Lindsay Page is an Assistant Naturalist with Polk County Conservation. In this guest post, she takes us along on a recent paddle event hosted on the Des Moines River.
Working on a Saturday probably sounds like a bummer to most people, but for me it’s easy to come to work on a Saturday when I get to spend it paddling on the Des Moines River! As an Assistant Naturalist with Polk County Conservation, an IEC Member Organization, I get to teach all sorts of folks about Central Iowa’s natural resources through interpretive programming and outdoor recreation adventures like this river trip.
Naturalist Lewis Major and I were joined by seven Polk county residents, some who had paddled before and others who were joining us as first-time paddlers. Luckily, the stretch of the Des Moines River that we explored was perfect for beginners with wide bends and predictable hazards. The water was moving at the perfect speed, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, and our paddlers were anxious to get on the river.
After pushing off at Sycamore Access, we started our float. Within our first few minutes we spotted a Great Blue Heron and two adolescent Bald Eagles. Our participants were amazed how "wild" the river felt even though we were still so close to such a populated area. After about 45 minutes of paddling, we docked on a large sandbar to do a little bit of exploring.
Participants were asked to walk the sandbar looking for one thing (or more) that caught their attention; they were given about ten minutes to look around and then they could share with the group what they found.