Nature Chautauqua

2017 Nature  Chautauquas

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2016 Nature Chautauqua

Mark your calendar for Sunday afternoon, June 5, 2016 from 1:00 – 3:30 pm for the first of what we hope are many annual Innsbrook Nature Chautauquas. This year’s program open to all Innsbrook residents, property owners, and visitors will be held at the Innsbrook Aspen Conference Center in the Sycamore Meeting Room. There will be no cost to attend this property owner organized event so join us for the start of what could become an annual tradition just like Nature Festivals were some years ago at Innsbrook.


Photo of the Aspen Conference Center courtesy of Innsbrook Resort

What is a Chautauqua?


US stamp honoring the Chautauqua movement

Chautauquas (pronounced shuh-tah-kwahs) are lifelong-learning and community-building events appearing all across the country at other rural scenic resorts similar to Innsbrook. They have a rich history dating back to the early 20th century of bringing educational opportunities and cultural enrichment to small towns and rural communities across America. President Theodore Roosevelt, quite the outdoorsman himself, once said that Chautauquas “were the most American thing in America.” There’s even a Trail of Chautauquas ( that stretches from Maine to Colorado in which we dream about planting Innsbrook as a stop along the way. You can read more about the history of Chautauquas on the Trail website, or at Wikipedia at where we found this commemorative stamp image.

What happens at Chautauquas?

An outdoor lecture at the Chautauqua Institute

An outdoor lecture at the Chautauqua Institute

While the programming theme of modern-day Chautauquas varies a great deal, most share the common goal of offering educational and recreational programs that nourish the body, mind, and spirit. Historically, the subjects explored in lectures, workshops, performances, and retreats at Chautauquas also varied, but often included the arts, science, history, culture, civics, religion, and of course nature. Some current-day Chautauqua programs are offered all summer long while others only for a weeklong or weekend retreat. After visiting the venerable Chautauqua Institute ( last year I have learned to think of them as fun summer camps for adults where curiosity and lifelong learning keep you thinking and feeling forever young.

What is the Innsbrook Nature Chautauqua?

Our initial concept for the Innsbrook Nature Chautauqua is more modest than many of the existing Chautauquas. We plan to offer a series of bite-sized events on living, learning, and playing in Nature that nourish the body, mind, and spirit. Our programs will be held on weekend afternoons and run about two hours long with several guest speakers and/or activities. Please note that this event is organized by the Innsbrook Nature Group (IBK’ng), an informal property owner group, and is not a production of the Innsbrook Resort, Innsbrook Corporation, or Innsbrook Property Owners Association.

What is the program for June 5?

Here’s a preview of our first Innsbrook Nature Chautauqua program schedule for Sunday afternoon, June 5. Check back often for more information as we add it.

“Raptor Awareness” from the World Bird Sanctuary


Photo by Cindy Bowers

We’ve all enjoyed following the growing family of Bald Eagles that calls Innsbrook home over the past two years and watching their nest grow to the size of a Chalet room addition! While Eagles are the largest raptor that we have here, there are many other raptors across Missouri including hawks, osprey, falcons, and vultures that are also frequently seen at Innsbrook. Our guest speaker from the World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) ( will discuss the different birds of prey along with conservation issues to maintain an ecosystem within Innsbrook in which they can live safely and thrive. Thanks to the efforts of an Innsbrook resident who is also a longtime WBS volunteer, accompanying our speaker will be several raptors, including an eagle, that have been rescued and rehabilitated by the WBS.

“Environmental Missouri: Issues and Sustainability, What You Need to Know” by Don Corrigan

Enviro Mo coverShowMe CoverDon Corrigan has been a professor of journalism at Webster University for more than 30 years, but you probably know him best as the co-publisher of the Webster-Kirkwood Times, the South County Times and the West End Word.  He’s received numerous awards for his journalism on the outdoors and the environment.  His three Missouri nature books are “Show Me…Natural Wonders”, “Show Me…Nature’s Wrath”, and most recently “Environmental Missouri”.  We will learn about the challenges that we face in Missouri and how we all can make a difference by living in harmony with nature and wildlife at Innsbrook. Don has kindly promised to bring a few books as door prizes to distribute as well as have others available for purchase at reduced prices. Don also pens a nature blog called “Getting into Nature” at

“Intro to Kayaking” from the Alpine Shop 

007Being out on one of the many lakes of Innsbrook is good for the mind, body & spirit!  This workshop, provided courtesy of the Alpine Shop in Kirkwood, will be a dry-land introduction to the basics of kayaking as well as paddle boarding.  You’ll learn about the different types of kayaks, the terminology of boats, styles of paddles and what kind of gear is needed to paddle efficiently and safely.  Our guest presenter Simon Hile is a certified water sports instructor who will bring out several kayaks to show us all the differences. This will be a timely program for families who wish to introduce their younger members to kayaking or paddle boarding in time for summer fun on the water.

What to do next?

To be kept informed of event updates please follow our Innsbrook Nature Group’s blog and news by entering your email address at

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If you are attending our event as a visitor to the Innsbrook Resort, please enter at the Highway F main gate and advise them you are a guest at the Innsbrook Nature Group event at the Aspen Conference Center. The physical address is 1 Aspen Center, Innsbrook, MO 63390. Additional information about and directions to the Innsbrook Resort may be found at

To help us plan please let us know if you are likely to attend by responding to this simple poll.


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