Construction planning for the $10 million Polk County Nature Center at Jester Park kicks off officially today with an announcement at 4 p.m. at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Previously approved bonds will pay about half the cost, with state grants and private donations covering the rest. "There are 53 nature centers in Iowa, but none are located in Iowa's most populated county," Connie Johnson, chairwoman of the Polk County Conservation Board, said in a statement. "When we were seeking public input during our county park development planning, building a nature center frequently topped the list." The center, expected to open on Earth Day 2018, will feature hands-on learning, including interactive displays about the plants and animals native to Iowa, preservation of our natural resources and easy access to equipment for outdoor exploration. Details are available online.