Tama Co. Conservation bringing back the fun April 1

Annual fundraiser to return following pandemic hiatus

With the restoration of Otter Creek Lake nearly complete and the pandemic receding into the background of life, Tama Co. Conservation is ready to bring back the fun with its annual Fun Night Fundraiser.

This year’s Fun Night is set for Saturday, April 1, at Otter Creek Lake & Park Nature Center located north of Toledo at 2283 Park Road. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. with dinner commencing at 5:30 p.m.

As in the past, there will be a catered meal, silent auction, guest speaker, and plenty of family fun with all proceeds benefiting both environmental education programming and improvement projects at the nature center. A bake sale will also take place alongside the silent auction.

New this year, there will be carnival games with prizes set up in the basement of the nature center for kids including ring toss, Plinko, bags, and more. Kids can also view live animal displays, learn more about the science behind aquaponics, and view different taxidermy displays of Iowa’s natural critters. The upstairs diorama room will also be set up for kids.

The silent auction will feature plenty of family fun as well including St. Louis Cardinals tickets, tickets to the zoo, Iowa Cubs tickets, and more.

A Ruger American 350 Legend rifle will be raffled off during the event courtesy of JAX Ames Outdoor Gear. For more information including how to enter the raffle, refer to Tama County Conservation’s Facebook page.

This year’s guest speaker is Tama Co. Conservation Director Stephen Mayne who will provide an update on the final phase of the Otter Creek Lake Restoration Project as it winds down and the lake begins to fill back up.

The meal is being catered by Bobby’s Grocery & BBQ in Dysart.

Tickets cost $25 for adults and $15 for kids, and can be purchased at the door, or in advance at the nature center, by calling 641-484-2231, or using the link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fun-night-fundraiser-tickets-537797766597?aff=erelexpmlt

Conservation personnel update

In addition to finalizing fundraiser details during the March 1 monthly conservation meeting, board members were also given an update on personnel by Director Mayne.

Naturalist Emma Bruck has resigned in order to take a job with Marshall County Conservation, Mayne said. Her last day was set for Friday, March 3. Mayne has received four applications for the position of Tama Co. Naturalist and plans to hire soon.

The county is again in need of seasonal help this summer, Mayne also shared, particularly in light of Otter Creek Lake & Park’s planned full reopening following the lake restoration.

A seasonal park ranger position and a naturalist intern position have been posted for hire. No applications had been received for either position as of the meeting.

The job description for the seasonal park ranger includes assisting the park officer with the management of the county parks, performing routine ground maintenance in parks and assigned properties, performing road, trail, and building maintenance, patrolling parks in vehicles and on foot, and public relations. Candidates for the position must be attending or planning to attend college in the conservation and or natural resources field.

The job description for the naturalist intern includes assisting the naturalist with organizing, developing, and coordinating quality environmental educational programs, while also assisting with the development and promotion of county conservation through its website and social media pages.

More information on both positions and how to apply can be found at https://www.mycountyparks.com/jobs

In a follow-up phone call, Mayne told the Telegraph he is open to hiring outside the college-aged candidate pool this season for help in the parks.

“The older population is welcome to apply,” Mayne said. “Someone that can mow, check trash, check shower house, etc. is what we need. Someone of retirement age that can help out with minor things would be phenomenal. Just come in on the weekdays.”

Those with questions about the positions or interested in applying can contact Mayne at 641-484-2231.