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Lakeside Lab to present 12,000 years of living around the lakes

From Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

August 17, 2012
Estherville Daily News

When did the first humans arrive in northwest Iowa? How did they live? What tools did they use and how did they make them? Were the glaciers still present? The public is invited to explore these and more topics at the 21st Natural History Weekend to be held from Sept. 7-9 at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. Participants will spend a fun, fascinating weekend learning and mingling with experts in the fields of geology, archaeology, history and biology through lectures, discussions and field trips. A variety of registration options are available, including registration for individual, half or full day sessions. Meals and lodging on the rustic Lakeside campus are also available.

The weekend will kick off Friday evening with a lecture describing Iowa's geological past to set the stage for the arrival of the first humans. Titled "From Ancient Seas to Prairie Lakes: A Story of Northwest Iowa" the lecture will be presented by Art Bettis of the University of Iowa.

On Saturday, participants will travel 12,000 years back in time as they tour archaeological sites and geological features in the Iowa Great Lakes landscape. The day-long field trip will be preceded by an introductory morning lecture, given by Lynn Alex and Steve Lensink, archaeologists from the Iowa Office of State Archaeology. Bettis, a geologist, will co-lead the field trip, and point how the differences between the cultural and natural processes that influence landscape formation and change.

Article Photos

In addition to visits to archaeological sites and glacial landforms, participants in this year’s Natural History Weekend at Lakeside Lab have the option of birding in local wetlands, prairies and savannas.
Photo submitted

A sumptuous dinner will be served Saturday evening featuring a menu of foods native to the Americas. Dinner will be followed by special free lecture open to the public, thanks to a grant from Humanities Iowa. Omaha tribal member and historian Wynema Morris will present "Voicing the Absent Narrative", describing the phenomenon of the absent voices of Native Americans in telling and interpreting their own past, and how Native American perspectives contribute to archaeological and historical knowledge. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 712-337-3669, Extension 4.

On Sunday participants will have a choice between two outings. They can join the famous "Boji Birders" Lee and Nancy Schoenewe on a birding expedition that will include side discussion of the role of birds in early human history, or join archaeologist Jason Titcomb from the Stanford Museum in Cherokee on a field trip to visit a massive artifact collection at a private home in Lake Park. Because the collection is so well organized and documented, it is of great scientific value and has been used by many researchers to understand Iowa's human history.

Participation is limited for the weekend, and interested persons are asked to register before September 5. A variety of registration options are available, and can be viewed online by visiting the Lakeside website:, clicking on the 'What's New" tab, or by requesting a brochure from Jane Shuttleworth by contacting her at 712/337-3669, Ext. 7 or

Iowa Lakeside Laboratory is a field station of Iowa's state universities. It has provided classes and research opportunities since 1909. As a Regents Resource Center, Lakeside offers lifelong learning programs for the people of northwest Iowa.



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