Public Programs/Events

Sioux County Conservation Board offers several public programs throughout the year, many times partnering with other local organizations. Most public programs are free of charge though some do require a small fee. Our public programs are designed to encourage people to get outside and provide opportunities to try new skills. Pre-registration is sometimes required so please pay close attention to the event you wish to attend. Pre-registration for events is found on mycountyparks.org.

Interested in helping out with a public program? Please see our Volunteer page for information on how you can get involved.

Upcoming Events:

Traveling Exhibit Display: Photography by Paul Brooke
Tuesday, July 2, 2024 - Wednesday, July 31, 2024
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

The Sioux County Conservation Foundation is happy to present the photography of Dr. Paul Brooke for the month of July!

This exhibit was taken during a week-long visit to Torres del Paine National Park, where Brooke photographed 12 different pumas. Some days he spent up to 9 hours with one animal (the big male) or walked along with Blinca (female) as she hunted for her two cubs. The wind was exhausting as it often roared through the region at 50 mph. His book, Pantagruelian: Photographs of Torres del Paine, will be released in mid-January and will be for sale. It features most of these photos.

Display will be in the upstairs meeting room. No charge. Available during open Nature Center Hours!

 

Ringneck Rendezvous 2024-NEW Location
Saturday, August 3, 2024
4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Rock Valley Sports Complex, Rock Valley IA

Due to the June Flooding in Rock Valley we have moved locations! The city of Rock Valley has allowed us to host this year event at their Sports Complex.  Hoping Rock Valley Gun Club finds a new location to build in the upcoming future! We will pass the hat for the Gun Club rebuilding at this event.

Archery, live animals, outdoor obstacle races, tossing games, water guns, trapping, dog training, LOTS OF PRIZES and more can be found at this annual event in Rock Valley. We are welcoming a live raptor demonstration, “Regalia International Birds of Prey” from Oklahoma to the event. Door prizes sponsored by local businesses will be given away after program. All items are purchased with the intent to be an item that will help a youth get outdoors!

A $10 registration fee for all youth and adults attending. First 400 kids will be accepted. Those of 5-8 years must have an adult present. All adults welcome. Pre-registration guarantees merchandise and chance at door prizes. Pre-registration opens approximately two months before event, and closes two weeks prior.   If registration is closed, you will have the option to WALK IN and register at the door until event is filled. Registration CLOSES at 4:45pm the day of event for all preregistered and walk in participants. Click here to register.

Event cosponsored by Sioux County Conservation Board, Sioux Prairie Pheasants Forever and Rock Valley Gun Club, Iowa DNR, and many local business and individual sponsors.

Weather related cancellations will be aired on 93.9 FM and Facebook.

 

Gourd Painting 2024
Saturday, August 10, 2024
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

This class is open to all skill levels.  You will learn how to create works of art with gourds while enjoying the view from the Prairie Woods Nature Center in Oak Grove Park. Instructor Dave Oppegard will provide all instructions and supplies needed, including easy-to-use templates to make a beautiful southwest style gourd bowl of your design. This year’s theme is Animal Designs of the Southwest. You will choose your own design elements, including bison, bears, birds, turtles, and many others. Beads, leather, woodburning, stones, pine needles, and other accessories will be available too.

This class is limited to 14 people ages teen through adult; the cost is $20 per person to be paid at the door. Everything you’ll need, including the gourds are supplied. If you have your own acrylic pens you are welcome to bring them along.

Please bring your own sack lunch and snacks. No red liquid allowed in the nature center.

Sign up by clicking here.

Hunter Safety Classroom Course
Tuesday, August 13, 2024
9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

All ages 11 and over are invited to join us for our annual Hunter Safety Education Course, at the Prairie Woods Nature Center from 9am-7pm. Must register at www.gooutdoorsiowa.com. During registration you will receive a link with the review questions to complete and bring to class. Class will cover firearm safety, hunting ethics, first aid, hunting laws, and more. We will also shoot shotgun and rifle. Students need a sack lunch and snacks, supper provided. https://license.gooutdoorsiowa.com/Event/Events.aspx

Registration will be open approximately two months prior to the event.

Book Discussion "The Seed Keeper" by Dian Wilson
Thursday, August 15, 2024
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

On a winter’s day many years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home. A widow and mother, she has spent the previous two decades on her white husband’s farm, finding solace in her garden even as the farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron—women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.

Co-sponsored by Hawarden Library. Do not have to read book to participate, but encouraged to do so. The Hawarden Library will have copies available for check out.

Pre-registration appreciated. 

SELF: Grasses
Tuesday, August 20, 2024
All Day
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

Independent Seniors! Are you looking for a great place to gather with friends? Come enjoy coffee, treats, fellowship and a short nature presentation.

Each month we will explore and learn about a different topic chosen by the SELFies. 

Morning session:10:00am
Afternoon sessions: 12:30pm & 2:30pm

SELF is held every third Tuesday of the month. Please Call to register, 712-552-3057 extension 2!

Wild Child Nature Series- August
Wednesday, August 21, 2024
All Day
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

Attention animal and nature lovers ages 2 through 5! Our Wild Child Nature Series is a nature based experience that will get your child exploring, moving, playing, and using their senses. An adult is required to join the child(ren). No fee. Pre-registration required.

Each month is a new topic!

10am and 1pm

Click here to Register online. Registration will open approximately two months before date. **If it is the day of event, please call 712-552-3057 to check for availability and register.

Dutch Oven Class at Sandy Hollow
Wednesday, August 28, 2024
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Sandy Hollow, Sioux Center IA

Learn a century-old method of outdoor cooking including basic supplies, care of the ovens, temperature control, and best recipes. Meet at Sandy Hollow Recreation Area east of Sioux Center at the open shelter near the west pond. Entry park passes will be waived during the program. This program will include some food prep and tasting. Minimum number of ten participants needed to be signed up by Monday, August 26, or program will not be held. Registration is required by signing up through the library. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult to attend. We would love to see families come.

Please bring reusable dinnerware (plate, cup, bowl, silver) and your own drink.  Participants will help prepare the dishes so don’t wear anything fancy. 

Class will be taught by Sunday Ford, Assistant Director/Environmental Education Coordinator, Sioux County Conservation Board.

 

Please click here for registration. 

Labor Day Weekend Family Nature Hike
Saturday, August 31, 2024 - Monday, September 2, 2024
All Day
Oak Grove, Hawarden Iowa

Sioux County Conservation Board will have a self-led Family Nature Hike set up on labor day weekend. This hike will start at the Prairie Woods Nature Center and participants will walk a loop to find cue cards. Nature trail is not stroller friendly. Partnership with Hawarden Chamber Big Sioux River Days Weekend.

 

Monarch Butterfly Program 2024
Saturday, August 31, 2024
9:30 am - 11:00 am
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

Join us Saturday morning with the family to learn about the monarch butterfly. This will be a two part morning, join us for one part or both!

  • Part 1: We will start with a program indoors on Monarchs their anatomy, their migration pattern, and why scientist are studying them.
  • Part 2: Weather and conditions permitting, we will hike the park roads, gardens and trails to see if we can assist scientist in tagging monarchs. We will cover how to tag them and provide nets! Part 2 of program cancelled if raining.

There is no cost for event, we have a limited number of nets for use. If you have your own net bring it along.

Pre-registration is not required, but appreciated. Please register by clicking here.

Camper Registration Opens for Trick or Treat Hike Oak Grove
Tuesday, September 3, 2024
All Day


Today is the day registration opens for our Camper Registration Trick or Treat event at Oak Grove (October 12):

Call 712/552-1047 starting at 8am to claim a spot. Each camper can register themselves and one other camper.

Campers will receive Friday and Saturday night free camping in exchange for enough candy/goodies for 800 children per campsite.

 

If you are looking to attend the Trick or Treat Hike at Sandy Hollow (October 5): NO Pre-registration for campers, first come first serve for ALL sites. Free Camping ONLY Friday and Saturday in exchange for enough candy/goodies for 600 children per campsite.

Dutch Oven Gathering
Saturday, September 14, 2024
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Turkey Ridge Campground Oak Grove Park, Hawarden IA

Calling all area Dutch Oven Cookers and curious onlookers! We will be hosting a Dutch Oven Gathering at Oak Grove Park. New format this year for judging and public interaction!

Cookers

  • Dishes categories include: breads, appetizers, main dishes and desserts.
  • NEW JUDGING method this year!
  • You must preregister by calling 712/552-3057 to sign up as a cooker. First 10 cookers will receive a free campsite at Turkey Ridge for Saturday night.

Public

  • Help cook a dish, or just ask questions, at the Naturalist Camp site starting at 3:30.
  • Join us for the judging and meal at 6! Bring a side dish to share!
  • Pre-registration is appreciated
SELF: Truth Behind Wives Tales
Tuesday, September 17, 2024
All Day
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

Independent Seniors! Are you looking for a great place to gather with friends? Come enjoy coffee, treats, fellowship and a short nature presentation.

Each month we will explore and learn about a different topic chosen by the SELFies. 

Morning session:10:00am
Afternoon sessions: 12:30pm & 2:30pm

SELF is held every third Tuesday of the month. Please Call to register, 712-552-3057 extension 2!

Wild Child Nature Series- September
Wednesday, September 18, 2024
All Day
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

Attention animal and nature lovers ages 2 through 5! Our Wild Child Nature Series is a nature based experience that will get your child exploring, moving, playing, and using their senses. An adult is required to join the child(ren). No fee. Pre-registration required.

Each month is a new topic!

10am and 1pm

Click here to Register online. Registration will open approximately two months before date. **If it is the day of event, please call 712-552-3057 to check for availability and register.

Travelling Exhibit- Monarch and Milkweeds
Monday, September 23, 2024 - Friday, October 4, 2024
12:00 am
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

The annual migration of the monarch butterfly has captured the human imagination and curiosity for centuries. How do they know where to go? Is it the same monarch that we see in our yards and neighborhoods that makes it all the way to Mexico? When do they know it’s time to return in the spring? In short, HOW DO THEY DO THAT? But their migration is only a part of their story.

Monarchs and Milkweed: A Story of Survival takes you on a journey into the world of butterflies and plants, and introduces the complex relationship between monarchs and milkweed. The exhibit explores how their very survival has been shaped over time by one another, as it tracks through the seasons of a calendar year revealing how both insect and plant grow and interact, culminating in a massive migration that crosses a continent.

Monarch butterflies have a unique, multi-generational annual cycle which means that this species of butterfly can migrate back and forth across North America each year, taking advantage of their favorite host plant’s growing season, region by region. The milkweed plant is the only plant that is eaten by a developing monarch caterpillar.

There would be no monarch butterfly without milkweed, but would there be milkweed without monarch butterflies?

This exhibit explores the complex relationship between these two entities, as they each fight for survival in their own unique way, impacting one another’s development or success at every turn. The popularity of monarch butterflies is far reaching. Through this familiarity, complex topics can be made accessible and easily discoverable for visitors of all ages.

The exhibit is comprised of informative graphics, greatly enlarged illustrations of monarch butterflies in all life stages along with their host and nectar plants.

We extend a BIG thank you to the Sioux County Conservation Foundation for sponsoring this traveling exhibit!

Tentative: Trick or Treat at Sandy Hollow
Saturday, October 5, 2024
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Sandy Hollow, Sioux Center IA

Join us for a fun evening of Trick or Treating. Ages 12 and under are invited to trick or treat in costume. The campgrounds are full of campers with friendly faces at each campsite and of course candy/goodies too. If you would like to be a camper, see below for details. Parking is provided. Trick or treating is from 5:30-7:30 pm. No pre-registration needed. Food truck available!

CAMPERS: First come First Serve for camping spots. Decorating encouraged, not required. Free camping Friday and Saturday night only in exchange for handing out 500 pieces of purchased candy/goodies. Campground gates close at 5:00 for event, no traffic in campground during.

Listen to KSOU 93.9 FM for weather cancellations.

Trick or Treat Hike at Oak Grove
Saturday, October 12, 2024
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Oak Grove Park Campgrounds, Hawarden Iowa

Join us for a fun evening of Trick or Treating. Ages 12 and under are invited to trick or treat in costume. Campground(s) will be full of campers with friendly faces at each campsite and of course pre-packaged candy/goodies too. If you would like to be a camper, see below for details. Trick or treating is from 5:30-8:00 pm. No pre-registration needed.

Campers can register first come first served the Tuesday after Labor day, starting at 8am by calling 712/552-1047.  They will need to provide candy for 800 kids in exchange for free camping, Friday and Saturday night.

Listen to KSOU 93.9 FM for weather cancellations.

SELF: Squirrels and Friends
Tuesday, October 15, 2024
All Day
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

Independent Seniors! Are you looking for a great place to gather with friends? Come enjoy coffee, treats, fellowship and a short nature presentation.

Each month we will explore and learn about a different topic chosen by the SELFies. 

Morning session:10:00am
Afternoon sessions: 12:30pm & 2:30pm

SELF is held every third Tuesday of the month. Please Call to register, 712-552-3057 extension 2!

Youth Pheasant Hunt
Saturday, October 19, 2024
7:30 am - 12:30 pm
Rock Valley Gun Club, Rock Valley Iowa

DUE TO FLOODING LOCATION WILL CHANGE– Please stay tuned!

 

We partner with Sioux Prairie Pheasants Forever and Rock Valley Gun Club on this day to give 12-15 year old Iowa residents, who have passed their hunter education course, a great pheasant hunt experience! The day starts with breakfast and a quick review of hunter safety and trap shooting. We pair youth with a mentor and hunting dog. Youth and mentor travel in groups to local hunting areas, both public and private, for the morning. Following the hunt, youth and mentors return to the Rock Valley Gun Club for lunch. Only a limited number will be taken so you must pre-register, registration will open approximately two months prior to event.

Register approximately two months prior to event HERE.

Please also print out the following forms:

registration

emergency form

SELF: Foraging Feast
Tuesday, November 19, 2024
All Day
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

Independent Seniors! Are you looking for a great place to gather with friends? Come enjoy coffee, treats, fellowship and a short nature presentation.

Each month we will explore and learn about a different topic chosen by the SELFies. 

Morning session:10:00am
Afternoon sessions: 12:30pm & 2:30pm

SELF is held every third Tuesday of the month. Please Call to register, 712-552-3057 extension 2!

SELF Game Day
Tuesday, December 3, 2024
All Day
Prairie Woods Nature Center, Hawarden IA

Independent Seniors! Lets spend this month revisiting our favorite facts from this year of learning!

All questions are multiple choice or true false. Work in groups. No time limit!

Morning session:10:00am
Afternoon session: 12:30pm

Please Call to register, 712-552-3057 extension 2!