limited to 10 campers, and all COVID-19 health and safety measures will be in place.

Pre-registration for summer day camp will open on April 1st on the follow website. https://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Iowa/Events.aspx

To complete registration a ICCB Summer Camp Health Emergency Form must be completed and turned in to mbulger@co.iowa.ia.us  The form can be found on the registration website page.

Once all materials and payment is received, you will receive a confirmation email with additional information and details about camp.

Email mbulger@co.iowa.ia.us with any questions.

2022 Summer Day Camps
Storytime 3-5 yrs old (with an adult)
Topic Date Time Location
  Bees June 14th 9-10a Lake Iowa Park
    Butterflies June 16th 9-10a Gateway Park
    Nature Art July 26th 9-10a Lake Iowa Park
    Nature Journaling July 28th 9-10a Gateway Park
Nestling Camp (6-9 yrs old)
Topic Date Time Location
Pollinators June 21st 9-11a Gunderson Wildlife Area
Pollinators June 23rd 9-11a Gateway Park
Nature Journaling July 19th 9-11a Gunderson Wildlife Area
Nature Art July 21st 9-11a Lake Iowa Park
Jr Naturalist Survival Series (10-13 yrs old)
Topic Date Time Location
Survival Basics Intro June 28th 9a-Noon Lake Iowa Park
Fire Basics and Primitive Fire Starting Techniques June 30th 9a-Noon Lake Iowa Park
Survival Shelters July 12th 9a-Noon Lake Iowa Park
Wild Edibles July 14th 9a-Noon Lake Iowa Park

Summer Camp Take Home Kits

Iowa County Conservation will be offering Summer Camp Take Home Kits this summer. All kits will be FREE, and made possible by the Friends of Iowa County Conservation Foundation!

We have put together some fun activities with take home kits so you can learn about and explore nature at home! Each week we will have different topics for the following age groups: Storytime (3-5 years old), Nestling (6-9 years old) and Jr. Naturalist (10-13 years old).

Kits will be distributed at Lake Iowa Park on Monday from 9a to Noon each day. Virtual resources and videos will also be sent by email for the topics as part of the summer camp kits.

Summer Camp take home kits are limited to 20 campers, and Pre-registration is Required. Pre-registration for summer camp take home kits will open on April 1st on this website. https://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Iowa/Events.aspx

You will receive a confirmation email if the kits are still available with additional information about the kit pick up times and location. Email mbulger@co.iowa.ia.us with any questions.

2022 Summer Camp Take Home Kit Pick-up
(All kits will be picked up from the Dale Noyes shelter in Lake Iowa Park)
Topic and Age Group Pick Up Date and Time
Pollinators (3-5 yr olds) June 13th from 9a-Noon
Pollinators (6-9 yr olds) June 20th from 9a-Noon
Survival Series (10-13 yr olds) June 27th from 9a-Noon
Survival Series (10-13 yr olds) July 11th from 9a-Noon
Nature Art & Journaling (6-9 yr olds) July 18th from 9a-Noon
Nature Art & Journaling (3-5 yr olds) July 25th from 9a-Noon



Gateway Park Arboretum Awarded a Level I Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program

Located on the north edge of Marengo, Gateway Park Arboretum has been awarded a Level I Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum, for achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens. The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. Gateway Park Arboretum is also now recognized as an accredited arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of the world’s arboreta and gardens dedicated to woody plants.

Gateway Park Arboretum was created in 2004 with a grant that was used to purchase 70 trees. A collection of conifers was donated and planted that same year. Today there are 36 different species of identified trees and shrubs including 10 species of oaks and 12 species of conifers. A walking trail runs through the arboretum and continues around a 41-acre lake that is part of Gateway Park and Preserve. A meditation garden provides space for trail walkers to pause and rest or reflect. Guided tree walks and educational activities are organized by Iowa County Master Gardeners and Iowa County Conservation Naturalists.

A guided Spring Tree Walk in conjunction with a distribution of free tree seedlings will take place April 23rd at 2 pm. There will also be a tree planting demonstration and door prizes.

Arboretum accreditation is an important step toward achieving the goal of educating the public about the importance and the beauty of trees and their place in the natural world.

About Gateway Park Arboretum

Gateway Park Arboretum encompasses 7.5 acres of trees, shrubs, and perennial gardens. It is nestled within Gateway Park and Preserve, a 131-acre property owned by Iowa County Conservation. More information and a map of trees at the arboretum can be found at this link: https://iowacountyconservation.org/things-to-do/our-properties/gateway-park-and-preserve/

About ArbNet
ArbNet is an interactive, collaborative, international community of arboreta. ArbNet facilitates the sharing of knowledge, experience, and other resources to help arboreta meet their institutional goals and works to raise professional standards through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. The accreditation program, sponsored and coordinated by The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois in cooperation with American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International, is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards. The program offers four levels of accreditation, recognizing arboreta of various degrees of development, capacity and professionalism. Standards include planning, governance, public access, programming and tree science, planting and conservation. More information is available at www.arbnet.org.

Floristic Inventory of Lake Iowa Park

Floristic Inventory for Lake Iowa Park

Lake Iowa park, managed by Iowa County Conservation (ICC), has acres of beautiful restored prairie, but it also has areas that could be true remnants, areas that were never cropped or disturbed. ICC obtained a grant from the Iowa Native Plant Society (INPS) to find out if there are any remnant areas left at Lake Iowa Park and how to best manage them. This information will create a baseline for data collection and help ICC create a management plan to help these remnant areas survive for generations.
Dr. Thomas Rosburg was chosen to complete the floristic inventory with a background including a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, masters in plant ecology and bachelor of science in Fish and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University. With his impressive resume and wealth of knowledge we were very pleased when he agreed to the survey, and with the monetary help of the INPS grant, ICC was able to afford the project.
Iowa County staff created a map that highlighted the areas most likely to have true remnant prairies. These areas were selected using GIS software, aerial imagery, and descriptions of Lake Iowa Park from previous staff members. Using this information, ten areas, 57 acres in total, were selected for study. Dr. Rosburg performed meandering plant surveys on June 5th, July 12th, and September 8th of 2019 to better capture the different growing seasons. He observed 245 different vascular plant species, including many native species.
Dr. Rosburg lays out evidence in his report that Lake Iowa Park may have remnant prairie, which is very exciting and encouraging news. His report includes how to manage these remnant areas. The most pressing issue is the encroachment of invasive species. Dr. Rosberg suggests using multiple stressors against the invasive species at the proper timing. Iowa County Conservation will put areas containing potential remnants at the top of the list when developing the management plan and deciding where to start fighting back against the invasive species that have taken hold in our areas.
We are very excited to see some unusual species and very pleased to know that we have remnant prairies still in Iowa County, Iowa, a place that has been so changed from the original landscape. Thank you very much for the hard work from Dr. Rosburg. Thank you to the Iowa Native Plant Society for making this project possible.


thumbnail of FinalReportLakeIowaPark_Rosburg2020 (1)

Link to Dr. Rosburg’s full report: https://iowacountyconservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/FinalReportLakeIowaPark_Rosburg2020-1.pdf

Iowa Nature Notes: Your LINC to the Outdoors

Our Iowa County Conservation Podcast Iowa Nature Notes: Your LINC to the Outdoors is ready for your listening pleasure on https://castbox.fm/.

If you are not the most tech savvy person, a podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device. It is similar to a radio show but you get to pick when you hear podcasts and you handpick the topics you like. There is an endless list of genres and topics for everyone.

Castbox.fm is just one of many apps that can be downloaded to your smart phone or tablet and is where you can subscribe to the Iowa Nature Notes: Your LINC to the Outdoors podcast. You can also just open the Castbox website on your computer and click on the Listen tab on the top right corner of the home page. Each month our staff will release a segment on a new topic relating to conservation and the great outdoors.

We have tackled 8 subjects to date covering topics ranging from animals such as owls and bobcats to natural phenomenon like bioluminescence. We’ve also touched on homesteading skills such as beekeeping and maple sugaring.

We are excited about the vast array of topics we can cover. We hope you learn something new every time you listen and find a new thing about nature to love and explore.


If you have a question or topic for us to tackle email us at iowacountyconservation@gmail.com.


“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught”-Babe Dioum