Engaging families and the great outdoors during free Family Nature Nights

Bringing together families and the outdoors — that’s what Family Nature Night at the Dickinson County Nature Center is all about.

“My goal is to encourage families to go outdoors together and engage together,” said Bryanna Kuhlman, environmental education coordinator for the Dickinson County Conservation Board.

“There’s no technology; they’re just outside enjoying nature or inside doing a craft,” said naturalist Ashley Hansen.

Family Nature Night is a monthly series for all ages that continues 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, with a Recycled Art theme and 7 p.m. Friday, May 24, with America the Beautiful as its theme.

The April event will begin with a short program on recycling and a family-oriented recycling game for people to learn what items are recyclable and what aren’t. Then families will get to create an animal-inspired craft from what many might consider trash — wire, bottles, silverware, catalogues. Participants can even bring along their own supplies from their home junk drawers.

Photo of metal owls

“People can be creative and see what speaks to them,” Hansen said. “The joy of recycled art is you can go a lot of different directions.”

Tools such as drills, screwdrivers, wire cutters, pliers, hot glue, scissors and gluesticks will be provided.

Kuhlman and Hansen hope that families will take inspiration from the program on how to utilize recycled goods in useful ways at home.

Photo of junk metal

“Trash is such an ongoing issue — it’s something we deal with every day,” Hansen said. “It’s important to think of ways to recycle, but sometimes it’s also fun to think of ways to use what you have.”

(Recycled T-shirt bags are another great craft — find instructions here)

May’s America the Beautiful program will take place the Friday before the Memorial Day holiday, and Kuhlman and Hansen want to take time to honor those who have lost their lives serving this country. They will then tie in nature by discussing national and state symbols such as the bald eagle and Iowa’s state bird, the American goldfinch, and state rock, the geode.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to go outside and talk about our beautiful landscape,” Kuhlman said.

The Family Nature Night series has been popular so far in 2019, and Hansen said she has enjoyed seeing older siblings and parents getting to participate with younger children.

Space is limited for Family Nature Night, so pre-registration is necessary. Please call 712-336-6352 to register your family for these fun, free events.

For more information on Family Nature Night and other Dickinson County Nature Center programs, visit our programs page. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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