Spend a weekend celebrating wildlife through music, nature and family fun

Colleen Hamilton Writer with IWC
IWC executive director Marlene Ehresman gently feeds an abandoned, days-old female Bobcat a special kitten formula. Photo by Kevin Cavallin/IWC

Come to Madrid and share a weekend that blends wildlife, earthy activities and feel-good music…all while supporting native wildlife rehabilitation and conservation education.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24, the staff, board members and volunteers from the Iowa Wildlife Center (IWC), a 501(c)3 nonprofit, will host a benefit concert and an outdoor festival.

Saturday will feature the talent of musician, author and artist Douglas Wood, who will be performing at 7 p.m. at Snus Hill Winery, 2183 320th St., Madrid. During intermission, food, informational material and merchandise will be provided, and IWC Executive Director Marlene Ehresman will share the latest on IWC activities.

Then on Sunday, from 1-4 p.m., guests are invited to visit the IWC property, WildWay, 1518 260th St., Madrid, for the free Wild Awake! Outdoor Festival. Bring your lawn chair and water bottle and take part in live owl programs; a naturalist-led nature walk; a Creative Spirits painting experience; wild fortune telling; Boone Valley Brewing beer tasting; Smokin’ Big Dawgs BBQ and more entertainment by Wood, who will share stories and perform children’s songs.

As a naturalist and a wilderness guide who has led countless expeditions from the Boundary Waters to the Northwest Territories, Wood is a spot-on pick as the weekend’s high point. “I think that IWC is a true gift to the state of Iowa, its wildlife and all who love them,” he says. “To be able to help support Marlene and all the wonderful folks who are involved with IWC is a privilege and an honor. And I can’t wait for this special event!”

The IWC has recently grown its facilities by adding three large outdoor conditioning cages for various wild species and are expanding their available educational events this summer. Two additional well-received events include the High Trestle Hawk Watch, typically held the first weekend of October on central Iowa’s High Trestle Trail Bridge, and the All Species, One Earth celebration, often held during Earth Week in Ames.

All proceeds support IWC, an organization committed to saving wild lives, educating the public and stewarding the environment. Sponsors for the weekend include Measures, Inc., Douglas Wood, Snus Hill Winery, Smokin’ Dawgs, Boone Convention and Visitors Bureau and Portable Pro Iowa. Free-will donations welcomed and appreciated. To learn more about IWC and purchase advance tickets for $25 for Saturday’s concert, visit www.iowawildlifecenter.org.