Environmental Literature Club

Explore nature cozied up with a good book. Join naturalist Rebekah Beall at 7 p.m. each month to discuss a different book focused on the human relationship with the environment. The group will meet at Wheatsfield Co-op’s community room. The book schedule is: Jan. 31, “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer; Feb. 28, “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” by Dan Egan; March 28, “The Forest Unseen” by David Haskell. This club is free, but registration is required by 4 p.m. on Jan. 18. To register, email Story County Conservation at conservation@storycountyiowa.gov or call 515-232-2516.

Board meeting

The Story County Conservation Board invites the public to attend its monthly board meeting on Monday, Jan. 7, at 5:30 p.m. at McFarland Park, 56461 180th St., Ames. Meeting agendas will be available on www.storycountyconservation.org the Friday prior to board meetings.

Winter Hikes with the Outdoor Alliance of Story County

Get out of the house with other outdoor enthusiasts and explore local public areas this winter. Hikes are held on Thursdays beginning at 1:30 p.m. and are expected to last no more than two hours.

Cold, wind, snow and more are all part of winter; unless otherwise notified, the hikes go on as long as the roads are safe to drive. We will, however, wrap things up early under harsh conditions. The hikes may vary from good exercise to a social stroll and will end with snacks and beverages (bring your own). Please leave your dog warm and at home. No registration is necessary.

The schedule of locations is:

Jan. 3 – E-18 Greenbelt Access

Jan. 10 – Reactor Woods

Jan. 17 – Dakins Lake

Jan. 24 – McFarland Park

Jan. 31 – Robison Wildlife Acres

Feb. 7 – Soper’s Mill South

Contact the Outdoor Alliance of Story County with questions at info@oasco.org. These hikes are co-sponsored by Story County Conservation.

Explore Your Outdoors: Animal Tracks

Children can learn about common animal tracks and scat on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at McFarland Park, 56461 180th St., northeast of Ames. Participants will look for clues on the trails to discover what animals inhabit the park!

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, Jan. 16. Registration is available at www.storycountyconservation.org or by calling 515-232-2516.

O.W.L.S. Program: Climate for Change

Story County Conservation invites the public to the monthly O.W.L.S. (Older, Wiser, Livelier Seniors) program on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 11 a.m. at the Story County Conservation Center at McFarland Park, 56461 180th St., northeast of Ames.

As we experience an exploding human population and rapidly increasing pressure upon remaining habitat, the plant and animal communities that make up our planet’s diverse ecosystems are under siege.

Join photographer Ty Smedes for a slide presentation and lecture as we discover many spectacular species of wildlife and explore some of our planet’s most wild places. We will discuss the challenges faced by many of these creatures as we highlight several local and global success stories and consider the need for environmental sustainability during this 21st century.

An optional luncheon follows the program for just $7.50. Registration for lunch with payment is required by 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 4. The planned lunch menu is soup (broccoli beer cheese, tomato bisque or chili), salad bar, homemade bread and Oreo fluff dessert. Registration for lunch is available at www.storycountyconservation.org or by calling 515-232-2516.