Timeline of UI WILD:

1959: Macbride Field Campus 
The Coralville Dam was built in 1958 by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. In 1959, a 485-acre parcel of Corps land, which formed a peninsula surrounded by Lake Macbride State Park and the newly created Coralville Lake, was leased to the University of Iowa and named after former University of Iowa president and renowned naturalist Thomas Huston Macbride.The agreementwasintendedto facilitatefield research opportunities for university faculty, staff, and students. 

1985: Macbride Nature Recreation Area
In 1985, Recreational Servicesassumed management of the land for the university and renamed it to reflect the connection between nature and recreation.The area wasopened to the public affirminga commitment to create conservation education programs to serve the university and the community. In 2022, oversightfor the area was transferredto Landscape Services, a division of Facilities Management.   

1985: Iowa Raptor Project
In 1985, a raptor rehabilitation and education program was started, including the construction of enclosures for non-releasable raptors at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area. Kirkwood Community College joined as a partner primarily in the rehabilitation effort. In 2015, Kirkwood discontinued their support of raptor rehabilitation andthe Iowa Raptor Projectrealigned withthe university’s primary mission as a research and education institution. Kirkwood continues to partner with the University of Iowa and UI WILD through their Parks and Natural Resources and Animal Health Technology programs,serving a shared commitment to the conservation of birds of prey through research and education. 

1991: Iowa Wildlife Camps
In 1991, a weeklong day camp program was establishedat the Macbride Nature Recreation Area for grade school children that focused on the primary native habitats of Iowa, utilizing raptors as icons to help share that conservation message.During its inaugural year, 192 campers participated in Hawk, Eagle, and Falcon Camps, with a focus on woodland, wetlands, and prairies, respectively. As the camps grew, so did the breadth of offerings and locations. Currently,camps serveover 1500 pre-school, grade school, middle school, and high school aged campers at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area, as well as grade school and high school aged campersat severalDNR State Parks and Forests across Iowa.   

1998: School of the Wild 
In 1998, funded by U.S. EPA Environmental Education and Iowa DNR REAP Conservation Education Program grants, a weeklong conservation education program was developed using the Iowa Wildlife Camps model. At the Macbride Nature Recreation Area, School of the Wild provides each student in the Iowa City Community School District with a week of outdoor education focusing on woodlands, wetlands, prairies, archaeology, and ornithology. The program has now expanded throughout Iowa with growing interest in other states, as well. Since the beginning, University of Iowa College of Education students have participated in practicum experiences with School of the Wild as part of their science methods courses.    

2021: College of Education
In 2021, the programs of UI WILD moved from Recreational Services to the College of Education. With a renewed focus and commitment to training College of Education students, UI WILD programs continue to provide opportunities for research and education, while promoting both the importance of conservation of our natural resources and the growing connection between outdoor activities and well-being. 

We are proud of our history and excited about our future in providing more transformative educational and research opportunities to connect our students and the world to the Wild!