Park festival features music, food and fun

Join Story County Conservation for the Fall Festival on Sunday, Oct. 7, from 3 to 6 p.m. at McFarland Park. This free, public event features live music, nature activities and a food truck.

Welcome the cooler weather and enjoy a late afternoon at McFarland Park. Bring a blanket or chairs to sit on while enjoying the upbeat R&B, soul, roots rock, and blues music by Ames’ own Vinyl Vagabonds. The Mucky Duck Pub will offer food vending, or you’re welcome to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy under a canopy of large oaks. Crafts and hayrack rides make this family-friendly event complete. The music will be inside the conservation center if it rains, so plan on coming no matter what the weather holds.

Controlled goose hunt at Hickory Grove Park

Story County Conservation is offering a controlled goose hunt to reduce the numbers and amount of time that geese use the lake as a fall and winter refuge. Large goose populations contribute to the bacterial level of the lake.

Hickory Grove Park is open for goose hunting only Sept. 29 to Oct. 14; Oct. 20 to Dec. 11; and Dec. 22 to Jan. 19.

Hunting will be confined to the main lake and its shores except for the beach and campground waterfronts. Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 10 a.m. through Oct. 31; then 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset thereafter.

All state and federal hunting laws apply. Hunters may use portable blinds, but gas boat motors are not allowed.

Hunting dates may be closed or modified by Story County Conservation. Hunters must report the number of geese harvested within 24 hours. Contact the Hickory Grove Park shop at 515-598-2744 or email Park Ranger Luke Feilmeier at


Be a part of TEAM (Trail Enhancement and Management) on Saturday, Oct. 6, and help Story County Conservation staff make improvements to county trail systems. This TEAM Day will focus on bridge construction — volunteers will put planks and handrails on a new bridge. All volunteers are asked to wear long sleeves, pants, work gloves and bring a water bottle. Sturdy closed-toe shoes are strongly recommended. Registration is required by 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, to ensure enough refreshments and tools for everyone. Registration is available at or by calling 515-232-2516.

Learn how to control erosion on your property

Are you a landowner looking for solutions for minor to moderate erosion? Or someone who wants to learn more about erosion’s damaging effects on our landscape? Join conservation staff for Conservation Conversations & Practice: Gully Erosion Edition on Saturday, Oct. 13, 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Story County Conservation Center, 56461 180th St., Ames.

The morning will be spent in conversation with experts from Prairie Rivers of Iowa, Iowa Conservation Corps and ISU Extension. After learning about water quality in Iowa and strategies to conserve soil, the class will put that newly gained knowledge into practice by building a log-type erosion control structure in McFarland Park. This type of structure can easily be replicated on your own property by using materials you already have!

Please come prepared by wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Bring a water bottle and work gloves. Lunch will be provided.

Fee of $15 with registration is required by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Registration is available at or by calling 515-232-2516.

Board meeting

The Story County Conservation Board invites the public to attend its monthly board meeting on Monday, Oct. 8, at 5:30 p.m. at McFarland Park, 56461 180th St., Ames. The meeting agenda will be available on on Friday, Oct. 5.

Make paint with soil

Bring your creativity and find out how easy, fun and beautiful it is to make soil paint. Join Story County Conservation staff for Earth Paints on Thursday, Oct. 18, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at McFarland Park.

You don’t have to be an artist to make art. Experiment, mix your own colors and then fill in a provided outline or draw your own picture to paint. All materials will be provided, but participants can bring their own dry soil if they wish. Participants ages 5 and up are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

A fee of $5 with registration is required by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Registration is available at or by calling 515-232-2516.

Explore Your Outdoors: Camouflage!

Children can explore the amazing survival strategy of camouflage on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to noon at McFarland Park. Through hands-on inquiry learning, participants will search for camouflage animals and create and hide some critters of their own.

This program is for children age 5 and up, plus their adult. This program is free, but registration is required by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Registration is available at or by calling 515-232-2516.