Saturday, September 9, 2017

Nahant Marsh in Davenport, Iowa

Nahant Marsh in Davenport, Iowa

Nahant Marsh in Davenport, Iowa is an ecological success story. Once the site of a sportsman's club, the area had been contaminated with lead due to skeet shooting. The site was declared a Superfund Site. After the lead was cleaned up, the marsh was designated as a nature preserve. Today, we can all witness the amazing recovery of the marsh. The marsh is now the home to over 150 species of birds, over 400 species of plants, some mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects. The preserve provides for a tranquil nature adventure that most of us are not treated to everyday!


Meeting reptiles and amphibians in the Nahant Marsh Education Center
Meeting reptiles and amphibians in the Nahant Marsh Education Center
I recommend starting your visit in the Education Center. Inside, you will find resident animals and exhibits that will acquaint you with the marsh. It is great place to ask questions and learn more about the marsh.

Viewing dock at Nahant Marsh
Viewing dock
The trails at Nahant Marsh are easy to navigate. We first headed to the viewing dock where we could see several great blue heron, sandhill cranes and sora rail. I recommend bringing along some birding binoculars. Birds can often be seen closer to the edges of the marsh where you may not be able to see with the naked eye.

Great Blue Heron lifts off at Nahant Marsh in Davenport, Iowa
Great Blue Heron lifts off 
Following the trails, you encounter a variety of environments including a floodplain forest. The forest was just as stunning as the marsh. Within the forest is a bird blind where you can "disguise" yourself in your search for birds.


Floodplain Forest at Nahant Marsh
Floodplain Forest 
We also enjoyed the mesic prairie and sedge meadow spotting goldfinches and monarch butterflies.

Monarch butterfly at Nahant Marsh
Monarch butterfly 
The Nahant Marsh has a new nature play area encouraging exploration. The combination between the Educational Center, viewing area of the marsh, range of ecosystems on manageable trails and the new nature exploration area makes Nahant Marsh a perfect spot for families. Plus, they have events throughout the year including the Monarch Release Party next weekend on September 16!

Nature play area Nahant Marsh
Nature play area image via Nahant Marsh.

Play encouragement at Nahant Marsh


The Quad Cities are truly blessed to have such a lovely natural treasure! The Nahant Marsh is a great example of how conservation can rehabilitate polluted sites into thriving ecosystems. The preserve is incredibly peaceful and encourages nature exploration for children and adults alike. Another spot that is truly not to be missed in the Quad Cities!

**Disclosure: Thank you to Visit Quad Cities for hosting our visit. We received complimentary experiences in ordered to facilitate to bring these reviews to you. No other compensation was a received. All opinions are 100% my own.

Exploring Nahant Marsh in the Quad Cities

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