Imagine Northeast Iowa

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An Introduction to the Driftless Area Ambassadors Program
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An Introduction to the Driftless Area Ambassadors Program

Hi, my name is Katrina Moyna and I am the Director with the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre, which is located in Marquette on Highway 18 across from Gencor-Bituma. We are open from 11:00 – 4:00, Tuesdays – Saturdays, year-round and opened our doors in April 2013. We are maintained by the City of Marquette, grants, and donations, and our mission is to provide a unique learning experience that connects people to the natural world and empowers them to positively impact their local environments.

The DAWC sits in the Driftless Area, a location where the last glacial advance did not touch this area of the state. The melting glaciers carved the valley, filled the floodplains, and left the steep cliffs, deep valleys, and rich riverine wetlands. The incredibly rich bottomlands adjacent to the river valley fed the passage of migrating wildlife, such as hawks and eagles, egrets and cranes, ducks and geese, herons and terns, warblers and orioles. The area is rich in human history as well, as many Native Americans, explorers, fur trappers, soldiers, settlers, employees of the railroad, farmers, and road and bridge builders called this area home.

Children today spend less time outdoors than their parents did, as the Kaiser Family Foundation and Center for Disease Control found that “a child is six times more likely to play a video game than ride a bike on a typical day.” And it’s not just kids. The EPA estimates that adults spend 93% of their day indoors (87% indoors and 6% in automobiles), which leads to only half a day per week spent outdoors. If children mimic their parents, how can we expect today’s youth to address environmental problems of the future, if they don’t even know the names of the animals and plants in their backyards?

The Driftless Area Wetlands Centre plans to address this lack of time spent in the great outdoors by kicking off our Driftless Area Ambassadors Program. With 52+ programs, events, and activities planned for 2015, you’re sure to find something for all ages!!! The goal is to have youth and adults develop connections with their local environment through education, free play opportunities, a personal project of special interest, and a surprise trip to celebrate!!! With topics such as Astronomy Night, decorating for the holidays using natural materials, basic trout fishing techniques, Dino Day, HawkWatch, photography, pottery, and painting, and cooking school for the birds, we plan to have fun.

For our kickoff, we plan to show an environmental entertainment movie every other Saturday, starting January 10 until February 21 from 6:00 - 7:30 pm.

January 10: "Avatar"

January 24: "The Lorax"

February 7: "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron"

February 21: "Happy Feet"

All events are free of charge unless otherwise noted and subject to change. We always welcome donations, so if you would like to lead a session in your area of interest, donate your time, money, energy, or supplies, it’s all appreciated! And we look forward to seeing you during a few of our many 2015 events!!!

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