Wapello Land & Water Reserve

For decades, local historians, descendant Native Americans, and artifact hunters knew that this site was “different”, containing as it did an abundant record of habitation by both Woodland and Mississippian cultures. The broad inviting terraces of Wapello Land and Water Reserve nestled along the Apple River near present-day Hanover have been home to people for more than 11,000 years, as confirmed by artifacts found there: hearths, storage pits and house remains, along with burial and effigy mounds. As the decline of Cahokian civilization compelled people north, Wapello became a place where local Woodlanders and southern Mississippians interacted, causing cultural ideas and choices to meld (A.D. 1100-1350). These dynamic events culminated in the creation of a new combined culture, the Oneota, and had permanent impact on the region’s histories. Today’s Native American communities are still intimately tied to the Oneota people; their origins are of deep significance to their tribal histories.

Why was Wapello different from other convergences occurring along the Mississippi River? What happened to bring about peaceful integration rather than the competition, hostilities, and even violence found at other sites?

Recent archaeological surface collections, excavations, and geophysical surveys have revealed new interpretations of this point-of-origin landscape. A proposed  Discovery Center will be a place to experience the nationally significant story of the Woodland/Mississippian convergence and how this event continues to ripple across time into the present day.

The Wapello Land and Water Reserve is an important, historical place that tells the story of the impact the lives of indigenous people had on the evolution of human culture. Recognizing and honoring the contributions of these past people, and their present day descendants, in creating the dynamic social fabric of what we consider American, is long overdue.

Upcoming Events

Backyard Birding & Birding 101 – A Virtual Lesson

April 9 @ 10:00 am - 10:30 am

We are all in this together! For a virtual, family-friendly activity outdoors, join JDCF Education & Outreach Manager, Jess Hepker, for the 2nd in our new series of nature-related, educational Facebook Live events. We will be practicing social distancing while discussing birding in your own backyard as our feathered friends return to our area, ushering […] Read More

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Bluebird Monitors & Wannabes – Cancelled

April 16 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Murphy’s Gardens Native Plant Fundraiser Will Be Held Online

April 24 @ 10:00 am - April 25 @ 4:00 pm

Murphy’s Gardens is still hosting a native plant fundraiser for JDCF in April.  Due to COVID-19, this sale will take place online.  Shopping this sale will support both a local business and a local nonprofit! Details to come.  

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iNaturalist Workshop

May 13 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

JDCF  is holding a workshop on how to use the popular nature app, iNaturalist. Jess Hepker, JDCF’s Outreach and Education Manager, will walk through the basics of iNat and show everyone how to make observations with it. By using the iNat app, you can create research quality data for scientists around the world to use. […] Read More

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