Past Events


Hosted By:  Dubuque Area Land and Water Legacy

Music, Art and Story Fest to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge and the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act

Date:  Sunday, June 9, 2024
Time:  1:30 – 7 PM
Location:  Smokestack community cultural venue, 62 E. 7th St., Dubuque, IA

The event will start with a story-telling slam, followed by musical performances by Big Blue Sky at 3:00 and Sun Green at 5:00. Big Blue Sky is led by Jon “Hawk” Stravers, leader of the Driftless Area Bird Conservancy. Included will be a reading of a state resolution adopted by the House of Representatives marking June 7 as Upper Mississippi River Refuge Day in Iowa, the day of its establishment by Congress in 1924.  The “Echoes of the Mississippi” art exhibit will open with an artist reception as part of the fest.  The exhibit will reflect on the “majestic beauty of the Mississippi River refuge and its rich biodiversity,” said Ivonne Fals of Dubuque Area Arts Collective.  “The art will play a vital role in commemorating the refuge centennial and the anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, inspiring others to appreciate and protect these invaluable treasures for generations to come,” she added.

To start the event, personal stories of encounters with the river and its inhabitants will be highlighted in the story slam coordinated by Dale Easley. People with short stories to tell in a Moth Radio Hour-like format can contact Easley at

All monies raised will support the Dubuque Area Land, Water and Wildlife Habitat Fund, set up at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque by Dubuque Area Land and Water Legacy. Until June 6, online contributions to the fund of $20 or more will include first floor admission to the art, music and story fest.  Remaining tickets will be available at the door for $25. None of these donations will be used to pay costs of the event.  All will go to the habitat fund
The event is being organized by Chuck Isenhart and co-hosted by Smokestack, which is contributing the venue and sound system.  Dubuque Area Arts Collective is curating the art exhibit.  Dubuque Audubon Society is a co-sponsor of the music.
Refuge 100th Anniversary Logo

Hosted By:  Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge – 100th Anniversary Celebration in the Savanna District

Date:  Saturday, June 8, 2024
Time:  10 AM – 2 PM
Location:  Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center, 7071 Riverview Road, Thompson, IL 61285

Join us for a special event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Refuge! We will be hosting an open-house style event with presentations, demonstrations and activities for all ages! These will include, but not be limited to, conservation partner exhibition booths, a presentation of the first 100 years, meeting the faces of the Refuge, live fish identification, boat and river safety talks, flora walks, golf cart tours, an exhibition of the Friends of the Refuge Headwaters photo contest winners, arts and crafts, face painting, and lots of other free fun for everyone!

Questions? Call the Savanna District Office at 815-273-2732. We will update our Facebook post as we continue to develop event activities!  Please stay tuned for more details!

More events, hosted by our partners and partners and Friends Groups, will be hosted up and down the river! Find out more at the 100th anniversary website.

Dubuque Audubon May Program

Reintroduction of Whooping Cranes to Wisconsin!

Saturday, 5/18/24
12:30 – 1:30 PM

EB Lyons Interpretive Center
8991 Bellevue Heights Road
Dubuque, IA 52003
View Map

George Archibald, Co-Founder and Senior Conservationist of the International Crane Foundation and author of My Life with Cranes, will share the amazing story of how Whooping Cranes were reintroduced to Wisconsin.  

Captive-raised birds learned the route to Florida by following three ultralight airplanes, outfitted with crane puppets to look like their parents.  George will bring one of these crane puppets to demonstrate how they are used to prevent the chicks from imprinting on humans.  His presentation will include how ICF breeds Whooping Cranes in captivity, releases them to the wild, and monitors their movements using radio transmitters attached to a leg band that communicates with satellites.

We are very fortunate to have George be the one to share this incredible success story!

NEW OPTION (WEATHER PERMITTING):  To join a birding group with George beginning around 10 AM near EB Lyons, please call Marty Corfman at 563-542-8511.  Optionally bring your lunch for an 11:45 lunch break.

George Archibald
George Archibald
Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane
© Marty Corfman
Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane
© Mary Leigh
Baltimore Oriole
American Redstart
Orchard Oriole
Green Heron
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Dubuque Audubon Annual Spring Species Count

Saturday, 5/11/24

View Map for Initial Location
View Map for Potluck Picnic

Join us for our annual fun day of spring birding!  You’re welcome to spend as much or as little time as you like.  We’ll meet up for a potluck picnic at the end of the day.  (For those who might want to plan ahead for other years, we traditionally hold this event on the Saturday before Mother’s Day.)

This event is free, and no birding experience is required.  Audubon guides will be on hand to help you identify species.  Binoculars are recommended.

Arrive as early as 6 AM for birding around the Julien Dubuque Monument, but be sure to arrive in the monument parking lot by 8 AM if you want to continue to other locations.*  

After 8 AM, we’re no longer guaranteed to be in the monument area.  We’ll likely start on some trails at Mines of Spain, and we’ll drive between locations.  Some may opt to go out to lunch and continue birding into the afternoon, where the destination will be determined as we go.

At 5 PM, we’ll gather at Swiss Valley Park (not to be confused with Swiss Valley Nature Center) for a potluck picnic at the Sycamore Pavilion.  We’ll provide brats and hotdogs, and we’ll tabulate the birding results.  To help with our planning, please give us your brat and/or hot dog counts no later than noon on the day before, either by filling out a Contact Us form or by sending an email to  If you birded with us for part of the day, we’d be glad to have you return for the picnic!  Optionally bring a dish to pass and/or table service, but neither are required!  Bottled water will be provided.

* If you cannot arrive by 8 AM, you may make other arrangements by filling out a Contact Us form or by emailing no later than noon on the day before. 

16th St. Basin Garbage

Popup Event

Dubuque 16th Street Basin Cleanup

Sunday, 4/21/24

View Map

The 16th Street Basin is an important stopping point for migratory birds.  This basin drains directly into the Mississippi River.  Unfortunately this area is littered with thousands of plastic bottles, cans, etc.  Please join Dubuque Audubon as we attempt to put a dent in this trash buildup.  Gloves and bags will be provided.  Please meet at the 16th St. basin overlook pavilion by 2 pm to help.

Dubuque Audubon April Program

Churchill, Manitoba – Past & Present

Thursday, 4/11/24
6 – 7 PM

EB Lyons Interpretive Center
8991 Bellevue Heights Road
Dubuque, IA 52003
View Map

Dubuque Audubon board members Maggie O’Connell, Bob Walton, and Sandy Walton will speak about their 1986 and 2019 trips to Churchill, Manitoba.

Churchill, Manitoba is known as the polar bear and beluga whale capital of the world and is considered a bird watcher and aurora borealis viewing paradise.  The program will focus on excerpts from a 1986 canoeing and camping trip on the Churchill River, which ended with a stay in the town of Churchill, as well as their 2019 stay in the modern Churchill of today.

Polar Bear
Polar Bear
© Bob Walton

Dubuque Audubon March Program

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge—The First 100 Years

Thursday, 3/14/24
6 – 7 PM

EB Lyons Interpretive Center
8991 Bellevue Heights Road
Dubuque, IA 52003
View Map

Ed Britton, manager of the Savanna District of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, will summarize the history of the refuge, which was created in 1924 and celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2024. 

The Refuge stretches 261 miles from Wabasha, Minnesota to Rock Island, Illinois, protecting over 240,000 acres of Mississippi River floodplain. He will also discuss recently completed habitat improvements within the Savanna district and proposed future projects.

Refuge 100th Anniversary Logo
Ring-Necked Duck

Dubuque Audubon Annual Duck Waddle

Saturday, 3/9/24

Green Island Wildlife Management Area
located in Jackson County, IA
View Map

Join us on our annual trip to Green Island to observe migrating waterfowl!  Green Island is one of Iowa’s largest wetland complexes and attracts thousands of ducks, geese, cranes, and other aquatic-based birds each March.  Audubon guides will be on hand to help identify the numerous species.  Binoculars are recommended.  This event is free, and you may come and go as you choose.

To carpool from Dubuque, meet at Banworth & Udelhoven Furniture World at 9396 Bellevue Heights Road (View Map) at 6:00 AM.  Otherwise you can meet the group at Green Island on Fish Lake Road where it intersects Green Island Road (View Map) between 6:45 and 7:00 AM.

Normally the trip lasts most of the morning, and for those that wish, we end by having breakfast/lunch at a restaurant.

Dubuque Audubon February Program

Iowa Wildlife Action Plan

Thursday, 2/8/24
6 – 7 PM

EB Lyons Interpretive Center
8991 Bellevue Heights Road
Dubuque, IA 52003
View Map

Katy Fullin, Iowa DNR Wildlife Action Plan Manager, will speak  about the Iowa Wildlife Action Plan (IWAP) and what is being done to implement it.  

First approved in 2006, this plan is a 25-year strategy for conservation of all wildlife in Iowa. It is a proactive plan designed to conserve all wildlife in Iowa before they become rare and more costly to protect.

Dubuque Audubon January Program


Thursday, 1/11/24
6 – 7 PM

EB Lyons Interpretive Center
8991 Bellevue Heights Road
Dubuque, IA 52003
View Map

David Shealer, professor at Loras College, will give a demonstration on eBird, including some advanced tools.

With its launch in 2002 as a joint project by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, eBird allows birders of all experience levels to enter when, where, and how they went birding, entering checklists of all birds seen and heard during their outings (both past and present).

You can access this accumulated birding data, looking up which birds have been seen where.  If you create an eBird account, then you can start reporting your sightings.

(Read about eBird on our RESOURCES page.)

Christmas Bird Count Map - 10 mile radius
10 mile radius
Snow Bunting
© Tony Moline

Dubuque Audubon Annual Christmas Bird Count

Saturday, 12/30/23
(Backup Date: 12/31/23)
Start:  8 AM
Result Compilation:  5 PM

EB Lyons Interpretive Center
8991 Bellevue Heights Road
Dubuque, IA 52003
View Map

The annual Audubon Christmas Bird count is the longest running organized citizen science project in the United States.  Join Dubuque Audubon field trip leaders as we split into groups to identify and count birds within a 10 mile radius of Center Grove Methodist Church, Dubuque, IA.  Sectors include Swiss Valley, Mines of Spain, City of Dubuque, Western Dubuque, Deere Dike/north of Dubuque, Dubuque Airport, and western Grant County.

You may also sign up to participate by feeder-watching from home (read details below).

Meet at EB Lyons at 8 AM.  All skill levels are welcome.  As we move between locations, you can carpool with leaders or drive separately, depending on space and preference.  Compilation will be at 5 pm inside EB Lyons.  All data will be submitted to the National Audubon Society and used to track trends in bird diversity.

If you want to participate by watching a birdfeeder at home, please sign up in advance by emailing

You would need to be within the radius we cover, which is essentially Dubuque, Asbury, East Dubuque, Sageville, Durango, and Centralia, and to follow the protocol of keeping track of your total birding time and counting how many you see of each species.  If you count periodically throughout the day, you should add up your total time spent, and you should not double-count birds.  For example, if you are watching your bird feeder and see 2 Blue Jays at once and then see 1 later that looks the same as the earlier birds, then your Blue Jay count would remain at 2.

On the day of the count, submit your results by emailing your name, birding location(s), total time spent, and your species list with corresponding counts to by 5 PM.

Great Gray Owl
Great Gray Owl
© Tony Moline

Dubuque Audubon December Program

Sax Zim Bog

Thursday, 12/14/23
6 – 7 PM

EB Lyons Interpretive Center
8991 Bellevue Heights Road
Dubuque, IA 52003
View Map

Dubuque Audubon field trip leader Tony Moline will discuss winter wildlife watching at Sax Zim Bog.  Located in northern Minnesota, Sax Zim offers excellent opportunities for viewing boreal bird species and several owl species, including the Great Gray Owl.  Learn how and when to visit, what species to expect, and how you can help preserve this special wilderness area.  This program is free and open to the public.

Ian Ermine
© Tony Moline

If you missed our December program on Sax Zim Bog, a recording is available, thanks to a sponsor who arranged and covered the taping.

History: 2023 Posters

Dubuque Audubon November 2023 Program

Past Event - November 2023

Dubuque Audubon October 2023 Program

Past Event - October 2023

Dubuque Audubon September 2023 Program

Past Event - September 2023

Dubuque Audubon Annual Spring Species Count & May 2023 Program

Past Event - May 2023

Dubuque Audubon April 2023 Program

Past Event - April 2023

Dubuque Audubon Annual Duck Waddle & March 2023 Program

Past Event - March 2023

Dubuque Audubon February 2023 Program

The February 2023 program was canceled due to the weather.

Dubuque Audubon January 2023 Program

Past Event - January 2023