The great plains toads at the Dickinson County Nature Center are named Al and Wally.

Photo of Great Plains toad

Photo of Great Plains toad

Wally is named after Alfred R. Wallace (read more about him here), and Al is named after Iowa-born conservationist Aldo Leopold.

Leopold was born in 1887 in Burlington and spent much of his youth in the Iowa outdoors, inspiring him to pursue a career in conservation.

He began with the U.S. Forest Service and by age 24 became supervisor for the Carson National Forest in New Mexico. He also helped establish the country’s first designated wilderness area in the Gila National Forest in 1922.

He continued to be the first throughout his career, publishing the first textbook in the field of wildlife management and becoming the first chair in game management at the University of Wisconsin, both in 1933.

Leopold might be best known for his book “A Sand County Almanac,” which he wrote while working on an ecological restoration of his family’s land along the Wisconsin River.

However, his book was not published during his lifetime. Leopold died from a heart attack in 1948, and his son, Luna, later published his father’s book.

Photo of Aldo Leopold

Leopold’s legacy is still intact long after his death, and the first weekend in March is now known as Aldo Leopold Weekend in Wisconsin.

Tell apart Iowa toads

Al and Wally, named for conservationist Alfred Wallace, are two Great Plains toads (Anaxyrus cognatus) that live at the Dickinson County Nature Center. Four different toads live in Iowa — Great Plains toad, American toad, Fowler’s toad and Woodhouse’s toad — and they can be difficult to tell apart. Here are a few key ways…

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Wallace discovered animals’ secrets to survival

Glowing body parts that warn predators, colors to camouflage, body parts that look like other things in nature — animals have crazy cool adaptations that help them survive. Alfred R. Wallace was a naturalist, explorer and biogeographer during the 1800s, and when he was studying creatures around the world, he found that those with the…

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Make a toad hand puppet

Since we talked today about five facts that will make you love toads (read the blog post here), we decided to make a toad-themed craft. If you look up toad crafts, there are not a lot out there! Like we mentioned in the blog post, toads tend to get overlooked in favor of their more…

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Five facts that will make you like toads

Because frogs are brightly colored, they tend to be looked on with more awe than toads. However, American toads have some pretty neat attributes when you get to know them. They taste bad. American toads are covered in red and yellow wart-looking spots that actually contain glands that secrete poison. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt…

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