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Three popular state parks open amenities in 2021

Three of Iowa's most popular state parks are now open this spring for the first time in several months. Plan your summer visit, find out details to help you enjoy your outdoor time, and find a state park near you!

Maquoketa Caves

Maquoketa Caves State Park opens caves for 2021

For the first time in a year, Maquoketa Caves State Park is opening caves to visitors, which were closed due to the pandemic and then winter bat hibernation. With big weekend crowds expected, be sure to read how to plan your visit before heading to Maquoketa.

Palisades-Kepler State Park opens gates after Derecho 

Closed since the August 2020 Derecho, Palisades-Kepler State Park opened its gates to visitors and campers this spring. Learn about clean-up and what's available at the park, which is known for its stunning scenery outside of Cedar Rapids. 


Pine Lake

Pine Lake State Park opens campground after renovations 

Complete with new renovations, Pine Lake State Park is opening its campground with more spacious sites and other amenities. Learn about the renovation projects at this beautiful park outside Eldora for your next visit. 

In the Sky: May 2021

 Of special interest will be Mercury at its highest and easiest to spot in the evening sky for the year. There will also be an eclipse of the Moon that will be seen best in the western states.

Calkins Nature Center Birding - Hardin County Live Raptors & Owl Prowl May 28th 6-10 p.m. Warbler Walk May 29th 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On May 28th and 29th, the Calkins Nature Center will be hosting "Building Better Birders and Citizen Scientist Workshops" at Calkins Nature Area in Iowa Falls, Iowa. Whether you are a beginner outdoor enthusiast or a serious birder, these field day workshops are great for people of all backgrounds! And it is 100% FREE to attend.
Funding for this workshop was provided by the Resource Enhancement and Protection-Conservation Education Program (REAP-CEP). This workshop will be conducted by Kelly McKay (BioEco Research and Monitoring Center) with assistance from Mark Roberts (Clinton County Conservation) and Brian Ritter (Nahant Marsh Education Center). If you have further questions, please contact our Calkins Nature Area staff at 641-648-9878.
All we need from you is an RSVP for one or both of the field days. On site registration will be available the day of, but please RSVP online ahead of time so we can get a better idea for attendance numbers. If you are interested in the event, here are the discussion points for each day:
May 28th 6 pm to 10 pm Raptor Talk, Live Raptor Presentation (Calkins Staff), and an Evening Owl Prowl through the forest. Click here to register.
May 29th 7 am to 1 pm Morning Bird Hike, Warbler Talk, Warbler Hike along the river. (Coffee provided in the morning) Click here to register.
Note: This is not a PRAS field trip, so inquiries can be made to the Calkins Nature Center. However, you are likely to see PRAS members there. If you have not had a chance to bird Hardin County and see the wonderful Calkins Nature Center this is a great opportunity to learn from outstanding birders. 

Bird-A-Thon 2021
Through your generous contributions, PRAS will be able to support grant requests for education and conservation projects for 2022. The PRAS board is always appreciative of projects our members suggest for funding in our six PRAS counties. It is a “feel-good” activity.  It’s easy to contribute, print out the form below, or make a donation online using the link below. Any and all contributions are appreciated! Species observed PRAS Bird-A-Thon week May 3-9, 2021

Send your sightings to

Get a printable Bird-A-Thon pledge form and return your pledges to:

Craig Rash 105 Woodland Springs Road, Denver Iowa 50622

Thank you again for your Bird-A-Thon donations; your support and efforts help PRAS in making a difference to our communities.


Song on a Wire - Wikimedia Commons
 Bird Flight Patterns and Music Concert Program
You are now able to access the online concert video and curriculum (see link and password below-posted with permission by the copyright holder).
The link provides the full concert video and online curriculum with activities, lessons, extra musical performances, composer interviews and educational games. 
This resource will remain active through June 2022 (for one year), so utilize it for your programs, personal edification working with your children or grandchildren to teach them about music and birds!

Password:  BFPMC  (case sensitive)

Civilian Conservation Corps Projects at 

State Parks of Northeast Iowa

by Linda Betsinger McCann, Iowa author, historian and speaker

Check out the PRAS YouTube channel for a recording of this program, which begins around the 20 minute mark.

Linda's books are available from Linda at her Facebook page You can get them direct from her, and signed if you want or from her publisher, Tandem Publishing Group 800-765-1690. Barn Happy in Cedar Falls carries the books in their store. Grout Museum in Waterloo has them in their store or on-line at their web site. Heart of Iowa Marketplace carries them at Amazon.

Save the Date: June 19, 2021
A Practical Backyard Tour-Waterloo & Cedar Falls The Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition with other organizations and even some PRAS members have helped plan this special event (click link above for more details). Check out the day's activities and get involved!
Osprey at Greenbelt Lake - Waterloo  Photo by John McCormick

      Find an injured bird or animal? Call Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project 319-277-6511

Subscribe to the PRAS YouTube Channel if you are interested in watching recordings of our past Zoom meetings for which we have permission to post for viewing.

Contribute to our Flickr Photo Stream
Go to this URL:
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