Hickory Grove Park is closed


The interior portion of Hickory Grove Park and the east game area are now closed due to the lake restoration. This includes the beach and swimming area, concessions, open shelter houses on the north side of the lake, Oriole Ridge Lodge, and all trails. Park visitors must obey signage and/or barricades during this active construction period.


Camping will be allowed at both Breezy Bay (main campground) and the primitive campground from Thursday, May 23, through Tuesday, Sept. 3. Campers are restricted to the immediate campground areas. Snow Bunting Lodge will be available for rent Thursday, May 23, through Tuesday, Sept. 3. Activities are restricted to the immediate area around the lodge.


Trailgate Party: Celebrating Water Trails


Celebrate spring trail season at a trailgate party honoring water trails on Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m. at the Conservation Center at McFarland Park, 56461 180th St., Ames. Dr. Elizabeth Andre, associate professor of outdoor education at Northland College, an ISU alumni and an Ames native, will share the history of rivers as highways before roads. Hear about a trip she led through multiple watersheds with Northland College students and get updates on Story County trails. This program is free, and registration is not required.


Celebrate Earth Day with a park dedication


Story County Conservation and Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation invite you to celebrate Earth Day at the Carroll Prairie Park Dedication (61250 200th St., Nevada) on Monday, April 22, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The 49-acre property includes remnant prairie, pasture and oxbow wetlands, and is bisected by West Indian Creek.


Lorna Carroll, a Story County resident and passionate conservationist, worked closely with Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to see the protection of this property come to fruition. Carroll donated half the land’s value to ensure permanent protection and public ownership. Fundraising is now complete and the park has been transferred to Story County Conservation. Following the dedication, Carroll Prairie will be a designated public hunting area.


SCC naturalists will be on site to help you make a seed ball — a fun way to plant new prairie! Staff from ISU Extension and Outreach – Story County will also be there to talk about the Native Bee Challenge. This program teaches youth about the importance of native bees for pollination. Youth will explore solutions for increasing habitat for native bees and other pollinators, and make bee nests to take home.


Dutch Oven Cooking Basics


Sensational cooking is not just done in the kitchen! Discover the delicious world of Dutch oven cooking in the outdoors during a class on Wednesday, April 24, at 5 p.m. at the Conservation Center at McFarland Park. Learn the basics while working in small groups to prepare a variety of dishes. The class will explore diverse recipes covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Enjoy a community meal after trying your hand at baking with fire. This program is intended for ages 16 and up. A fee of $10 with registration is required by Friday, April 19. To register, call (515) 232-2516 or email conservation@storycountyiowa.gov.


Smartphone Photography 101


Want to get the most out of your phone’s camera? Join Story County Conservation in the hands-on program while Lisa Hovis, owner of PhotoSynthesis in Ames, tells you everything you need to know! The class will be held Saturday, April 27, at 1 p.m. Members of the class will practice their new-found skills on the wildflowers blooming in the woods at McFarland Park. Bring your phone and be dressed to head outside! This program is intended for ages 16 and up. A fee of $5 with registration is required by Wednesday, April 24. To register, call (515) 232-2516 or email conservation@storycountyiowa.gov.