Help wildlife this tax season with the Chickadee Check-off

chickadeeThis holiday season, it’s time to give back — to chickadees and other non-game wildlife! On this year’s state income tax forms, you can help non-game diversity programs by checking off your support and contributing a donation. In the past, the money raised through the Chickadee Check-off has sponsored the restoration of the river otter, peregrine falcon and the trumpeter swan. But those are only a few of the many success stories.

The Iowa DNR lists the types of projects that the Chickadee Check-off has sponsored on their website. Here are a few events, projects and programs that the check-off has funded:

  • “Educational Wildlife Appreciation events held all over the state such as: Bald Eagle Watch Days, Pelican Fest and Prairie Chicken Day
  • Designation of Bird Conservation Areas in key areas around the state supporting increased habitat for all types of birds
  • Multiple research projects on birds, butterflies, bobcats, fish, amphibians and reptiles
  • Population monitoring of species status and populations through research projects and volunteer surveys
  • Acquisition of important lands for public use in wildlife watching, hunting, hiking and fishing”
  • Read more here

On the tax form, those wishing to donate can choose the amount they’d like to give to protect and restore non-game species and wildlife. Although still generally called the Chickadee Check-off, today’s Iowa 1040 simply refers to the term “Fish/Wildlife” fund near the end of the tax form. Though the name has changed, the mission is still the same.

For official instructions and descriptions of all the tax check-offs please visit the Iowa Department of Revenue’s website. You may also download a state tax form from their site.

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Hawk Watch on the High Trestle Trail

Join us at the High Trestle Hawk Watch! Professionals and novice alike are invited to attend this family-friendly event. Naturalists form Dallas and Boone counties, the Iowa DNR, Iowa Audubon and the Iowa Wildlife Center will be on hand to answer questions and identify species. In past years, attendees have seen up to 171 raptors and 45 other bird species!

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When: Oct. 10, 2015 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: High Trestle Bridge’s main viewing platform on the west side of the bridge and the new shelter on the East side of the bridge.

Binoculars and viewing scopes will be provided, but we encourage you to bring your own binoculars, refreshments, and lawn chairs. The event will occur rain or shine.

For more information, contact Marlene Ehresman of the Iowa Wildlife Center at mehresman@iowawildlifecenter.org or 515-291-3000.

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Are Milkweed bugs bad?

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The Large Milkweed Bug, in various stages of metamorphosis. The ones with black stripes are the fully formed adults, while the ones with fewer markings are nymphs.

They’re less dangerous than they look.

The orange-black Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) lives on milkweed and feeds on the plant’s stems, leaves and pods.

The bugs live for only a month or so and go through an incomplete metamorphosis. Females lay eggs in-between the milkweed pods, and after about four days, the nymphs emerge. After the nymphs hatch, they molt every few days and grow in size. Once they reach adulthood, they can fly.

Similar to the Monarch butterfly, the Large Milkweed Bug protects itself by consuming milkweed sap–which is toxic to most predators.

For the most part, these bugs aren’t dangerous. They don’t bite or sting, nor do they cause any real damage to the plant. The bug’s only drawback is that they can deform the pods, and in some cases, if the infestation is large, crowd out Monarchs. If you have a butterfly garden or would simply prefer to rid your milkweed of the bugs, they are easily squished.

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Nature Walk: White-lined Sphinx

The white-lined sphinx is a large moth and sometimes referred to as a hummingbird moth.  They are generally common in late summer and are often seen feeding on garden flowers.  Like many species in nature, they are beautifully designed with line, pattern and color.  To generate heat in the cool of an evening, they often quiver their wings.

The white-lined sphinx is a large moth and sometimes referred to as a hummingbird moth. They are generally common in late summer and are often seen feeding on garden flowers. Like many species in nature, they are beautifully designed with line, pattern and color. To generate heat in the cool of an evening, they often quiver their wings, just as we might shiver to generate heat when we are cold.

 

If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo or requesting information on possible use of any of our “Nature Walk” photographs, please contact Carl Kurtz at cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

Nature Walk: Prairie Blazingstar

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Prairie blazingstar (Liatris pycnostachya) is a favorite prairie flower with its tall magenta spikes. It belongs to the aster family and blooms from mid- to late July into mid-August. Tiny plumed seeds that easily shatter with wind or rain form in early October. It makes a wonderful garden flower and readily attracts butterflies.

If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo or requesting information on possible use of any of our “Nature Walk” photographs, please contact Carl Kurtz at cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

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Nature Walk: Leadplant

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“Native prairies have a host of legumes mixed into their array of forbs and grasses. Leadplant (Amorpha canescens), pictured here, is unusual since it has woody stems and is shrub-like. It is long-lived and takes a number of years to develop to the flowering stage. Like other legumes, it produces nitrogen for use by other plants.” — Carl Kurtz

If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo or requesting information on possible use of any of our “Nature Walk” photographs, please contact Carl Kurtz at cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

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Looking Out for Iowa: Raptor resources

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A Swainson’s hawk soars through the sky. (Photo by Sue Schulties)

Looking for a new way to support conservation in Iowa? Try sponsoring a raptor! Endangered or disabled raptors are rehabilitated and/or used for education all across Iowa. Check out the following organizations for more information on how to get involved: Continue reading

Nature Walk: Bog Lygropia

Bog Lygropia

“Warm, humid, windless nights are good for the pursuit of moths gathering beneath nighttime lighting. There are hundreds of species of moths and, like other wildlife, most have specific habitat requirements. The bog lygropia is associated with wetlands and aquatic plants such as water lilies. It is only about one inch across.” — Carl Kurtz

If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo or requesting information on possible use of any of our “Nature Walk” photographs, please contact Carl Kurtz at cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

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Coming up Buckmaster

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This view comes from the overlook at Capoli on the Buckmaster property.

ls interns working at buckmaster '15Our land stewardship interns worked at the Buckmaster property in Allamakee County last week. They removed brush on a hillside prairie protected by a conservation easement with INHF. Interns have worked on the property since 2008.

The Buckmaster family and INHF have a voluntary land protection agreement in place—or conservation easement—to protect a 146-acre site in Iowa’s northeast corner with more than two miles of bluff-line along the Mississippi River, including the dramatically angled bluff Capoli (CAP-oh-lie), which rises 420 feet above the river. Thanks to work from our interns (and many other helpers, including INHF staff) on removing cedars, invasive brush and conducting controlled burns, an increasingly diverse prairie now covers Capoli’s slopes. Continue reading

Nature Walk: Widow Skimmer

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“Widow Skimmers are common summer dragonflies found near lakes, streams and in open fields. Its distribution is widespread across the U.S., except for dry areas in the Great Plains and in the Rocky Mountains. This is a female; the males have a broad white band outside of the black wing band. Like other dragonflies, they feed by catching flying insects.” — Carl Kurtz

If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo or requesting information on possible use of any of our “Nature Walk” photographs, please contact Carl Kurtz at cpkurtz@netins.net. View our other Nature Walk posts!

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