Advanced Training

*Idea: You may be able to get involved in a volunteer capacity for some events. Consider contacting the organization to ask if they need any help.*

**Please check event pages listed and/or with listed contact person, in case of any schedule changes or cancellations.**

We sometimes add events mid-month. To link to a rolling google document with the most complete list of events, click here




Tuesdays7pmBeginning Birder Course Series(Conservation Education Center, F.W. Kent Park)
The Iowa City Bird Club annually offers this 6-week Introduction to Birding Course. There will be six Tuesday evening sessions along with six weekend field trips to area birding hot spots. Each evening session is $5 for adults and free for children. Iowa City Bird Club members receive free admission (a one-year membership to the club is $15 per family – or $10 for students – for a print subscription to the newsletter; there is a discount to $10/year for those that select email subscriptions). Participants may attend all sessions or pick one or more to attend. Advance registration is requested. Please call the Conservation Education Center at 319-645-1011 by noon of the Tuesday session. Handouts and refreshments will be provided. Come to class early and bird the 1/2 mile limestone path near the Conservation Education Center.
Tues, April 9, 7pm– Session IV: Backyard & Feeder Birds. More info here.
Tues, April 16,7pm– Session V: Birds of Terry Trueblood & Waterworks Park.More info here.
Tues, April 23,7pm– Session VI: Warbler Identification & Review. More info here.

ONGOING – Survey/Monitoring Training
Frog and Toad Call Survey Training
There is a $5 fee to cover workshop materials. For more information, go to

  • Mon, Apr 8,6:30PMWapsi River Environmental Center, Scott County Conservation, 31555 52nd Ave., Dixon, IA 52745
  • Tues, Apr 9,6:30pmBoone Wildlife Research Station, 1436 255th St, Boone IA 50036 (by Ledges State Park)
  • Sat, Apr 13,6:30PMSioux County Conservation, Oak Grove Lodge, Oak Grove Park, 4051 Cherry Ave., Hawarden, IA 51023

Bald Eagle Nest Monitoring Training

There is a $5 fee to cover workshop materials. For more information, go to

  • Sat, Apr 13,9:30am-12:30pmSioux County Conservation, Oak Grove Lodge, Oak Grove Park, 4051 Cherry Ave., Hawarden, IA 51023.

Iowa Butterfly Network Survey Training
The Iowa Butterfly Survey Network (IBSN) conducts research using volunteer citizen scientists of all skill levels to collect data for yearly population surveys of butterfly species in the state of Iowa. Volunteers are trained in survey techniques specifically developed for butterflies.  In 2018, IBSN participants surveyed 61 sites across the state. Our ultimate goal is to have at least one survey site in each of our 99 Iowa counties. For more information or to register for a training workshop go to

  • Sat, Apr 6 1pm-3pmRobert A Lee Recreation Center, 220 S Gilbert St, Iowa City IA.  
  • Sat, Apr 13 9am-11:30amReiman Gardens, Ames


Sat, Apr 6, 7:30 PM Star Party Harvest Preserve Iowa City .  IMN grad, Carolyn Buckingham (Fall 2018) and friends at Turkeyfoot Folk School are hosting a free star party where folks can learn how identify heavenly bodies and other features of the night sky. For details, go to this link:

Fri-Sun, Apr 12-14 All Day“Cultivating Innovative Restoration Connections in the Midwest” – SER conference (Central College, Pella)
Please join us for the eleventh annual meeting of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) Midwest-Great Lakes Chapter.  Our goal for the meeting is to explore how to foster the development of innovative restoration connections ecologically, culturally, and professionally to enable the field of restoration to meet future challenges. More information, agenda, and registration here.

Fri, Apr 12,8-10pmVan Allen Public Observing(Van Allen Observatories, Van Allen Hall, Iowa City)
Join us for our first observing night of the Spring semester! We’ll be looking at the Moon, the Orion Nebula, Mars and more! We do not take reservations. The event will take place even if it is cloudy. If rainy, event will be canceled. These events are free and open to everybody! Come and go as you please! Fb event here.

Sun, Apr 14,1-3pmSay YES to Foraging in Spring(Conservation Education Center – F.W. Kent Park – Oxford, IA)
Take a walk with a JCC naturalist and learn about some of the foods and medicines that can be foraged in spring! This program is outside and features a walk over uneven terrain. Registration is required; email to register. More info here.

Sat, Apr 20
9am-11amRegion 6 Iowa Prairie Network (IPN) Field Trip(Cedar Bluffs State Preserve – Mahaska County)

Meet at Eveland Access, which is 4 miles southwest of Beacon on T39. Beacon is just southwest of Oskaloosa or join us at Cedar Bluffs if you know how to get there. Cedar Bluffs is known to have Bishops cap, Bellwort, Squirrel Corn, Snow Trillium and Walking fern in addition to many of the more common species. There is also a pond where spring peepers can be heard (usually loudly) We hope to be lucky enough to see any or all of these. Questions? Contact Pam White at or 641-673-3508 or 515-771-8696. More info here.

We. Apr 24,7-8pmGive a Hoot About Owls and Their Habitat(Wickiup Hill Learning Center – Toddville, IA)

Give a hoot about owls and their woodland habitat! Unravel their mysterious lives, discover why trees play an important role in owl habitat and then learn how to call an owl. Get your hands on wings, talons, owl pellets and more. We will then head out on the trail to try and call in some owls. Dress for the weather. Ages 10 and older. Register with Trees Forever at and to see the full list of Earth Week Blitz events.

Thur, Apr 25, 6:30-8pmPresentation on Tree ID, Pruning, and General CareVan Horne Public Library (114 Main St, Van Horne, IA)
Led by IMN grad Phil Shaff (Fall 2018) . This workshop is free and open to the public. Phil is super-knowledgeable and a great communicator so come prepared to learn a lot!


Sat, Apr 27, 8pmCedar Amateur Astronomers Presentation(Palisades-Dows Observatory)
Topic: Cosmic Mayhem: Supernovae, Active Galactic Nuclei, and Other High-Energy Events That Have Shaped Earth’s History. More info here.

Sun, Apr 28,12:30-3:30pmBird Banding(Indian Creek Nature Center)Join ornithologists Dr. Neil Bernstein and Dr. Anya Illes for a special bird banding program. Be our guest and drop in anytime during the window of time to watch Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Illes net, band, and release birds from Nature Center property. You’ll get a chance to see the equipment they use, observe the banding process, and learn about the importance of banding. You’ll also get an up close look at the birds! Children and families are welcome to join in on the fun. Banding is a weather-dependent activity. This program is free and open to the public; free will donations are welcome.

Wed, Apr 30,6-7:15pmNature Stroll: The Sounds of Iowa Frogs and Toads(Indian Creek Nature Center)
Springtime gets a bit noisy when the frogs and toads of Iowa sing in unison! Do you know what types of frogs and toads we have at the Nature Center? Do you know the differences between frogs and toads? Join Program Assistant Spencer Willits on this guided hike around our wetland as we explore these amazing amphibians. We’ll collect a few species and take an up-close look! Dress for the outdoors and bring a water bottle. Meet at the gravel wetland parking lot, across from and slightly southwest of Amazing Space on Otis Road. M $4; NM $6; Children 3-12 $2. More info here.


Wed, May 1, 6-8pmNoxious Weeds and Invasive Plants Identification Workshop (Central Park Nature Center – Center Junction, IA)
This workshop will cover problem plants found in a range of habitats including backyards, forests, fields, shorelines and parks. Find out about the methods and tools used by noxious weed control specialists to effectively control these challenging weeds. This class will be helpful for anyone seeking to control these problem species and for those simply interested in learning more about noxious weeds and invasive species. More info here.

Sat, May 4, 9am-NoonPrairie States Mushroom Club Foray (Wickiup Hill Learning Center)

Marty Augustine of the Prairie State Mushroom Club will lead participants on a search for fungus at Wickiup Hill on this morning. Meet inside for a program on mushroom identification. Then we will head to the woods to see what we can find. Of course, at this time of year many folks thoughts will be on the tasty morel mushrooms – though we will see many other kinds of fungi as well. We will learn a bit more about local mushrooms and what was located at the end of the program – who knows, maybe someone will even share their favorite spots? Bring a container to collect mushrooms and dress for conditions that may include ticks, mosquitoes and poison ivy. More info here.

Sat, May 4, 10am-1pmPrairie States Mushroom Club Foray (Muscatine Discovery Park – 3300 Cedar Street, Muscatine)

Dave Layton leads a foray at Discovery Park and adjacent Butler Park woods, 10 AM – 12 AM foray followed by brown bag lunch and species identification with presentation at 1PM. Dave will also treat attendees to Grifola snacks during the presentation. Meet at the Environmental Learning Center. There is no charge for this family-friendly event, but pre-registration is requested by calling (563) 264-5922 or emailing Children must be accompanied by an adult. More info here.

Thurs, May 16,6-8pmCodfish Hollow Prairie Walk near Maquoketa
More info here.

Fri, May 17,6-7pmPlant, Grow, Fly Program in Indianola(Warren County Conservation and Annett Nature Center, 15565 118th Ave)
Join Blank Park Zoo & WCCB to learn about native prairie plants, pollinators, and how you can create your own butterfly habitat.  Plant, Grow, Fly is a conservation initiative to help protect our native pollinators. You will also learn how to register your garden.  Every plant helps, so the first 20 participants registered will receive a free native prairie plant. Register by May 16 at or by calling 515-961-6169. Free event.

Sat, May 25, 9am-Noon,Spring Bird Banding(Conservation Education Center – F.W. Kent Park – Oxford, IA)

Spring is a great time to observe birds, especially those migrating through! This spring, join federally certified bird banders for an opportunity to learn about and see songbirds up close. The program will demonstrate the safe practices of banding through observation of banding equipment, operations, and viewing banded birds. Participants can come and go as their schedules allow, and no registration is necessary. This is a free program; for more information, call 319-645-1011. More info here.

Fri, May 31 – Sun, June 2:  Loess Hills Prairie Seminar

More info at



Sat, Jun 8, 1-2pmRaptor Meet and Greet (Conservation Education Center – F.W. Kent Park – Oxford, IA)
Join the folks at Raptology and meet a real live bird of prey! Stop in at the Education Center any time between 1 and 2 p.m. to get up close and personal with some of Iowa’s native raptors. No registration is necessary. More info here.

Fri, Jun 14,7amBird Watching Hike(Wickiup Hill Learning Center – Toddville, IA)
Naturalist Gail Barels and Cedar Rapids Audubon birder Jim Durbin will lead this leisurely, dawn hike along the trails at Wickiup Hill. Discoveries could include nesting birds, ducks or geese in the wetlands or a unique bird at the feeders. All ages. Cost: $2.50/adult, $1 for children 16 and under or $5 per family. Registration deadline June 12. More info here.

Jun 18-20:Cyperaceae & Juncaceae Workshop (Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt – Maxwell, IA)

June 18 | 9:30 am – 6 pm, June 19 | 8 am-6 pm, June 20 | 8 am – 2 pm. Cost: $125 (before May 18); $150 starting May 18; $50 for students.

Dr. Tom Rosburg (Drake University) and Dr. Bill Norris (Western New Mexico University) are offering a three day Cyperaceae Identification Workshop on the Carex genus and larger Cyperaceae (sedge, bulrush, spike-rush, nut sedge) and Juncaceae (rush) families. Students will engage in hands-on exercises to build understanding of descriptive botanical terminology and the ability to correctly use plant keys. Field work will address topics in Cyperaceae ecology, plant species habitats and distribution, plant adaptations and interactions, and plant collection and voucher preparation. The course is designed to accommodate beginners as well as provide an advanced curriculum for professional conservationists and avid amateurs

Pre-registration is required. Registration is available online at If you need assistance while online, call 515/323-5300. This event is sponsored by Polk County Conservation. The class will be held rain or shine. Questions? – Call Doug or Lael at 515-967-2596 or email

Sat, Jun 22,10am-2:30pmIowa Native Plant Society (INPS) Trip to Twin Oaks in Warren County

Twin Oaks is a private property located in SE Warren County. There will be more details forthcoming, including an address. More info here.

Fri, Jun 28,7amBird Watching Hike(Pinicon Ridge Park)
Meet naturalist Gail Barels and Cedar Rapids Audubon birder Jim Durbin in the boat rental parking area for a morning hike along the Wapsipinicon River and through the forested trails of Pinicon Ridge Park.  Cost: $2.50/ adult, $1.00 for children 16 and under or $5.00 per family. More info here.

Sat, Jun 29, Time TBDIowa Native Plant Society Trip to Kent Park (F.W. Kent Park)

Field trip to Kent Park, Johnson County, to examine  native and planted prairies in the park. Joint field trip with INPS and Friends of JCCB.

It will be led by JCCB restoration manager Dave Wehde, who is passionate about plants and restoration and is in charge of Kent Park. Time and more details will follow. More info here.