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Wildlife Camps at State Parks

University of Iowa Wildlife Camps has been a staple in the Iowa City community since 1991 and thanks to an Iowa DNR REAP Grant, we're ready to bring our camps to State Parks! Campers will engage in five days of learning about their local state park and their natural environments. Our goals for campers include: 

  • Awaken an awareness of the natural world and wildlife in our state parks
  • Nurture an appreciation for wildlife and natural ecosystems
  • Inspire action by developing a “land ethic”

Wildlife Camps are for students entering 3rd-6th grade. Enrollment will be limited to 40 students per camp. 

Schedule

  • June 12-16  Viking Lake State Park
  • June 19-23 George Wyth State Park
  • June 26-30  Springbrook State Park
  • July 10-14 Ledges State Park 
  • July 17-21 Maquoketa Caves State Park
  • July 24-28  Mines of Spain State Park

Activities

Wildlife Camps will offer a mixture of recreation and environmental education activities. Our educational activities include:

  • Studying mammals, insects, amphibians, birds, and geology
  • Exploring woodland, aquatic, and prairie ecosystems
  • Learning about park history

Recreation activities will vary depending on each camp. See below for a list of planned activities for each week.

Viking Lake State Park (Stanton): June 12-16

  • Forests: Discovering the World of Woodlands and Trees
  • Ponds: Turtle & Frogs, and Dragonflies & Damselflies
  • Prairies: Iowa’s Great Grasslands
  • Mammalogy: Tracking and Finding our Furry Friends 
  • Ornithology: Birds and Birding
  • Limnology: Learning about Lake Life 
  • Fishing: Introduction to Fish and Fishing
  • Beach Play: Fun and Play in the Sand
  • Viking Lake Hike: Survival Skills in Southwest Iowa
  • Bur Oak Trail: Scavenger Hunt in the Savanna
     

George Wyth State Park (Cedar Falls): June 19-23

  • Red-shouldered Hawks: The Hawk of the Floodplain Forest
  • Ornithology: Learning about Birds and Birding
  • Fishing: Introduction to Fish and Fishing
  • Flood-plain Forests: Lowland Woodlands and Wildlife
  • Ponds: Turtle & Frogs, and Dragonflies & Damselflies
  • Beach Play: Fun and Play in the Sand
  • Wetlands: Exploring the Ephemeral Lowlands 
  • Prairies: Iowa’s Great Grasslands
  • Blue-spotted Salamanders: An Endangered Iowa Species
  • Mammalogy: Tracking and Finding our Furry Friends 
     

Springbrook State Park (Guthrie Center): June 26-30

  • Stream Ecology: (Spring)Brook Biology for Beginners
  • Forests: Discovering the World of Woodlands and Trees
  • Fishing: Introduction to Fish and Fishing
  • Survival 101: Orienteering and Mapping
  • Survival 201: Shelter Construction and Fire Building 
  • Bioblitz: Becoming Beginning Wildlife Biologists
  • Archaeology: Early Native American through 20th Century Structures
  • Fossils: Prehistoric Creatures in the Rocks
  • Geology: Exploring the Earth under our Feet
  • Amazing Race: Obstacle Course 

Ledges State Park (Madrid): July 10-14

  • Lost Lake: Sampling for Creatures on the Lakeshore
  • Prairie Pond: Finding Frogs and Turtles 
  • Prairies: Iowa’s Great Grasslands
  • Stream Ecology: Searching the Streams for Life 
  • Forests: Discovering the World of Woodlands and Trees
  • Canyon Hikes: Traversing the Amazing Paths of Ledges
  • Ornithology: Learning about Birds and Birding
  • Geology: Exploring the Earth under our Feet
  • Survival: Basic Skills for Thriving in the Wild 
  • Entomology: Pollinators (and other critters) on the Prairie

Maquoketa Caves (Maquoketa): July 17-21

  • Bats: Our Amazing Flying Mammals
  • Ornithology: Learning about Birds and Birding
  • Entomology: Pollinators (and other critters) on the Prairie
  • Spelunking: Let the Caving Begin!
  • Geology: Exploring the Earth under our Feet
  • Forests: Discovering the World of Woodlands and Trees
  • Survival: Shelters,First Aid, Fire, Water Purification, and Cooking
  • Native American History: What’s Up with the Wickiup?
  • Stream Ecology: Searching the Streams for Life 
  • Prairies: Iowa’s Great Grasslands
     

Mines of Spain (Dubuque): July 24-28

  • Canyon Hikes: Traversing the Amazing Paths of Early Adventurers
  • Ponds: Exploring Life on the Pond
  • Prairies: Iowa’s Great Grasslands
  • Fishing: Introduction to Fish and Fishing
  • Geology: Exploring the Earth under our Feet
  • Herpetology: The Reptiles and Amphibians around Us
  • Survival: Basic Skills for Thriving in the Wild 
  • Forests: Discovering the World of Woodlands and Trees
  • History of the Mines: What “Lead” them Here?
  • Ornithology: Learning about Birds and Birding

Registration

Registration opens March 1 and is online only. You must have an online account with Recreational Services to register. Here's how to get an online account:

  1. Go to our online registration portal
  2. Click "Sign In" in the upper right-hand corner
  3. Click "Sign Up," located about halfway down the page.
  4. Fill out the information (you do not need to provide an ID number)
  5. Once that is complete, you'll receive a confirmation email. 
  6. When confirmed, sign into your account and add your child/children as a dependent. 
  7. To do this, just click "add a dependent" and enter your child's name, birthday, gender, and address.
  8. Done! Now you are ready to sign up your child for Wildlife Camps. See step-by-step directions here.

If you have any questions regarding registration, please contact Jeanette Luke at jeanette-luke@uiowa.edu or call 319-335-9294.

Work for us!

We're looking for Wildlife Camp Coordinators and Instructors at all six locations. See the job description and apply here.

Questions about the camps or employment? Email Jay Gorsh at jay-gorsh@uiowa.edu.

Need our Federal ID Number for childcare credit? Federal Identification Number: 42-600-4813