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Getting a View in Siouxland, Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park, rural Woodbury County

4 May
An adult bald eagle watches waterfowl below at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While many folk have access and the ability to visit a number county and regional parks in Siouxland, I for one feel lucky that I can enjoy the various trails and sights and scenes I come across. But that might not be true of all residents. When I visited Brown’s Lake earlier this year I noticed that the Woodbury County Conservation group installed a small deck that is “handicapped” accessible, now making it easier for some people to stand or sit over the water. To watch the waterfowl, maybe fish, or later, enjoy a summer’s evening, notwithstanding the mosquitoes who might also be visiting.

A newly built handicapped accessible deck is seen at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A newly built handicapped accessible deck is seen at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have enjoyed a few outings to the lake and the chance to see various migrating waterfowl passing through the area. Although I braved the colder temps and winds gust of 30mph and higher in doing so. Call me crazy, but it was still worth it to watch nature and enjoy the show at hand.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A number of Canada and greater white-fronted geese lift off after being spooked at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A newly built handicapped accessible deck is seen at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese take off from Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Greater white-fronted geese lift off at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Imagining History in Siouxland, Inkpaduta Canoe Trail, Correctionville

26 Apr
A sign informs a visitor about the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park in Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I come across a piece of history in Siouxland I was not familiar with previously, I sometimes try to imagine what life may have been like in that time period, at least what the landscape might have appeared to those first settlers, and of course, to those already living in the region.

A sign informs a visitor about the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park in Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular day was not an ideal day to photograph in black and white. Overcast, darkish and a brown landscape does not make for exciting and provoking imagery. But given the history of the Little Sioux River and what an earlier exploring photographer might have seen and recorded make me think photographing in black and white appropriate.

Also this reference at Copeland Park in Correctionville to Inkpaduta does not include the sadder saga that occurred in Okoboji of where settlers were massacred by this chief and his braves which happened in retaliation to his own brother being killed by a white settler for the reason of not helping a starving group of Native Americans who had long resided in the area “now claimed” as his land.

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail along with a forested area near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So I try to imagine the area as seen by those first inhabitants, long before farming reshaped the landscape or any kind of building touched the landscape. Photographing in black and white might be an homage to an earlier exploring photographer but probably did not do justice to the scenes depicted. I personally like a bit more contrast and saturated blacks. However I don’t spend a lot of time in post processing and do not use plug in accessories that might create a stronger B&W image.

It was just nice to find another slice of history I had not previously encountered and enjoy that day the relative quiet that was almost certain prevalent in the day when there was no traffic noise from a nearby roadway. Just the sound of leaves underfoot and the running of the water in the riverbed. Maybe as Simon and Garfunkel believed in their tune, “The Sounds of Silence”.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A forested area along the Inkpaduta canoe trail at Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

More Bird Antics in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

20 Apr
A downy woodpecker checks out the scene at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never tire of watching birds at bird feeders. Each species seems to have its own ritual when having a bite to eat. And sometimes I even feel intrusive watching them eat as they stop, stare, long and hard, before continuing their meal. But for a quiet moment, it can be bliss.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Art Near Siouxland, and Just Seeing, Joslyn Musem, Omaha, NE

18 Apr
A security person walks through a painting gallery section at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy walking about art museums for the obvious reasons. Those in Siouxland and those that are located near the area. The chance to look at and ponder what lies before one’s eyes whether you agree with or even like what you see. But the creator of the piece saw something, and a museum displaying it saw worth in the acquisition to share with the public.

The painting of the woman and cat at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The subject’s eyes in the painting seem to follow visitors as they walk by. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Walking about the museum’s various galleries and public areas can also test the visitor’s “seeing” and the architecture involved to pique an interest. And whether one sees the entire scene or just a detail helps shape perception on the part of the viewer and can in turn help develop one’s eye.

The last look at the fountain and formal entrance at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The fountain in a main entrance at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And whether one wants to record, or photograph, what one sees and how one sees something can also be an exercise to “practice seeing” and later look at again and determine if what was recorded is what was intended. Exercising one’s vision to help refine a way of seeing is not a bad thing. As an instructor once told me, painters have a blank canvas to add elements too to create what they envision. A photographer has a lot of stuff in their field of view and then must eliminate or distill down the image that is envisioned to share with others as well as what photographically speaks to that individual.

Walking through a museum there are so many ways to interpret what is there by the use of space or light or depth, shapes, lines and angles. Making a conscious effort to align these in what an individual might believe is a telling image.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A different perspective of a piece of art work at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A different perspective of a piece of art work at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bird Antics in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

2 Apr
A red bellied woodpecker checks out the area before approaching a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When out and about in Siouxland and enjoying nature, I can only smile sometimes when I see various antics the feathered friends sometimes provide. A real life “floor show” with meaning. This winter on a warmish day I watched a red bellied woodpecker enjoying himself at a suet feeder, all the while keeping an eye on an interloper who sat nearby, watching. A Cyclops that unblinkingly never wavered from watching the bird enjoy an afternoon snack. These are those days from which I can amass a few hundred photographs trying to find one or two interesting moments or movements. But then, sometimes those moments don’t really materialize but are just images frozen in time of a warm winter’s afternoon.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A red bellied woodpecker eyes a visitor as it readies to snack at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red bellied woodpecker feeds at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red bellied woodpecker feeds at a suet feeder at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red bellied woodpecker feeds at a suet feeder at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Changes in Siouxland, Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

31 Mar
Construction is underway for an addition at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Changes are underway at an art museum in Omaha, NE, The Joslyn Museum. The collection of artwork there is amazing to see as are the various traveling exhibits the museum brings to share with its visitors. Traveling throughout Siouxland one has an opportunity to enjoy world class art in a number of places, and sometimes those places need a refresh to adjust to a new era and planning for their own future.

Construction is underway for an addition at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small school group checks out a glass exhibit by artist David Gilhooly at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Construction is seen underway for an addition from inside the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Myself and some friends were not alone the particular day we visited. School groups, families and other small groups and individuals moved about the exhibit rooms enjoying the art and sculpted pieces on display. A nice to see scenes depicted centuries ago by famous, and maybe not so famous artists but all worth the time to view, maybe sit and contemplate what the is there. In a museum time becomes somewhat irrelevant and for good reason. There is no need to hurry, but better to linger and savor and enjoy the beauty before one’s eyes.

Artwork at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A family check out a painting at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A visitor checks out artwork at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum will be closing this May for a couple of years according to information on its website. And I wanted one last change to wander and browse the fine art and architectural sights within the building. A little selfishly, I enjoy visiting the museum on hot summer days. When it’s unbearable to be outdoors, the dim lighting and wonderful works to view was always a respite from the day’s oppressive nature. A sanctuary to just sit and enjoy beauty and all that is offered.

Change and the future sometimes requires one to learn patience and to anticipate what new experiences the Joslyn Museum will offer its patrons and visits in the years to come.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Construction is underway for an addition at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The DeMille Moment in Siouxland, Sioux City

25 Mar
A squirrel pauses for his “Mr. DaMille, I’m ready for my closeup”moment as he snacks in a backyard Sunday, December 26, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when out and about visiting places in Siouxland I neglect some other backyard visitors who stop by to say hello and enjoy some snacks at the same time. The furry little creatures occasionally stop to tell me something but mostly ignore me as long as they find treats in the usual places.

A squirrel pauses and looks over another visitor in the backyard in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I can’t say we are on a first name basis, but the little critters scamper about and seem to delight in playing tag with one another and making a ruckus after a morning snack. And as spring approaches and the weather doesn’t have a chill in the air, I am certain I will find them about more often, basking in the sunshine and like all of us, glad winter is passing, at least for a few months.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A squirrel eats a snack at a feeder in the backyard of a residence Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Final Curtain Comes Down in Siouxland, Prairie Grass Film Challenge, Dordt University, Sioux Center

25 Feb
A late comer sneaks into the screening of Monte Ne Productions “Stuck: An Original Musical” which won the overall best of show at the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently I attended the final awards ceremony for a Siouxland film festival, the Prairie Grass Film Challenge. A 48-hour turn around production of “content worth consuming” hosted at Dordt University located in Sioux Center. Currently a people’s choice is going on for the one video that folk deem the most liked, by those voting. Entrance films ran the gamut from high school students to those beyond college. And having done some judging of the films over the last few years there was a lot of excellent work being done by a number of individuals and teams.

Enjoying an “Oscar” Red Carpet moment are people involved with various production crews who entered the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bob Pollema and Mark Volkers emceed the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A member of the cast for “Live in the Mind” Run For Your Life Productions, watches himself on screen during the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The films ranged from comedy, drama, musical, mockumentary to sci-fi and mystery. Each team had to include a line of dialogue and a character and prop. Many were quite creative in how these required items were displayed in the film, while others simply included them, I assume as necessary evils possibly not in keeping with whatever creative visions folk had in mind. But in the real (reel) world where others are paying the freight, sometimes there are requirements and the challenge is including them without compromising the final product/storyline.

The awards ceremony has its Oscar moments with some reveals and red carpet opportunities for those attending. A chance to see if they had won their respective category and to see others films as well. The digital media department for Dordt works to help students find their footing and hone skills that will allow them to tell stories effectively after they graduate. A Christian-based liberal arts school, those involved genuinely want to make the world a better place. But that all comes down to point of view and what stories are being told. But as with any job or career path, sometimes the storytelling takes a turn as one matures and sees life up close and personal as opposed to hearing about it through parents and teachers and whatever other filters a young person might have. Experience is its own teacher, right or wrong, and the experience the folk participating the film challenge allows them to try various ideas, compete in a team-work environment and make a positive statement through their participating.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Udo Velvet Productions receives a special award for participating in 11 of the past Prairie Grass Film Challenge years during the final awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying an “Oscar” Red Carpet moment are people involved with various production crews who entered the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Prairie Grass Film Challenge founder Mark Volkers, center, looks over a gift he received as his wife, Janelle, left, Bob Pollema, back, and Vern Eekhof, right look on during the final awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Members of the public and family, friends and film production entrants begin arriving for the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mark Volkers and Sandy Reitsma pose for a photo at the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dordt University jazz ensemble warms up the audience for the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Prairie Grass Film Challenge founder Mark Volkers, right, talks with film entrants prior to the final awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mark Volkers, founder of the Prairie Grass Film Challenge recognizes people involved with the challenge that include Sandy Reitsma, Gayle Haarsma, Darlene Reichert and Bob Pollema, Daniel Ketchelos, Miranda Munson and Vern Eekhof during the final awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bob Pollema talks with a winning film team during the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A winning film team receive its “check” and recognition during the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying an “Oscar” Red Carpet moment are people involved with various production crews who entered the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Colored streamers jazz up the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A production worker talks about the falling streamers and other surprises while putting finishing touches to the state for the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Unexpectedly Finding History in Siouxland, Badger Lake Wildlife Refuge, Monona County

21 Feb

A older sign designating a place as a campsite of the Lewis and Clark expedition when it moved through the area exploring the Louisiana Purchase found near Badger Lake Wildlife Refuge in Monona County, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021, near Whiting, IA. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes I find it amazing as I explore Siouxland the little things that pop up, whether true or not , because of a convenient history and clever marketing or the actual truth.

While checking out the Badger Lake Wildlife Refuge area in rural Monona County I came upon a sign trying to photograph White American Pelicans on the lake area. I was walking around the lake and looking for a vantage point to photograph the pelicans through the trees when I saw the sign, almost covered by weeds and somewhat obscured by a cornfield not yet harvested.

The Sergeant Floyd Monument is located in Sioux City not that many miles from this area located south of it and where the only Lewis and Clark Expedition member died while exploring the Louisiana Purchase territory for then President Thomas Jefferson.

When the anniversary of the expedition occurred so many years ago and people were traveling the country “following” the trail, it’s only human nature to find some sort of tie-in to history. Attracting tourism dollars is never a bad thing. And it’s more than possible that remnants of a campsite and/or mention in the journals’ of the explorers account for this area being a stopping point. Travel in those days was slow, even slower via a reluctant Missouri River.

A older sign designating a place as a campsite of the Lewis and Clark expedition when it moved through the area is found near Badger Lake Wildlife Refuge in Monona County, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021, near Whiting, IA. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring an area across the road from a where sign states a former campsite of the Lewis and Clark expedition was located when it moved through the area exploring the Louisiana Purchase and found near Badger Lake Wildlife Refuge in Monona County, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021, near Whiting, IA. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having previously worked for various newspapers I am always skeptical about information I find. I guess it comes with the territory as people either want to embellish their importance in life or trying to deflect something about that life. That truth seems a little more evident these days, but I digress.

Still, it is fun to think that standing there at that spot were some brave souls on an adventure exploring a country still in its infancy and having no idea how the areas they explored would look centuries later. The prairie these men encountered is long gone, now mostly farmland, and the Missouri River “tamed” by a corp of engineers, whose verdict, depending on who one talks with, is still out.

But on a sunny fall day, with a breeze blowing and geese flying for a brief moment one might think you are encountering a scene those men saw so many, many years before.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Geese fly overhead of an area across the road from a where sign states a former campsite of the Lewis and Clark expedition was located when it moved through the area exploring the Louisiana Purchase is found near Badger Lake Wildlife Refuge in Monona County, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021, near Whiting, IA. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring an area across the road from a where sign states a former campsite of the Lewis and Clark expedition was located when it moved through the area exploring the Louisiana Purchase is found near Badger Lake Wildlife Refuge in Monona County, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021, near Whiting, IA. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring Wishing in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, South Dakota

13 Feb
A female eastern blue bird sits perched in a tree at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even though February has barely begun in Siouxland and elsewhere, the current warm weather spell has increased that longing for spring to arrive, early even, for an opportunity for early morning walks and searching for song birds again at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve.

A photographer searches a wetland area for a specific species of songbird at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young robin puffs out its feathers sitting in a bush near a wetland area at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The fresh air that doesn’t freeze the air passage on the way in and sunlight early in the morning is a delight that some folk enjoy. Plus it makes getting exercise easier when one doesn’t think about frozen toes walking on one the preserves many trails. And if one happens to linger a bit to just enjoy the moment, hot coffee doesn’t pop into one’s mind giving incentive to hurry back to the car and a warmer space after a brisk walk.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A robin sits in the shade of a tree at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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