Nature

The German-Americans that created Davenport's Schuetzen Park recognized the natural beauty of west-Davenport from the Park's very beginning in 1868. For two years, the Schuetzenverein laid out their new park by planting trees, shrubs and by building walkways and buildings for their use. For the grand opening of the park in 1870, the Davenport Democrat reported "This magnificent park, containing some twenty-two acres, is interestingly diversified with hill, dale, caves, tortuous ravines, nooks, dells and splendid old trees." Much as it did in 1900, today this 20-acre site has a place of importance in our community, albeit for new reasons. The man-made aspects of the original park are now gone and the Park is almost completely surrounded by the City, the Park now gives us a glimpse into the natural history of the Upland Mississippi woodlands area. Designated as a nature preserve (Naturschutzgebiet), Schuetzen Park is home to many varieties of flora and fauna.

Several rustic nature trails lead Park visitors through it's diverse landscapes and allow for a variety of activities such as environmental education, wildlife viewing, hiking, picnicking etc. The Park's trail system is open from May 1 - November 30. The winter months are intended to be a "quiet time" for the wildlife that live there. No motorized vehicles or bicycles are allowed in the Park. Hunting, trapping and harassment of wildlife is also strictly prohibited. We request that you stay on marked trails at all times. Activities such as paintball games, mushroom hunting, or the harvesting of plant materials, are not allowed within the boundaries of the Park.

Many projects take place annually to ensure that the balance of nature is maintained in and around the Park. Tree, bush and wildflower plantings, erosion control, invasive plant species eradication and forest management are a few of the projects that are ongoing.

Green Thumbers Plant Oak Trees

Green thumbers from the Davenport Boys & Girls Club plant oak trees at the Park for Earth Day / Arbor Day. The trees were donated to the Park for the 9th consecutive year by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources through funding from MidAmerican Energy. Davenport City Arborist Keith Majors and MidAmerican Energy Forester Dennis Haack instructed the kids on the importance of trees in our community as well as how to plant and care for them.

Taking an Interest in Birds

Members of the Boys & Girls Club assembled and installed Wren and Screech Owl nesting boxes in the Park on Monday, Oct. 24, 2005. Ann Sullivan of the University of Illinois Extension Service presented a program on birds; how to recognize them, how they eat and live in the forest. Thanks to Craig Canfield of the Quad City United Way for assisting with this project.

New Wood Benches

This spring, Pat Varilek, of troop #89 based at Bettendorf (IOWA) Presbyterian Church, built and installed 6 trail-side benches in the Park. With the assistance of Wells Fargo Bank and Menards, Pat built and installed the wood benches so walkers in the park will have a place to sit, reflect and enjoy the Park's green surroundings. Thanks Pat, for all your hard work to help improve Schuetzen Park.

Eagle Scout Troop #373 Offers a Helping Hand

Joe Nagle, of Eagle Scout Troop # 373, completed several projects at the Schuetzen Park in the fall of 2006. Joe organized his troop to install split rail fencing, construct a section of trail fence and steps, removed invasive honeysuckle from the woods, and girdled invasive Black Locust trees, as recommended by the state forester. Joe and his group also helped clean up a huge oak tree that had fallen in the Park's Festplatz.