Help us raise $5000 in honor of Earth & Arbor Day

While it may not look it — our woodlands still bear the scars of the storm’s ferocious winds — we have achieved so much since the 2020 derecho, and are excited to share the progress we’re making to restore and rebuild our precious woodlands. 

Last June we were able to reopen some of our trails — the upland woodland trail being the only trail currently closed. We created a new trail, the Cedar Overlook trail, which boasts a view of the Cedar River which was obscured by trees prior to the derecho. Plans are in place to add another trail in our nearby Věčný Woods property down Otis Road (on the corner of 44th St SE), along with 2.5 acres of restored prairie — a project that is already underway. We were able to clear and pile debris for wildlife habitat, stock up on firewood for years to come, create a new playscape for Creekside Forest School, relocate the apiary to Etzel Sugar Grove Farm, and add staff to our land team (have you met Trail Coordinator Sydney Foster and Trail Builder Gabe Anderson?).

We’ve accomplished so much, but our work doesn’t end there. The project list is long, and focuses on: 

  • Continuing forest restoration, including cutting and piling dangerous and downed trees.
  • Rebuilding our woodland trails to create safe and scenic ways for people to experience the woods. 
  • Planting the new Věčný Prairie.
  • Adding outdoor facilities including an education pavilion.
  • Protecting native saplings that have emerged since the derecho, and replanting in areas they haven’t.

Unlike the derecho, all of this can’t be done in less than an hour. Much still needs to be done, and of course, it comes at a cost. To make the kind of progress we hope to, it takes thousands of dollars for materials and equipment, as well as thousands of hours of staff and volunteer time. 

This is where YOU can help!

In honor of Earth Day & Arbor Day, we hope to raise $5000 to continue to restore our forests and rebuild our trails. The Earth has given us so much…give back by contributing to ongoing land stewardship, restoration, and protection at the Nature Center. Donate today and help us reach our goal.

Donations of any amount bring us closer to our goal. But if you’re looking for a place to start, consider this:

Soil$20 monthly — Healthy soil is the foundation for healthy roots. Your recurring donation (of any amount)  is a commitment to support not only this project, but ongoing land restoration at the Nature Center for years to come. 

Sapling$100 — Our tree canopy may look different, but with lots of light on the forest floor is good news for the baby trees down below! Support sprouts and saplings with a $100 donation. 

Sun$1000  — Donating $1000 not only gets us a FIFTH of the way to our goal, it also supports the Nature Center longterm by growing our endowment.* This donation also gets you into the lifetime member club. Learn more here.
*If you want information about the Endow Iowa tax credit, please contact Laura McGrath at or 319-362-0664 ext. 309

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