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Nature’s View: Life in the Raccoon River

Ray Harden rayharden2@aol.com
Ray Harden rayharden2@aol.com

The Raccoon River Watershed Association will hold their annual “Life in the Raccoon River” program on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1 at Perry’s Hotel Pattee. The program is free and open to the public. Friday evening at 7 p.m. local wildlife photographer and author Ty Smedes will give a slide presentation titled “The Return of Iowa’s Bald Eagles,” a program the entire family will enjoy.

Smedes tells about the history of these magnificent birds, their near extinction and their amazing comeback. Anyone that likes nature and enjoys seeing excellent wildlife photography will want to see this program. On Saturday morning starting a 9 a.m. Dr. Mary Skopec will speak about the geology of the Raccoon River and its current problems. She will be followed by Andy Rupper, a Drake University student who will talk about the biological activity in the river. Rupper studied the effects on invertebrate animals that resulted from the 2012 oil spill at Jefferson.

The mid-morning speakers will discuss human life on the Raccoon River that includes Native Americans and the earliest European settlers. This topic will be presented by

Cherie Hauty-Artz, from Iowa’s State Archaeology Department. After lunch, starting at 1:30 p.m. there will be a few readings of Aldo Leopold’s book, “A Sand County Almanac” and at 2 p.m. the video “Green Fire and A Land Ethic of Our Time” will be shown in the hotel’s ballroom. This video is a full length documentary about the legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold. His ideas remain relevant today and inspire projects all over the country that connects the people and the land.

The Raccoon River Watershed Association is a volunteer, non-profit group. The association is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the river and its watershed. The organization strives to improve the quality of the river so citizens can safely enjoy canoeing, fishing, birding, hiking, camping, and hunting in the Raccoon River Valley. All are invited to participate in this free program and learn more about the Raccoon River.

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