Madison County Conservation Board

Madison County Conservation Board This page will be used to highlight our parks as well as our environmental education programs. Look for calendar events, updates, photos and fun facts about Madison County and Iowa's natural resources, plants and animals!
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We are one of many county conservation boards throughout Iowa. Madison County has a rich history, amazing geological features, awesome water trails, bridges and more!

Mission: Our foundation is called the Madison County Foundation for Environmental Education (MCFEE). Founded in 1982, MCFEE was formed in order to promote conservation and environmental education in Madison County. Over the years, MCFEE has funded several hundreds of environmental programs, preserved wildlife areas, and updated park facilities.

Operating as usual

07/09/2020

The Night Owls summer camp placed bait stations with black light powder in Pammel Park Tuesday evening. Last night they used blacklights to check the baited areas for animal tracks. There were several different set of tracks walking away from this station. Can you figure out what kind of animal ate the bait before crawling up this tree?

Summer camp went for a hike and found 18 snails, a slug, countless dragonflies and spiders and the shell of a turkey egg...
06/10/2020

Summer camp went for a hike and found 18 snails, a slug, countless dragonflies and spiders and the shell of a turkey egg.

#conservationthrougheducation #madisoncountyconservation #pammelstatepark @ Pammel State Park

06/02/2020

Little Cedar Creek flowing through Hanson Prairie is full of surprises! Today!

Is this GREAT or what!!! One of our Conservation Foundation members was on a hike at Hanson Prairie today and guess what...
06/02/2020

Is this GREAT or what!!! One of our Conservation Foundation members was on a hike at Hanson Prairie today and guess what he finds on Cedar Creek? Take a look!! A playful family of . . . . (fill in the blank).

A visit to Fellowship Forest today to check on the progress of the tadpoles produced 8 Eastern Swallowtail Butterflies, ...
05/29/2020

A visit to Fellowship Forest today to check on the progress of the tadpoles produced 8 Eastern Swallowtail Butterflies, 1 snake, 1 bullfrog, several species of birds, and a couple common flies. Some of the tadpoles are now turning into froglets with tails and legs so head out this weekend to check them out. It is a beautiful day to get out and explore the parks and the weather forecast for this weekend says it is time to plan that day hike.

Bonus: Everyone needs a little help once in awhile including our box turtle, Bernadette. She loves to explore and occasionally finds herself stargazing until help arrives. Bernadette loves people and she has been missing her outings to classrooms this spring. In case you are wondering, she was immediately helped back onto her feet where she sprinted to her water dish for a relaxing soak.

05/27/2020

Had a friendly Carpenter Bee stop by the office this afternoon to tell us what a great day she had exploring our Madison County Parks. Her buzzing was a little loud and she started trying to make an exit tunnel in the windowsill so we decided to gently guide her out of the office.

Watch the videos to see an example of how female carpenter bees attempt to bore or chew into wood to create tunnels where they can lay their eggs later in the summer. The videos are slightly blurry because of the zoom but female carpenter bees are capable of delivering a painful sting so our staff practiced social distancing. Fortunately this gal was happy to visit our office and just as happy to leave.

05/26/2020

The rock ledges along the limestone backbone in Pammel Park form beautiful waterfalls during heavy rains. When flowing, these temporary waterfalls are visible from the main park road.

Summer Camps are almost full so don't wait to get your child registered.Here are the spots remaining at this time: Night...
05/26/2020
Events for MyCountyParks.com

Summer Camps are almost full so don't wait to get your child registered.

Here are the spots remaining at this time:

Night Owls 2 (Ages 8-12) - 3 Spots
A Day in the Park (Ages 7-12) - 6 Spots

Critter Camp (Ages 5-7) - 1 Spot
Salamander Camp 1 (Ages 5-7) - 3 Spots

Summer camps will look different this year from previous years. All camps will be conducted entirely outdoors and will feature hands on park exploration and outdoor themed crafts and games.

Questions? Call our office at 515-462-3536 or e-mail [email protected].

Click here to register online: https://www.mycountyparks.com/Event/County/Madison/Default.aspx?action=back

MyCountyParks serves the Iowa area with outdoor recreation, environmental education, and natural resource protection.

Madison County Conservation is offering a variety of summer camps again this year. These camps will look a bit different...
05/20/2020
Events for Madison

Madison County Conservation is offering a variety of summer camps again this year. These camps will look a bit different from years past. All camps will be run entirely outdoors with pick up and drop off located in the picnic area next to the nature center. All camps will focus heavily on outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, bird watching, frog catching, exploring middle river, and more. There will also be outdoor based games and crafts. Group sizes will be limited this year to maintain the 10 or fewer guidelines with campers and staff.

To view a listing of summer camps or register online, click the link below. Please call our office with summer camp questions at 515-462-3536 or send an e-mail to [email protected].

https://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Madison/Events.aspx

MyCountyParks serves the Iowa area with outdoor recreation, environmental education, and natural resource protection.

05/19/2020

This pair of killdeer think the quiet outdoor classroom is the perfect place for a nest this year. They blend in well with their surroundings and they were not happy when our staff accidentally wandered too close while working at the classroom.

Bonus: You can hear the wetland's frog chorus singing in the background.

05/13/2020

With the rain in the forecast this week it is a good time to be thinking about water safety. Water levels can rise quickly along Middle River. If you are fishing along the river the next few days, keep an eye on the water levels throughout your trip. If you are thinking of taking your kayak out for an adventure, remember to wear your life jacket and keep an eye on the local forecast.

Check out this video of Middle River from last spring.

The seasonal park staff have been working hard all day to prepare the firewood for the Pammel Park campground before ope...
05/11/2020

The seasonal park staff have been working hard all day to prepare the firewood for the Pammel Park campground before opening day.

In case you missed the announcement last week, the campgrounds will tentatively open for the season this Wednesday, May 13th with the following protocols:

1. All camping units will be allowed at Pammel Park and Criss Cove campgrounds beginning 5/13/20

2. On-site self-registration transactions are to be done while maintaining physical distancing
a. Campers shall use the pay box to make payment

3. Campground restrooms and showers will be open with elevated sanitation schedule

4. Total number of people at each campsite is limited to 6 people and proper physical distancing is to be maintained at all times.

5. Access to campground and campsites will be restricted to paid campers only – NO VISITORS PERMITTED and will be enforced by Park staff.

6. Restrooms will be posted to advise the following:
a. Campers with self-contained campers encouraged to use restroom/shower facilities in their camping units
b. Limit of 2 people at any given time in Men’s & Women’s bathrooms
c. Foaming hand soap will be provided in restrooms with running water.

7. Restrooms and showers to be closed as needed for sanitizing:
a. Restrooms, including shower stalls, will be cleaned twice daily
b. Restrooms to be closed to public access while park staff clean the restrooms

8. Yurt Cabins will be open for use, but will be closed following each rental period for sanitizing:
a. Approved disinfectants will be utilized to clean all cabin surfaces and furnishings
b. 3-day “block-out” period (Mon-Wed) will be utilized between cabin rentals

9. Signage will be maintained at dump stations encouraging the use of vinyl/nitrile gloves and/or hand sanitizer.

10. Firewood sales may be provided with the following requirements
a. Physical distancing required between the campground host and campers.
b. Campers will not be allowed to enter inside the firewood shelter

11. All staff and hosts should wear protective gloves when handling registration envelopes and money transactions and shall wait 24 hours prior to processing pay envelopes

12. Playgrounds will remain closed

13. Shelter house usage is restricted to groups of 10 or less and proper physical distancing is to be maintained at all times.

The bluebirds now have a place to nest in the prairie by the Pammel Park Nature Center. Thank you Carson Fulcher for usi...
05/08/2020

The bluebirds now have a place to nest in the prairie by the Pammel Park Nature Center. Thank you Carson Fulcher for using some of your time off school to make and donate this pair of bluebird houses. One of these boxes is located closer to the Nature Center where it will be used as an education tool for kids during future programs. Paired with another recent donation of bluebird houses, we should see a flurry of activity up on the hill this spring!

The Criss Cove and Pammel Park Campgrounds will tentatively open for the season on Wednesday, May 13th. Here are the pro...
05/07/2020

The Criss Cove and Pammel Park Campgrounds will tentatively open for the season on Wednesday, May 13th. Here are the proposed guidelines that will likely be formally approved on Monday, May 11.

CAMPGROUNDS & CABIN REOPENING PROTOCOLS
Effective Wednesday, May 13, 2020 until further notice

1. All camping units will be allowed at Pammel Park and Criss Cove campgrounds beginning 5/13/20

2. On-site self-registration transactions are to be done while maintaining physical distancing
a. Campers shall use the pay box to make payment

3. Campground restrooms and showers will be open with elevated sanitation schedule

4. Total number of people at each campsite is limited to 6 people and proper physical distancing is to be maintained at all times.

5. Access to campground and campsites will be restricted to paid campers only – NO VISITORS PERMITTED and will be enforced by Park staff.

6. Restrooms will be posted to advise the following:
a. Campers with self-contained campers encouraged to use restroom/shower facilities in their camping units
b. Limit of 2 people at any given time in Men’s & Women’s bathrooms
c. Foaming hand soap will be provided in restrooms with running water.

7. Restrooms and showers to be closed as needed for sanitizing:
a. Restrooms, including shower stalls, will be cleaned twice daily
b. Restrooms to be closed to public access while park staff clean the restrooms

8. Yurt Cabins will be open for use, but will be closed following each rental period for sanitizing:
a. Approved disinfectants will be utilized to clean all cabin surfaces and furnishings
b. 3-day “block-out” period (Mon-Wed) will be utilized between cabin rentals

9. Signage will be maintained at dump stations encouraging the use of vinyl/nitrile gloves and/or hand sanitizer.

10. Firewood sales may be provided with the following requirements
a. Physical distancing required between the campground host and campers.
b. Campers will not be allowed to enter inside the firewood shelter

11. All staff and hosts should wear protective gloves when handling registration envelopes and money transactions and shall wait 24 hours prior to processing pay envelopes

12. Playgrounds will remain closed

13. Shelter house usage is restricted to groups of less than 10 and proper physical distancing is to be maintained at all times.

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is hosting free weekly webinars every Thursday in May. Today's webinar ...
05/07/2020

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is hosting free weekly webinars every Thursday in May. Today's webinar is all about Fireflies!

Fireflies: Getting to Know the Jewels of the Night
Thursday, May 7, 12 PM - 1 PM CDT

Join Candace Fallon, Xerces Senior Endangered Species Conservation Biologist and Public Lands Lead, as she takes us into the world of the firefly. Learn about their life history, the threats they face, and what you can do to help these incredible insects.

Use this link to register for the free webinar: https://xerces.org/events/webinars?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

05/05/2020

This little guy tried to catch a ride in the car this afternoon. When you are out in the woods, make sure you check yourself for hitchhikers before you get in your car. This little guy is a much better surprise than the usual springtime hitchhikers - ticks!

The Buckeyes are blooming in Pammel Park. Check them out and make a note of their location while they are easy to identi...
05/05/2020

The Buckeyes are blooming in Pammel Park. Check them out and make a note of their location while they are easy to identify by their showy blossoms then make another trip out to the park in September to pick up a nut from the buckeyes for good luck! #madisoncountyconservation @ Pammel State Park

The Eta Aquariid Meteor shower will be near its peak today. Unlike other meteor showers that have been most visible arou...
05/05/2020

The Eta Aquariid Meteor shower will be near its peak today. Unlike other meteor showers that have been most visible around midnight, the Aquariid Meteor shower is not visible until the early morning hours after the Aquarius constellation makes an appearance in the night sky. The nightly peak of the meteor shower usually occurs in the hours just before dawn.

Since the shower will be close to its peak rate of 20-30 meteors per hour tonight, it might be worth popping outside for a look if you find yourself awake after 3 am. With a nearly full moon, the bright night sky will make it a little harder to pick out the meteors. If you don't get a chance to see the shower tonight, don't panic. The meteor shower lasts through most of the month of May, it just won't produce as many meteors per hour in the coming days.

The Buckeyes are blooming in Pammel Park. Young buckeyes like shaded locations even though mature trees are able to live...
05/04/2020

The Buckeyes are blooming in Pammel Park. Young buckeyes like shaded locations even though mature trees are able to live in areas with full sun. They do best in moist areas and can often be found along waterways. When hit with hot, dry conditions they are susceptible to leaf scorching.

Of course, Buckeyes are well known for their shiny, brown nuts that fall from the tree in September. It is rumored that putting a nut from a buckeye tree in your pocket will bring you good luck. If you are in need of some extra luck this year, you might want to go check out where the buckeyes are located while they are easily identified by their beautiful blooms so you can be sure to pick up a nut this fall.

This year the State of Iowa is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of our State Parks! Madison County was blessed with bei...
05/02/2020

This year the State of Iowa is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of our State Parks! Madison County was blessed with being host to one of Iowa's first and most ecologically unique State Parks - Pammel State Park. Pammel Park was established in 1923 and was formally dedicated in 1930.

Dr. Louis Pammel, a botony professor at Iowa State University, along with Dr. Thomas McBride of the University of Iowa, were tasked (in the early 1900's) with identifying and recommending sites throughout Iowa to be designated as State Parks.

Dr. Pammel later became the first Director of the Iowa State Park system and served along side environmental icons such as Ding Darling, Aldo Leopold, John Lacy and others. Without Dr. Pammel's leadership and vision our State and County Park systems would not be what they are today.

The Madison County Conservation Board is honored to be managing Pammel State Park - our management began in 1989. It is humbling to know that this park recognizes in name and stature the significance of Dr. Pammel's contribution to the protection and preservation of wild places for future generations the enjoy, much in the same way that past generations felt the need to create such a legacy.

Many planned celebratory events have been postponed due to COVID-19 . . . but Pammel Park is open and enjoying hundreds of visitors this year despite some of our current hardships.

Come hike the trails, paddle or wade the river, try your luck at catfishing or just enjoy a simple picnic lunch. We are sure the campgrounds and Yurt cabins will be opening soon. While here, tour the park and look for some of the new historical banners that were recently erected. A few more will be added in the coming week.

The migrating warblers are once again making their way through Madison County. Several Yellow-rumped Warblers were seen ...
05/01/2020

The migrating warblers are once again making their way through Madison County. Several Yellow-rumped Warblers were seen in the trees by the Pammel Park Nature Center.

Yellow-rumped Warblers usually hangout in the middle of the tree canopy and are highly active as they search for insects. They are known for catching insects in the air. Several other species of warblers will be visiting our parks over the coming weeks but the bright yellow patch on the rump of the yellow-rumped warblers make them a little easier to spot as they fly from tree to tree.

The Bullfrog tadpoles at Fellowship Forest have really grown over the last couple weeks. Most of these tadpoles are seco...
04/30/2020

The Bullfrog tadpoles at Fellowship Forest have really grown over the last couple weeks. Most of these tadpoles are second year tadpoles which is different from most Iowa frog cycles. Usually frog eggs hatch and tadpoles grow into young adult frogs in one summer season but in general the larger the frog, the longer it takes to complete the cycle. This means most of these tadpoles began their journey as an egg in February/March 2019 before hatching into tadpoles last summer, over wintering, and continuing on their quest to become a frog later this summer. With plenty of sun warmed areas and food, a few strong bullfrog tadpoles from this year may be able to complete the cycle in one season. This is why you may see two different sizes of tadpoles hanging out in the shallows.

Once the large tadpoles begin to sprout legs they enter a froglet stage where they can change entirely from a tadpole to a frog in 10 days. Right now these little guys are relying on algae as their main food source. As they grow they will begin eating more bullfrog type prey including insects, worms, and small fish. Watch for future posts as we chronicle their journey into young bullfrogs this summer or head out to Fellowship Forest to watch them grow and change with your own eyes this summer.

Address

2273 Clark Tower Rd
Winterset, IA
50273

General information

Environmental Education and programming includes public programs, lessons in the classroom, Halloween Hikes, summer camps and more! Check out our website for full details.

Opening Hours

Monday 07:00 - 15:30
Tuesday 07:00 - 15:30
Wednesday 07:00 - 15:30
Thursday 07:00 - 15:30
Friday 07:00 - 15:30

Telephone

(515) 462-3536

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Comments

The Madison County Conservation Board welcomes all RAGBRAI riders to Madison County. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the rolling hills of Madison County.
We have one of those really Good County Conservation Boards!
Attention naturalists and group leaders: The Iowa DNR Canoe School for May 14/15 has openings! If you have not taken an award winning class from the Iowa DNR then you need to do so. It's an over-nighter in Webster City and we will be on the lake and Boone River. Learn risk management, all about safety, group management on river, how to paddle and teach paddling efficiently, rescues and more. TWO DAYS OF FUN! Follow the link below and email me at [email protected]. Classes are taught by two Iowa DNR certified instructors.
Are leashed dogs allowed at Clanton Creek?
I am curious if trout are still being stocked at Criss Cove?
We were on a family walk and just found the Geo Cache Box at E 410115 N 4572139 on Backbone Trail. It was fun to see that box has been in place since before March 2012.
Anyone tell me, if you are camping at Pammel (and I have stayed in the yurts but never taken my camper) is there a different way to get there (Criss Cove I think its called) to avoid driving under that long tunnel? or is the tunnel high enough to accommodate these campers? Im pretty sure mine is 11feet high?
Ticket sales for Evening Under the Stars, September 16, are ramping up. Don't miss out as we have limited tickets available! Call Duane at 515.462.2161 or email him at [email protected] Once again we are preparing to offer you an evening that will delight your taste buds as well as afford you fun and laughter with friends and family. We also want to share our love of nature and conservation in a fun-filled atmosphere, where we can answer questions about our upcoming projects and meet new friends!
How do I get to the nature center in pammel park without going through the water?
Can someone come out and look at the 50 amp at site 10 at Pammel Park? It's not working. We left a message at the office, and have yet to get a call back! Thanks!!