Events

Learn to improve the health of your local environment through a wide variety of events.

Learn Classes and Presentations
Create beautiful and resilient landscapes using nature as a model.
Learn Yard Tours
Get ideas by visiting landscapes that were consciously designed to benefit people and our environment.
Nurture Children's Wellness
Improve the health and skills of children by creating nurturing, healthy landscapes.
Reclaim Save Money and Time
Reclaim money, time, and energy through low-maintenance landscapes.
Connect Skill Share
Let's build a positive future together by sharing our unlimited resource: creativity.

All Upcoming Events

Jul27

Summer Camp: Pollinator Garden

Thursday, July 27, 2017
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center | directions

Iowa City Parks and Recreation offers summer camps to children of all ages.

Pollinator Garden

At the camp, Mike Fallon and Michaela Powell with Backyard Abundance, host a "Grow a Pollinator Garden" activity.

During this fun, engaging activity, children learn how to create a pollinator garden of native plants. All participants go home with a free bag of materials for starting a small garden in their landscape.

Location

The activity happens in the new Edible Classroom on the south side of the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center.

Registration

Learn more about registering for summer camps

Sponsors

The event is funded by the Rockwell Collins Green Communities program and the Iowa Native Plant Society.

Jul29

Smoothie and Harvest Party

Saturday, July 29, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Wetherby Park Edible Forest | directions

Bring family and friends for free smoothies made with fruit harvested from the Wetherby Edible Forest.

New Pioneer Food Co-op is donating ingredients for anything that is not harvested from the edible forest.

Farm Stand Produce

Field to Family will host a Farm Stand that offers free fresh, locally-grown foods, prepared food samples and information on food preparation.

Monarch Garden Tours

Tour the monarch garden established on June 3. Learn how it was designed and established so you can create monarch habitat in your own landscape.

Free seeds to grow monarch-supporting plants will be provided.

Edible Forest Tours

What is an “edible forest” and how can its design help you create a lower-maintenance landscape that provides food, beauty and habitat?

Tours of the Wetherby Edible Forest will be given where you will see elegant, nature-inspired design firsthand. You will come away with an understanding of how to arrange plants in a landscape of any size to maximize yields and space.

These plants and many more will be discussed:

  • Trees: Pear, apple, plum, cherry, peach, pawpaw
  • Shrubs: Bush cherry, aronia berry, gooseberry, hazelnut, honeyberry, elderberry
  • Herbs: Rhubarb, thyme, oregano, chamomile, chives, dandelion, plantain, French sorrel, self-heal, yarrow, comfrey, walking onion, anise hyssop, lovage (all ready to harvest!)

Handouts of the Wetherby Edible Forest design and plant list will be provided. View the design.

Food Forest TourFree Cherries, Aronia Berries and Rhubarb

Bring bowls to harvest loads of aronia berries, bush cherries and rhubarb. Donate them to the smoothie-making cause or take them home for future munching.

Walking onions, chives, oregano, thyme, loveage, sorrel and other herbs are also free for harvest.

Splash Pad!

Bring the kids and enjoy the nearby Splash Pad of 15 crazy-fun water sprays.

What to Bring

Optional items to bring...

  • Reusable cup for sampling smoothies.
  • Buckets, bowls, or bags for harvested berries and herbs.
  • Friends and family.

Growing Hope Event Series

This event helps people learn how to cultivate food, habitat and healing in the garden.

Learn about a wide variety of other family-friendly Growing Hope events.

Sponsors and Partners

Thank you to these wonderful sponsors and partners. Please frequent their stores, services and websites.

Iowa City Parks and RecreationCommunity Foundation of Johnson CountyIowa Department of AgricultureField to FamilyNew PioneerPrairie Moon NurseryPrairie Nursery

 

Aug1

School of the Wild Garden Bed Establishment

Tuesday, August 01, 2017
8:30 AM - 11:30 AM
School of the Wild Garden | directions

Would you like to connect kids to nature by helping establish raised beds in the newly designed School of the Wild Garden?

Background

School of the Wild has been helping children develop a connection to the natural world since 1991.

Backyard Abundance has redesigned the School of the Wild Garden to help visitors learn to cultivate and harvest vegetables, herbs and native medicinal plants.

The garden was specifically designed to support the FOSS Curriculum so it could be used as a demonstration site that teachers could emulate for school campus gardens.

School of the Wild Perspective Design

Garden Bed Establishment

Join us at the garden anytime between 8:30 am and 11:30 am for a fun morning in the great outdoors at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area.

The garden is located at the Bluestem Shelter. Look for the sign as you drive into the area.

Together we will...

What to Bring

Please wear standard gardening attire: hat, gloves, jeans.

If available, please bring wheel barrows, pitchforks, spades, steel rakes labelled with your name.

Growing Hope Event Series

This event helps people learn how to cultivate food, habitat and healing in the garden.

Learn about a wide variety of other family-friendly Growing Hope events.

Sponsors and Partners

Thank you to these wonderful sponsors and partners. Please frequent their stores, services and websites.

University of IowaDNR REAPBeisser LumberHy-VeeNew Pioneer

Aug2

Gardening with Spirit

Wednesday, August 02, 2017
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Gaia's Peace Garden | directions

Connect with the spiritual side of nature through playful gatherings the first Wednesday of each month.

Most everyone has experienced a divine presence in nature. Deepen these spiritual experiences through hands-on gardening and in-depth discussions in our shared outdoor cathedral.

Together we will explore many topics and questions…

  • How can natural settings increase the benefits of prayer, journeying, ritual, and meditation?
  • What are effective responses to the Pope's Eco-Encyclical, an urgent call for personal actions that mitigate climate change?
  • What is the human role in nature?
  • How can we collaborate with unseen beings to become a beneficial, healing element in ecosystem health?
  • <Insert your big spiritual question here>

The gatherings are open to any spiritual practice, but an inquisitive mind and compassionate heart are required.

Fee

You have several payment options:

  • Free will: A free will donation is requested at each gathering. Suggested donation: $5 - $10.
  • One-time payment: Pay $35 for all sessions. Register here.
  • Members: All sessions are free to Backyard Abundance members.
  • Work trade: Contact us for details about donating time in exchange for sessions.

Time

A short grounding ritual begins promptly at 6:30 pm. Please arrive at least 10 minutes early to get settled before the grounding begins.

The gatherings officially end at 8:00 pm, but the fluid and exploratory nature of each event may allow for people to stay well beyond this time for chatting and supplementary activities.

Topics

Unlike formal classes, our gatherings depend mostly on the collective wisdom of the group. Experienced participants will be available at every session, but they will encourage their knowledge to be augmented by everyone.

Apr 5: Seed Swap

Bring seeds that make your heart sing and spread their goodness to other gardens.

May 3: Vegetable Gardening

Lots of information exists about planting gardens according to the physical needs of plants, but what about a plant's spiritual needs? Together we will explore ways to understand where a vegetable or herb would like to be planted using its internal messages.

Jun 7: Fruit Tree Companion Planting

Everyone needs friends, including fruit trees. Ecological designer, Fred Meyer, will describe ways to give fruit trees allies that will improve yields and reduce pests.

Jul 5: Fairy Gardening

Learn creative ways to invite fairies, gnomes and other spiritual beings into your landscape.

Aug 2: Midwest Native Plants

Learn about common native plants, their benefits and how to establish them in your landscape.

Sep 6: Herbal Remedies

Bring your favorite herbal remedies to share with the group. Samples are welcome!

Oct 4: Monarch Gardening

You've planted plenty of milkweed so where are the monarchs? Bring your favorite ideas for attracting our fluttering friends and establishing monarch gardens in your landscape.

Nov 1: Plant Communication

Bring ideas for ways to form heartfelt, mutualistic relationships with our plant friends.

Growing Hope Event Series

This event helps people learn how to cultivate food, habitat and healing in the garden.

Learn about a wide variety of other family-friendly Growing Hope events.

Sep6

Gardening with Spirit

Wednesday, September 06, 2017
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Gaia's Peace Garden | directions

Connect with the spiritual side of nature through playful gatherings the first Wednesday of each month.

Most everyone has experienced a divine presence in nature. Deepen these spiritual experiences through hands-on gardening and in-depth discussions in our shared outdoor cathedral.

Together we will explore many topics and questions…

  • How can natural settings increase the benefits of prayer, journeying, ritual, and meditation?
  • What are effective responses to the Pope's Eco-Encyclical, an urgent call for personal actions that mitigate climate change?
  • What is the human role in nature?
  • How can we collaborate with unseen beings to become a beneficial, healing element in ecosystem health?
  • <Insert your big spiritual question here>

The gatherings are open to any spiritual practice, but an inquisitive mind and compassionate heart are required.

Fee

You have several payment options:

  • Free will: A free will donation is requested at each gathering. Suggested donation: $5 - $10.
  • One-time payment: Pay $35 for all sessions. Register here.
  • Members: All sessions are free to Backyard Abundance members.
  • Work trade: Contact us for details about donating time in exchange for sessions.

Time

A short grounding ritual begins promptly at 6:30 pm. Please arrive at least 10 minutes early to get settled before the grounding begins.

The gatherings officially end at 8:00 pm, but the fluid and exploratory nature of each event may allow for people to stay well beyond this time for chatting and supplementary activities.

Topics

Unlike formal classes, our gatherings depend mostly on the collective wisdom of the group. Experienced participants will be available at every session, but they will encourage their knowledge to be augmented by everyone.

Apr 5: Seed Swap

Bring seeds that make your heart sing and spread their goodness to other gardens.

May 3: Vegetable Gardening

Lots of information exists about planting gardens according to the physical needs of plants, but what about a plant's spiritual needs? Together we will explore ways to understand where a vegetable or herb would like to be planted using its internal messages.

Jun 7: Fruit Tree Companion Planting

Everyone needs friends, including fruit trees. Ecological designer, Fred Meyer, will describe ways to give fruit trees allies that will improve yields and reduce pests.

Jul 5: Fairy Gardening

Learn creative ways to invite fairies, gnomes and other spiritual beings into your landscape.

Aug 2: Midwest Native Plants

Learn about common native plants, their benefits and how to establish them in your landscape.

Sep 6: Herbal Remedies

Bring your favorite herbal remedies to share with the group. Samples are welcome!

Oct 4: Monarch Gardening

You've planted plenty of milkweed so where are the monarchs? Bring your favorite ideas for attracting our fluttering friends and establishing monarch gardens in your landscape.

Nov 1: Plant Communication

Bring ideas for ways to form heartfelt, mutualistic relationships with our plant friends.

Growing Hope Event Series

This event helps people learn how to cultivate food, habitat and healing in the garden.

Learn about a wide variety of other family-friendly Growing Hope events.

Sep11

9/11 Day of Service for Public Edibles

Monday, September 11, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Wetherby Park Edible Forest | directions

Join others in remembering 9/11 by helping prepare the Wetherby Edible Forest for more free edibles.

Food security is an important issue for every community and the Wetherby Edible Forest aims to secure access to food for everyone, while fostering a healthy ecological system that supports monarchs, honeybees and other desired insects.

Participate in the "9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance" by joining Backyard Abundance, Shelter House AmeriCorps and Iowa City Parks and Recreation for a fun afternoon of gardening.

Activities

Volunteer activities include:

  • Mulching: Prepare an area for planting a garden in fall
  • Weeding: Clear weeds to help grow food and habitat.
  • Propagating comfrey: Free comfrey rootlets to all participants.

Food, Fun, and Information

Tasty food and refreshments will be provided.

Tours of the edible forest will be given where you can nibble sorrel and harvest aronia berries.

Publications about creating habitat for monarchs and other desired insects will be available.

What to Bring

Please bring...

  • Comfortable clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Gloves (leather ones, if you have them).
  • Gardening tools: Hoes, steel rakes, wheel barrows, shovels, trowels.
  • Big sheets of cardboard to cover large weed patches.

More Information

Learn more about...

Sponsors

This project would not be possible without these sponsors and supporters. Please frequent these generous organizations to thank them for donations of materials and funds.

Iowa City Parks and RecreationIowa Department of Agriculture  New PioneerHyVee

Sep14

Community Edible Forest Gardening

Thursday, September 14, 2017
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Wetherby Park Edible Forest | directions

Help prepare the Wetherby Edible Forest for more free edibles.

Food security is an important issue for every community and the Wetherby Edible Forest aims to secure access to food for everyone, while fostering a healthy ecological system that supports monarchs, honeybees and other desired insects.

Join other residents for a fun afternoon of gardening and harvesting at the Wetherby Edible Forest.

Activities

Volunteer activities include:

  • Mulching: Prepare an area for planting a garden in fall
  • Weeding: Clear weeds to help grow food and habitat.
  • Propagating comfrey: Free comfrey rootlets to all participants.

Food, Fun and Information

Tasty food and refreshments will be provided by New Pioneer Food Co-op.

Tours of the edible forest will be given where you can nibble sorrel and harvest aronia berries.

Publications about creating habitat for monarchs and other desired insects will be available.

What to Bring

Please bring...

  • Comfortable clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Gloves (leather ones, if you have them).
  • Gardening tools: Hoes, steel rakes, wheel barrows, shovels, trowels.
  • Big sheets of cardboard to cover large weed patches.

More Information

Learn more about the Wetherby Park Edible Forest: www.backyardabundance.org/AbundantLandscapes/WetherbyEdibleForest.aspx

Sponsors

This project would not be possible without these sponsors and supporters. Please frequent these generous organizations to thank them for donations of materials and funds.

Iowa City Parks and RecreationIowa Department of Agriculture  New PioneerHyVee

Sep16

Edible Classroom Equinox Celebration

Saturday, September 16, 2017
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center | directions

Celebrate the fall equinox by enjoying the bounty from the Edible Classroom on the south side of the downtown Iowa City recreation center.

Donors, families, partners and the media will tour the area and sample yummy produce.

The event is in conjunction with Kids Day at the Iowa City Farmers Market.

Activities

Edible Classroom FlowersFun activities are available for children (and adults) of all ages.

  • Dig potatoes and take them home.
  • Nibble cucumbers, tomatoes and other produce.
  • Sample produce from The Millet Seed, sign up for their CSA, and ask questions about growing crops.
  • Get free seeds that will grow butterfly-supporting habitat.

About the Edible Classroom

The Edible Classroom helps families, gardeners, farmers and herbalists learn how to grow a wide variety of edibles in ways that increases the health of our local ecosystems.

The educational space is filled with fruits, vegetables and herbs, many of which are free for harvesting. No synthetic pesticides or herbicides are allowed in the landscape.

Edible Classroom Design

Learn about the Edible Classroom

Growing Hope Event Series

This event helps people learn how to cultivate food, habitat and healing in the garden.

Learn about a wide variety of other family-friendly Growing Hope events.

Sponsors and Partners

This project would not be possible without these sponsors and supporters. Please frequent these generous organizations to thank them for donations of materials and funds.

Iowa City Parks and RecreationIowa Department of Agriculture  New PioneerACE Mentor ProgramU of I Commuity Credit UnionHills BankField to FamilyHy-VeeBeisser LumberKing's Material

 

Sep23

Beyond the Rain Barrel

Saturday, September 23, 2017
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Wetherby Park Edible Forest | directions

What is a rain garden and how can it help you…

  • Decrease erosion
  • Improve wet areas
  • Create a self-watering landscape

During this free, hands-on class, you will learn the basics of properly designing, placing and establishing a rain garden. A small rain garden will be created in the Wetherby Edible Forest to demonstrate its benefits.

If you plan to help establish the garden, please wear standard gardening attire: jeans, hat, gloves.

Informational handouts and yummy snacks will be provided. Free tours of the edible forest will also be provided.

Growing Hope Event Series

This event helps people learn how to cultivate food, habitat and healing in the garden.

Learn about a wide variety of other family-friendly Growing Hope events.

Sponsors and Partners

Thank you to these wonderful sponsors and partners. Please frequent their stores, services and websites.

Iowa City Parks and RecreationDNR REAPNew Pioneer

Oct4

Gardening with Spirit

Wednesday, October 04, 2017
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Gaia's Peace Garden | directions

Connect with the spiritual side of nature through playful gatherings the first Wednesday of each month.

Most everyone has experienced a divine presence in nature. Deepen these spiritual experiences through hands-on gardening and in-depth discussions in our shared outdoor cathedral.

Together we will explore many topics and questions…

  • How can natural settings increase the benefits of prayer, journeying, ritual, and meditation?
  • What are effective responses to the Pope's Eco-Encyclical, an urgent call for personal actions that mitigate climate change?
  • What is the human role in nature?
  • How can we collaborate with unseen beings to become a beneficial, healing element in ecosystem health?
  • <Insert your big spiritual question here>

The gatherings are open to any spiritual practice, but an inquisitive mind and compassionate heart are required.

Fee

You have several payment options:

  • Free will: A free will donation is requested at each gathering. Suggested donation: $5 - $10.
  • One-time payment: Pay $35 for all sessions. Register here.
  • Members: All sessions are free to Backyard Abundance members.
  • Work trade: Contact us for details about donating time in exchange for sessions.

Time

A short grounding ritual begins promptly at 6:30 pm. Please arrive at least 10 minutes early to get settled before the grounding begins.

The gatherings officially end at 8:00 pm, but the fluid and exploratory nature of each event may allow for people to stay well beyond this time for chatting and supplementary activities.

Topics

Unlike formal classes, our gatherings depend mostly on the collective wisdom of the group. Experienced participants will be available at every session, but they will encourage their knowledge to be augmented by everyone.

Apr 5: Seed Swap

Bring seeds that make your heart sing and spread their goodness to other gardens.

May 3: Vegetable Gardening

Lots of information exists about planting gardens according to the physical needs of plants, but what about a plant's spiritual needs? Together we will explore ways to understand where a vegetable or herb would like to be planted using its internal messages.

Jun 7: Fruit Tree Companion Planting

Everyone needs friends, including fruit trees. Ecological designer, Fred Meyer, will describe ways to give fruit trees allies that will improve yields and reduce pests.

Jul 5: Fairy Gardening

Learn creative ways to invite fairies, gnomes and other spiritual beings into your landscape.

Aug 2: Midwest Native Plants

Learn about common native plants, their benefits and how to establish them in your landscape.

Sep 6: Herbal Remedies

Bring your favorite herbal remedies to share with the group. Samples are welcome!

Oct 4: Monarch Gardening

You've planted plenty of milkweed so where are the monarchs? Bring your favorite ideas for attracting our fluttering friends and establishing monarch gardens in your landscape.

Nov 1: Plant Communication

Bring ideas for ways to form heartfelt, mutualistic relationships with our plant friends.

Growing Hope Event Series

This event helps people learn how to cultivate food, habitat and healing in the garden.

Learn about a wide variety of other family-friendly Growing Hope events.

Nov1

Gardening with Spirit

Wednesday, November 01, 2017
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Gaia's Peace Garden | directions

Connect with the spiritual side of nature through playful gatherings the first Wednesday of each month.

Most everyone has experienced a divine presence in nature. Deepen these spiritual experiences through hands-on gardening and in-depth discussions in our shared outdoor cathedral.

Together we will explore many topics and questions…

  • How can natural settings increase the benefits of prayer, journeying, ritual, and meditation?
  • What are effective responses to the Pope's Eco-Encyclical, an urgent call for personal actions that mitigate climate change?
  • What is the human role in nature?
  • How can we collaborate with unseen beings to become a beneficial, healing element in ecosystem health?
  • <Insert your big spiritual question here>

The gatherings are open to any spiritual practice, but an inquisitive mind and compassionate heart are required.

Fee

You have several payment options:

  • Free will: A free will donation is requested at each gathering. Suggested donation: $5 - $10.
  • One-time payment: Pay $35 for all sessions. Register here.
  • Members: All sessions are free to Backyard Abundance members.
  • Work trade: Contact us for details about donating time in exchange for sessions.

Time

A short grounding ritual begins promptly at 6:30 pm. Please arrive at least 10 minutes early to get settled before the grounding begins.

The gatherings officially end at 8:00 pm, but the fluid and exploratory nature of each event may allow for people to stay well beyond this time for chatting and supplementary activities.

Topics

Unlike formal classes, our gatherings depend mostly on the collective wisdom of the group. Experienced participants will be available at every session, but they will encourage their knowledge to be augmented by everyone.

Apr 5: Seed Swap

Bring seeds that make your heart sing and spread their goodness to other gardens.

May 3: Vegetable Gardening

Lots of information exists about planting gardens according to the physical needs of plants, but what about a plant's spiritual needs? Together we will explore ways to understand where a vegetable or herb would like to be planted using its internal messages.

Jun 7: Fruit Tree Companion Planting

Everyone needs friends, including fruit trees. Ecological designer, Fred Meyer, will describe ways to give fruit trees allies that will improve yields and reduce pests.

Jul 5: Fairy Gardening

Learn creative ways to invite fairies, gnomes and other spiritual beings into your landscape.

Aug 2: Midwest Native Plants

Learn about common native plants, their benefits and how to establish them in your landscape.

Sep 6: Herbal Remedies

Bring your favorite herbal remedies to share with the group. Samples are welcome!

Oct 4: Monarch Gardening

You've planted plenty of milkweed so where are the monarchs? Bring your favorite ideas for attracting our fluttering friends and establishing monarch gardens in your landscape.

Nov 1: Plant Communication

Bring ideas for ways to form heartfelt, mutualistic relationships with our plant friends.

Growing Hope Event Series

This event helps people learn how to cultivate food, habitat and healing in the garden.

Learn about a wide variety of other family-friendly Growing Hope events.