Category Archives: Social

Geode Paddle Event by Jefferson County Conservation

Article by Jefferson County Conservation

Photo by Jefferson County Conservation: Two participants paddle for the takeout. You can see the rocks weighing down the back end of the kayaks.

Over twenty people took to the water in search of geodes along the Des Moines River. The ‘Geode Paddle’ was held on Friday, August 9th starting at 10:00am. Although the paddle was only 3.6 river miles, participants enjoyed the shorter route which allowed them to spend most of their time searching rock bars for fossils and geodes.  The paddle began at Bentonsport and ended in Bonaparte. Ryan Clark, geologist with the Iowa Geological Survey, led the paddle as he discussed the geology of Iowa and why we find geodes in this stretch of river.

Clark began by sharing an overview of Iowa’s geologic history. This timeline helped for participants to have a better understanding of why the geodes are found in this area and what rock layer to be looking in. Once Clark completed his talk, Brittney Tiller, Naturalist with Jefferson County Conservation gave a brief safety talk and summary of the day. Participants began launching shortly after the talk wrapped up.

Clark explained that the geodes came from the Warsaw Formation which is a grayish shale that can easily be eroded. Participants would paddle a short distance down river before stopping at a rock bar to search for nature’s treasures. After two stops of searching for geodes, participants stopped at another rock bar. This one had more limestone present which meant geodes were not as prevalent however fossils could be found in nearly every rock. From horn coral, crinoids, and brachiopods, the fossils were in abundance. Participants were excited to have a great mix of both fossils and geodes in their boats to take home. Two more rock bars were hit before taking out at Bonaparte.

With a very long waiting list, high interest, and participants which had such a great time, this topic is clearly a participant favorite. Participants seemed to be amazed that this stretch of river had so much to offer. Overall this was an extremely successful program which should be offered again.

Full Moon Paddling Adventures: “How To” Considerations

Full moon paddling is a fun and surreal experience.  If you are observant, watching the day critters go to bed and the night time critters take over, is part of the fun and excitement of paddling after dark. There is always a lot of beaver activity after sunset that is serendipitous to happen upon.

Finding a small lake to get started building confidence in night time paddling is a great idea for a first time event. If it is a State or County Park, finding out what time the park closes is one step in the preparations. Find out the Sunset and Moon rise times. The IWTA  Newsletter provides the times each newsletter or you can Google it.

Here is a planning list of considerations: 
 
  • Paddle with a buddy or group for safety
  • Dress for cooler night time temps
  • Avoid areas that have snags. Scout out the lake in advance.
  • Wear a head lamp plus pack a spare and/or batteries.
  • Whistles are a great safety accessory for attendees. Discuss signals in advance. S-O-S is typically three quick blasts.
  • Wear and securely zip your PFD
  • Paddle to the furthest eastern section of the lake for the closest view of the moon as it rises. It can take 30 minutes before you see the moon rise over the horizon. Be patient. If it is a cloudy night, you may not see the moon at all. Find out in advance if it will be a cloudy night. It gets very dark on the lake if the moon is not visible. Be prepared with extra lighting.   Be prepared for vessel reloading after dark. A lantern stored in your vehicle works great for the extra lighting needed to make the job easier.

Make an adventure out of it. Enjoy the night sky and full moon over a campfire with friends.  After you exit the water, go to the fire pit you pre-scouted for a campfire, post paddling. Supplies needed can include glow-sticks, local firewood, lighter and lawn chairs.

Food could be as simple as snacks, s’mores, marshmallows or hot dogs. Another option for a cooler evening; bring and warm chili over the fire. If you have unlimited time, a dutch oven inspired meal or dessert would provide a great late night activity.

Have fun!  Let me know how it turns out at iowawta@gmail.com.

 

Becoming An Outdoors Woman: Save the Date: May 3-5, 2019

Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop now accepting registrations

Registration is open for spring Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop, May 3-5, originating from the PZAZZ! Convention and Events Center, in Burlington.

 

While the focus of BOW is primarily for women, the workshop is an opportunity for anyone 18 years or older to learn outdoor skills.”This workshop is all about introducing new participants to the outdoors and building social support networks so skills learned can be applied to other outdoor opportunities throughout the year,” said Rachel Ladd, with the Iowa Departments of Natural Resources.  “It’s an excellent opportunity to try activities under the guidance of our top-notch instructors.”
Workshop courses include wilderness survival, outdoor photography, intro to archery, kayaking basics, orienteering, pistol basics, Dutch oven cooking, kayak fishing, explore bow hunting, backpacking and hiking, intro to fishing, canning, wild game and fish care, boater education and more. Attendees taking intro to fishing, kayak fishing or talking turkey hunt are required to have purchased a valid Iowa license prior to arrival.

 

A Friday evening auto tour through Heritage Hill National Historic District will highlight many architectural periods and styles in nearly 160 structures in the northern sector of downtown Burlington, and its most famous landmark, Snake Alley.

 

A Friday night reception, sponsored by Aldo Leopold Pheasants Forever Chapter and Parkside Brewing, will connect Iowa’s wild pheasant population and bees, and pollinators role in the art of brewing.

 

The cost of the workshop is $330 (single occupancy), $280 (double occupancy), and $250 (no lodging) before March 29. After March 29, registration is $300 and will not include lodging. The fee includes program materials, equipment, lodging and meals. Enrollment is limited to 115 participants. A limited number of $140 scholarships are available.

 

“Make sure to choose one class for each session, each class will show the number of seats still available and once a class has filled, it will be closed. Attendees will know what sessions they are in at the completion of the registration process,” Ladd said.

 

Early registration is encouraged as enrollment is limited and workshop spaces and lodging fill quickly.  Go to www.iowadnr.gov/bow to download a registration form, select classes and for more information on applying for a scholarship.

 

The event is being held in partnership with the Greater Burlington Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Des Moines County Conservation Board and the Iowa DNR.

 

For more information, contact Rachel Ladd at 515-729-6037 or Rachel.Ladd@dnr.iowa.gov.

Paddle Sport Expo Dates

South Central Iowa Expo:
Feb 8-9-10: Canoesport Outfitters 23rd Annual Iowa Paddlesport Expo, Indianola. Contact Jeff Holmes and the CSO staff at  info@canoesportoutfitters.com Details and printable presentation schedule at   https://www.canoesportoutfitters.com/
Feb 9: Nick’s Pre-Expo Breakfast Rendezvous, 7:30 am at Crouse Cafe 115 E. Salem in Indianola (3 blocks E of CSO). Annual gathering of old & new paddling friends enroute to Iowa Paddlesport Expo. Contact Nick Gaeta nick.gaeta@live.com
Feb 9: Iowa Whitewater Coalition (IWC) Annual Meeting at CSO Paddlesport Expo in Indianola, 5:00-6:00 pm. Agenda TBD. Open to visitors, but only IWC dues-paying members may vote. More info at  http://iowawhitewater.org
Feb 9: Nick’s Post-Expo Mexican Dinner, 5:30 pm at la Casa Restaurant 508 N Jefferson (Hwy 65) in Indianola. Annual gathering of old & new paddling friends following Saturday session of Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo. Contact Nick Gaeta by email.  nick.gaeta@live.com
Northeast Iowa Expo:
Feb 23: Indian Creek Nature Center “12th Annual Paddle Day,” in Cedar Rapids. Registration begins at 8:30am. Dr. Jim Pease confirmed as Keynote Speaker. Six break out sessions. Contact Sarah Botkin at sbotkin@indiancreeknaturecenter.org. Program info, advance ticket sales, directions at

Midwest Expo: 

Mar 8-10: Canoecopia in Madison, WI. Event info at http://www.canoecopia.com/canoecopia