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Local

Weather helps shape JC Conservation numbers

Naturalist with Jasper County Conservation Katie Cantu looks at a document that outlines the overall program numbers for 2019. Weather brought trends in the amount of programs and numbers for 2019.
Naturalist with Jasper County Conservation Katie Cantu looks at a document that outlines the overall program numbers for 2019. Weather brought trends in the amount of programs and numbers for 2019.

JCC recently released its 2019 program numbers which revealed weather was a common trend into a decrease in program attendance. Even though the weather cut into some of the numbers there were still positives to take away from a year of education.

“We had a couple of events that we just couldn’t have because the weather didn’t cooperate for us,” naturalist Greg Oldsen said.

Naturalist Katie Cantu added, “Some of our school programs actually were canceled, too.”

The weather cut into school field trips due to wetness Cantu said and staff saw the cancelation of other bigger events such as the Caring for Conservation concert at Ashton Park that was canceled due to rain.

“We were a little disappointed by that,” Cantu said.

There were seven large school events that could have been held at a nature center, which JCC is currently in the process of fundraising for. JCC is going to continue to fundraise for this center with another auction and another Caring for Conservation concert in 2020.

“We feel that with a nature center building a lot of things that would otherwise be canceled because of rain or bad weather we could at least move it to an indoor location and still see those groups,” Cantu said.

While the up and down weather of 2019 brought with it certain drops in programs the better weather brought with it positive things happening within JCC. Program numbers went up in places like public paddle events and youth summer camps.

“The weather held out for us but it seems like over the past three years our numbers have grown ... It is great to see that the numbers are growing and people are interested in getting out on the water,” Oldsen said.

The youth summer camps continued its growth in numbers in 2019. Cantu mentioned that it has been building over the years with people learning more about what JCC has to offer in terms of summer camps.

“Last year we had our first ever registration night where families could come to our office here and preregister their kids ... We literally had people lined up outside our door all the way down to the entrance of Maytag Park,” Cantu said.

To go along with the word steadily getting out with what JCC offers for summer camps Cantu and Oldsen mentioned having teacher externs and conservation assistant Jade Read helped with coming up with more ideas.

“The teacher externs are awesome to work with. Not only did they help to boost our numbers for summer camps by providing new camps but they also help us with classroom curriculum,” Oldsen said.

While 2019 was a year of strange weather for everyone JCC continued to push forward and take the good with the bad. Though the weather took a hit on some of their program numbers it also brought with it bright spots in other areas and the hope is to continue these trends into 2020.

“Hope the weather holds out for us ... I hope that summer camps are successful again this year,” Oldsen said.

Cantu added, “We have a lot of students excited about Spring field trips ... We have got a lot of great things planned. We see that there is definitely growing excitement and interest in this type of programming and we just hope to see lots of people out in the parks.”

Contact Dustin Teays at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or dteays@newtondailynews.com

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