“If I could put together all the virgin landscapes which I knew in my youth and show what has happened to them in one generation it would be the best object lesson in conservation that could be printed.”
Jay Norwood Darling, better known as "Ding", saw the landscape in Iowa change through his lifetime, from wild places full of life to those spoiled by humankind pushing westward. “This was my first conscious realization of what could happen to land, what could happen to clear running streams, what could happen to bird life and human life when the common laws of Mother Nature were regarded,” he once wrote.
Seeing the desecration of the land he loved inspired the famed political cartoonist to educate about conservation issues throughout his career.
During the event, go for a walking tour through the Kenue Park prairie to visit with each conservationist, and at each stop sample beer from West O or the Okoboji Brewing Company, wine from Little Swan Lake Winery, or non-alcoholic cocktails.
The Earth Day Celebration will begin at 4 p.m., with tours leaving every twenty minutes. Start at the nature center and purchase a souvenir tasting glass for $7 if you would like to sample alcohol --- (you must be 21 years of age or older) --- or for $5 if you would like to try the non-alcoholic cocktails. The event is free for children four and younger and for those who choose not to participate in the beverage tasting.
While waiting for your tour, stop by the Nature Store for a neat souvenir, get your face painted or make your own recycled planter and start your own seedling.
The event will wrap up at 7 p.m. with the final prairie tour leaving the nature center at that time.
All ages are welcome at the Earth Day Celebration, which will be held entirely indoors in the case of inclement weather.