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Birding on the Green Kicks Off in Okoboji
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Birding on the Green Kicks Off in Okoboji

Warblers, waterfowl, woodpeckers --- you’ll check dozens of species off your birding list each month during Birding on the Green in Okoboji.

Birding on the Green is a free program hosted by Dickinson County Conservation that will be held 7 a.m. Mondays May 6, June 3, July 1, Aug. 5 and Sept. 13. Meet at the Brooks Golf cart house and head out in golf carts to check off up to 60 birds per month with other local birders. Binoculars are also provided for those who need them.

“People are intrigued by Birding on the Green because they don’t always view a golf course as good habitat, but it has a good tree line, tree species and it butts up to the Dickinson County Nature Center’s property, so we swing over to look for bluebirds and to look on the wetland,” said Bryanna Kuhlman, environmental education coordinator. “We get a large range of people that come. We get our novice birders that have never been before and are curious, and we get our community birders that are avid.”

Local birding pros will help identify species that are seen and heard. In May 2018, participants counted 58 species including a blue-winged teal, northern shoveler, cormorant, lesser yellowlegs, ring-billed gull, yellow warbler, palm warbler and five species of woodpeckers.

“There were a lot of cool birds last May,” Kuhlman said.

The monthly bird counts assist Brooks Golf in keeping its Audubon certification, and it is also a great event for those who love our avian friends.

“People really enjoy it,” Kuhlman said. “I’ve heard, ‘It’s a very peaceful, quiet morning,’ to they’re impressed by the knowledge of our community birders. People also get excited about the number of species, by the end of the day, they’ve been able to spot.”

Dickinson County Conservation has partnered with Brooks Golf for many years for the Birding on the Green program, and this March the conservation board also took ownership of the course when an anonymous donation of $3 million was given to the Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County. The non-profit fundraising arm for the conservation board used the donation to purchase the course and then gave possession of the 230 acres, including the pro shop, clubhouse restaurant, and maintenance structures to the conservation board. Minerva’s Restaurant and Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center are separate entities and were not included in the transaction.

Part of the donation agreement was to place a conservation easement on the land to protect it from development in perpetuity, and the Dickinson County Conservation Board will work with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation on this easement in the coming year.

Dickinson County Conservation reached an agreement with Brooks Management LLC to run the former Brooks National Golf Club through 2019. During the next year, the conservation board will discuss the future of the golf course and land management in general. Public comments will be sought and surveys will be taken to make sure that the land is being utilized in the best way possible for residents and visitors as well as for the conservation and preservation of wildlife, water quality and the environment in general.

For more information on Dickinson County Conservation Board programming such as Birding on the Green, please visit our website or call 712-336-6352. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Image credit: Dickinson County Conservation

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