Tag Archives: nature

Seeing details in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

17 Aug

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebrates its 22nd year as an official state park, beginning its operation in 1997 and located in North Sioux City, South Dakota Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

Visiting a number of places in Siouxland, then revisiting them, I am always amused to “see” something I overlooked previously on a visit. Whether that’s good or bad, and depending on what I was concentrating on something else at the time, I always rationalize that it gives me something to look forward too on a return visit. And most times it’s the small details that I overlook. The big picture is just that.  All engrossing because it’s focuses one’s attention in a big way. But the details fill in the gaps, and perhaps lend another thought to history or part of the story. Or just more questions about a period of time one can read about, but again, it’s mostly just the big picture that is painted by the words, no time or space to delve into some of the details.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visiting a refuge in Siouxland, the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

15 Aug

On a nice cool fall day the outside benches are an ideal place to sit and enjoy the quiet at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summertime in Siouxland is not always the best time to visit the DeSoto National Wildlife refuge. The migration of waterfowl and other birds has not yet begun and so they may not be a lot to see while visiting on a humid summer day. But maybe that’s the point and a person can spend more time checking out other displays at the welcome center and learning more about the area and the nature it contains. While there this summer I heard a few smaller birds sitting in trees and saw some turtles resting on logs in the water, but pickings were slim and the day much too hot and humid to spend much time enjoying the refuge’s trails.

A viewing gallery inside the Welcome Center at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge allows visitors to look for and observe waterfowl during a visit, situated along the Missouri River and near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

What looks like a momma or pappa turtle and a younger one bask on a log at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Informational displays help explain life along the Missouri River and wetlands that existed in the area around the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Checking out the displays inside the welcome center was something I had not completely finished on an earlier a visit a year or two ago. Then I was more interested in seeing the migrating birds and trying to photograph them from inside and outside the center. But some of the displays, while brief, give nice details about the history of the area and what life was like previously besides having a nice quiet moment, as they were no others there at the time and thinking about the upcoming migration of birds once again completing their life cycle on a yearly basis.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Display signs showing various raptors help visitors identify what they may see along the water from inside a viewing gallery inside the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Native plants greet visitors entering the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Welcome Center near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summertime in Siouxland, Nature in rural Nebraska

7 Aug

Summertime can be a cornucopia of critters, both large and mostly small. Insects blossom during this time of warmer temperatures and humid days. But what can a person do? When driving about in Siouxland I do stop my car and get out and take a look around. Sometimes a closer look, which makes it all the better when one is pleasantly surprised in nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A butterfly lands on a thistle in a field at Winnebago, NE August 3, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A butterfly finds a landing spot in a field at Winnebago, NE August 3, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing History in Siouxland, Gerald R Ford Birthsite and Gardens, Omaha, NE

30 Jun

The history of the 38th U.S. President is told in the garden area of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The history of the 38th U.S. President is told in the garden area of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While trying to research something else about the Omaha, NE area I came across the Gerald R. Ford Birthplace and Gardens site online. Something I didn’t even know existed in this area, having associated the 38th president with being from Michigan. Once again, those little details of history that are never really known unless encountered in one manner or another.

The history of the 38th U.S. President is told in the garden area of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a number of informational postings along with images and objects to give visitors a little historical background. One of which is that Pres. Ford’s mother divorced her first husband, his father, and moved to the Michigan area where she eventually remarried and he garnered the name of his second father who adopted him and which as they say is now history.

The history of the 38th U.S. President is told in the garden area of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Situated in a residential area where the garden looks out onto is the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The garden is quite nice, although it looked like a hail storm may have passed by at one point prior to my visit because the plants looked poorly with a number of them having shredded leaves. In another area of Omaha plant life looked fine. The area like much of Siouxland has gotten much rain so that wasn’t an issue.

Recent plants look damaged from a hail storm in the garden area of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Members of the Sioux City Camera Club visit the garden area of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Members of the Sioux City Camera Club check out the garden area of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Again, it’s always fun to explore new areas just to see what is there and maybe learn something new. But another visit another year when the plants are in better health might be another trip.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The garden area of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A list of presidents names is seen in the garden area of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The history of the 38th U.S. president is told in part in the garden area of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Long Day in Siouxland, Stone State Park, Sioux City

24 Jun

Stone State Park manager Brianna Martens leads a solstice hike on the longest day of the year in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The longest day of the year recently passed here in Siouxland as it did in other places too. A group of friends and like-minded individuals assembled at a local state park, Stone State Park, to celebrate solstice and get in a hike with plenty of light still available to find one’s way through the forested area. At least with this hike one didn’t have to worry about slipping on ice or stepping off the trail in the darkness.

The Northwest Iowa Group, Sierra Club rented two campsites for people to camp out overnight and enjoy nature. However, nature wasn’t having any of it as it has been raining a few days and folk showed up to walk and enjoy a meal cooked outdoors, but no one was staying the night. So it was a hike they made to just enjoy nature and revisit some areas a few had previously hiked on their own.

Solstice hikers stop to check out certain foliage along a trail in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park manager Brianna Martens leads a solstice hike in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This group of avid explorers remarked about certain plants they found along the way, noting that young deer eat plants that older deer do not, as well as tiny moths glowing white (they are white) in the early evening light within the forest and standing out against a carpet of green.

Stone State park intern Emily shows a solstice hiker a confirmation of a moth species they found in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With all the recent rain beginning in early spring Stone State Park was carpeted in green as far as the eye could see during a solstice hike in in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Stone State Park manager Brianna Martens said it’s because of these core people that have an interest in their local parks that stopping by and spending some time with them, even taking them on a short hike is always delightful and a way to celebrate the longest day of the year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Stone State Park manager Brianna Martens, left, talks with Bill Zales during a solstice hike in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, June 21, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A View from the Top in Siouxland, Mulberry Bend Overlook

20 Jun

A view of the Missouri River separating Nebraska (this side) and South Dakota and the Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019. (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

I came across a roadway leaving Vermillion, SD that crosses into Nebraska in Siouxland recently that I wasn’t familiar with but was pleasantly surprised. The bridge crossing brings one to the Mulberry Bend Overlook that sits on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River and looks out over the river and back into South Dakota. It was easy to spend an hour looking over the landscape and hiking a couple of accessible trails that were short but nice.

Information tablets and a rest area at the top of Mulberry Bend Overlook above the Missiouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A family makes it way along a trail above the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

It’s these kinds of excursions that I enjoy coming across when out and about in the area. Something unexpected, although not for locals probably. It will be a great site to revisit during different times of the year as well as the scenery will change with seasons.

A trail leads down below the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019, and a different view of the Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge. (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A bench and an information tablet in a rest area off of a trail below the Mulberry Bend Overlook overlooking the Missouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The bridge was only recently constructed within the last decade or so but makes it so much nicer to travel back and forth between the two states without driving miles away to cross over the Missiouri in Yankton, SD. But some history lessons are also included for those so inclined.

The Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

An information tablet along with others gives background information about the area at a rest point at Mulberry Bend Overlook above the Missiouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The views and really pleasant and spending time just looking and enjoying and hearing nature without a lot of other “white noise”, at least there were only a few other individuals there when I visited the site.

Possibly another little adventure to add to one of my Photo Safari classes I teach at a local community college, thinking those who attend that particular class will enjoy the views as much as I.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A view from a trail above the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A look at the Missouri River from a trail below the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Blooming Beauties in Siouxland, Sioux City

18 Jun

It may be trite to say, but as said before, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In a Siouxland backyard area of a home one flower blooms while what some might consider a weed has also bloomed. Depending on a person’s perception of flower and weed, wanted and not wanted, beauty is there in simple form and contrast and personal perception. While I would like more of the flowers and less of the dandelions sprouting in a yard, the mosaic look of the dandelion before the seeds launch is fascinating and complex and a sight to behold.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Blooming flower in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A seeded dandelion in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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