All events are held in the Environmental Education Classroom at the Oakland Mills Nature Center unless otherwise noted -  find all programs listed below.

What's Happening and At the Park Programs

  • Camping at Oakland Mills South Shore and Waterworks Park is closed for the season. Top of the Hill is open year-round. You can now register for campsites on-line at OR walk-ins are still accepted.

  • Gibson Recreation area is by permit only.

  • The conservation office is open 11:00 am-5:00 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

  • Oakland Mills Nature Center is open weekdays by appointment only and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. mid-April through mid-October. Nature Center hosts are needed. Contact Tony Brown at 319-537-1061 for more information.

  • Go to to register for camping or for any of our programs.


At the Park
Opportunities for all children AND their
parent(s) or guardian(s):

Year of Fears- Skunks!

To register for any program, register online at


  At the Park



All programs will meet at the Oakland Mills Nature Center, 2593 Nature Center Drive, Mt Pleasant, Iowa, unless otherwise noted. For more information about any of the programs, call the Henry County Conservation office at 319-986-5067 or email

To register online, go to Checks will no longer be accepted as a form of payment.

February 24th 9:00 a.m.- noon Maple Syruping with conservation staff. Top of the Hill area at the Dorothy Family Maple Syrup Camp. Activities include tapping trees, evaporator, and syrup tasting. All ages. Groups are welcome. Preregistration not necessary. Weather dependent. Listen to KILJ 105.5 for cancellations or check our Facebook or Twitter pages. Free program.

March 13th 6:30 p.m. Painting with the Art Nest. No experience necessary. Step by step instructions will be given. Colors can be modified to fit your personal style. Full photo of the painting is in Comments on the Facebook link. Must pre-register directly with the Art Nest at:, not on the mycountyparks site. $20.00 covers the cost of all materials and an 11x14 canvas.

April 22nd 2:00 p.m. The Art of Conservation: A Visit with Ding Darling, by Tom Milligan, actor. Celebrate Earth Day with us! Taken from the Humanities, Iowa website: “In this 45-minute presentation, Jay N. ‘Ding’ Darling visits with the audience, as an old friend, in his 11th office at The Des Moines Register. Beginning with his early years in Sioux City where as a young boy where he became aware of the natural world around him while developing skills as an editorial cartoonist, he recalls his remarkable life journey…. Considered by many to be one of the most important members of the modern conservation movement in the first half of the 20th century, the impact of his work is still felt today.” This program is part of the Democracy and the Informed Citizen Initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils, thanks to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Preregistration appreciated, but not necessary. Free program.  

May 17th 6:00 p.m. Outdoor Cooking with conservation staff. Hands-on dutch oven cooking. Cost includes sampling of all dishes prepared. Menu TBA. Plan 2 hours. Fees and preregistration are due via mycountyparks on or before May 11th to allow shopping time for recipe items. $12.00 per participant.

June TBA. Photography Lesson and Contest, by Wanda Broeker, art teacher and professional photographer. The presentation will begin with tips on getting to know your camera followed by how to photograph wildlife- both animals and plants. After, time will be given for a hike and a few test photos with Wanda available for critique and suggestions. Photography contest and rules will be announced by the conservation staff at the close of the program. Preregistration appreciated, but not necessary. Free program.

July 21st Noon- 2:00 p.m. Kid’s Day at the Henry County Fair. Hands-on activities by Henry County naturalists with CSI style investigations! Free program.

August 19th 2:00 p.m. Identify Your Artifacts with Ferrel Anderson, archaeologist. Presentation will start with the Black Hawk War shadowed by a brief summary of Mississippi River Valley archaeology. After his presentation, there will be a question and answer time followed by artifact identification. Feel free to bring your own artifacts for Mr. Anderson to look at during this segment. Preregistration appreciated, but not necessary. Free program.

September 16th 2:00 p.m. Flowers of the Prairie, by Dr. Danuta Hutchins, retired college professor. From the Humanities, Iowa, website: “With a copy of the ‘Prairie and Woodland Flowers Coloring Book’ as reference, this presentation identifies prairie wildflowers, their common English names and Linnaeus-based classification in Latin. It informs when they blossom, where they grow and what medicinal and food uses have they served during the times of early pioneers and Native American Peoples.” We will carpool to Prairie Ridge, one mile from Oakland Mills, to use her “hands-on” component of drawing/coloring images of those flowers. Bring sketching paper, No. 2 pencils, and colored pencils, if you have them. This program is being funded by Humanities, Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Preregistration is appreciated, but not necessary. Free program.

October TBA 6:00-7:30 p.m. Odd Couples. Annual night hike. This year will be slightly different from night hikes of the past. Instead of skits, each station will be tv show themed. Carnival-style games will be played to demonstrate each show’s underlying messages. Keep in mind- the theme may NOT be what you are expecting! All ages. Educational and fun– not scary. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Reservations not necessary. Station prizes and snacks. Presentation at Oakland Mills County Park rain or shine. Games will be held indoors at the nature center in the event of inclement weather. Free program.

November 18th 2:00 p.m. Homemade Holiday Beauty Bags with conservation staff. Making your own natural beauty products is easier than you think. Doing so gives you control of ingredients, satisfaction, and peace of mind about exactly what you are putting on your body. Come learn a few techniques and take home a gift bag for yourself or give as a holiday present. There will be at least five items to make and take with you. Fees and preregistration are due via mycountyparks on or before November 9th. Ages 10 through adult. Cost: $10.00 per participant.


Oakland Mills has its own GEOCACHE! Go to for more information.

Kitty Cache

A cache by the Henry County Conservation Department            Hidden: 7-2009

Size: Small/ multiple                          Difficulty: 3 stars                   Terrain: 2 mild, but long distance

Start at N40°55.882 W    091°37.098

From there, head for the first cache at 40°55.908 W    091°37.143

Hint: You will be looking for a green ammunition box.

 In Iowa, United States

 Notes about the cache:

Nice walk around a county park to find multiple caches. Shows off many aspects of the park. Caches are located in the vicinity of different trails- you will have to walk off the trails to find them. Follow the clues to the next area and cache. KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN and pay attention to your surroundings. The hunt begins in an open, obvious place.


Water Works Park

Pond Study

Ross Observation Tower

Fun at Camp!