Learn from ID Experts at BioBlitz

Cedar Rapids is blessed with Champions of Nature who possess expertise in identifying many kinds of flora and fauna. This summer, many are sharing those talents with the community during Indian Creek Nature Center’s first-ever BioBlitz – a community-sourced survey of the biodiversity across all of our grounds and trails. These local experts will be leading How to ID Sessions throughout the weeklong BioBlitz event to share their knowledge on identifying native plants and animals. These How to ID Sessions will not only prepare you for identifying and observing different species during the BioBlitz this summer, but the knowledge you gain will add to the experience of every hike or camping trip you take in the future.

How to ID Sessions are free but space is limited, so pre-registration is required. All sessions are designed for adults.

Meet Your Local ID Experts

Dr. Neil Bernstein

Neil Bernstein earned his B.S. in Zoology at Colorado State University, a M.S. in Biology at John Carroll University, and a Ph.D in Ecology and Behavioral Biology at University of Minnesota. His Master’s research focused on habitat selection in Redwing Blackbirds, and his doctorate was on ecology and behavior of Antarctic seabirds. He taught at Mount Mercy University for 36 years as well as at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory since 1986 and the University of Iowa Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences since 2017.

Join Neil for …

Bird ID Hike on Tuesday, June 13 6:00 AM – 8:00 AM capacity 10

Bird Banding on Wednesday, June 14 6:00 AM – 12:00 PM capacity 20

Bird Banding on Saturday, July 1 6:00 AM – 12:00 PM capacity 25

John Donner

John Donner volunteers regularly as a Teacher/Naturalist for the Indian Creek Nature Center. In 2018, John became an Iowa Master Naturalist and wrote a winter tree identification guidebook called “What’s That Tree?” that is part of the Iowa Master Naturalist curriculum and has led to him conducting field trips and public programs on winter tree identification, which he thoroughly enjoys.

Join John for …

Tree ID on the Woodland Trails on Sunday, June 25 3:00 PM capacity 25

Tree ID at Wood Duck Way on Tuesday, June 27 12:00 PM capacity 25

Tree ID at Věčný Woods on Thursday, June 29 5:00 PM capacity 25

Tamra Elliott

University of Iowa’s Tamra Elliott is the Land Manager of the Universities’ Macbride Nature Recreation Area, Old State Quarry State Preserve and National Historic Site, and Merrill A. Stainbrook State Preserve and is responsible for the natural resource stewardship of those locations. Currently Tamra’s focus outside of restoring the University of Iowa’s natural areas is to relocate historic plant populations and update the vascular plant species inventory.

Join Tamra for …

Woodland Understory ID at Věčný Woods on Thursday, June 29 1:00 PM capacity 25


Ryan Elliott

Ryan Elliott is the gardener and certified arborist of Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch where he manages an 80-acre reconstructed tallgrass prairie. He has an associate degree in Parks and Natural Resources from Kirkwood Community College. He is very passionate about all ecosystems, but especially the tallgrass prairie.

Join Ryan for …

Wildflower ID at Christiansen Prairie on Monday, June 26 6:00 PM capacity 25


Jim Durbin

Jim Durbin has been involved with the Cedar Rapids Audubon Society since 1989, having served as president for several years and also on the board in other positions. Jim also does volunteer work with the Linn County Conservation department, completed a Henslow’s Sparrow study at Pleasant Creek Lake State Recreation Area, enjoys nature photography, and has been black lighting for moths since 2002.

Join Jim for …

Bird ID at Věčný Woods on Thursday, June 29 3:00 PM capacity 25

Blacklight Insect ID at Amazing Space on Thursday, June 29 8:45 PM capacity 25


Don Ohde

Don Ohde has completed a degree in biology and the Iowa Master Naturalist program in the fall of 2018. In his retirement he participates in many citizen science programs such as Project Feeder Watch, the Great Backyard Bird Count for birds, the Iowa Butterfly Survey Network for butterflies, the Iowa Frog and Toad Call Survey, and the Iowa Freshwater Mussel Blitz.

Join Don for …

Butterfly ID at Christiansen Prairie on Monday, June 26 2:00 PM capacity 25

Dragonfly ID at Wood Duck Way on Tuesday, June 27 10:00 AM capacity: 25

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