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Identifying the leaves of trees native to northwest Iowa

October 18, 2017
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Photo of an american basswood leaf

Fall is the time of year to look at leaves. We pick them up and marvel at colors. We rake them up in the yard. We jump in the piles and toss them in the air. But what kind of leaf are you looking at? We have put together a list of ...

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Frogs are the real living dead

October 17, 2017
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Photo of a leopard frog

The title “living dead” is very Halloween-appropriate. And that’s exactly what northern leopard frogs are in the wintertime. Photo by Eva Brown Northern leopard frogs are native to northwest Iowa and are aquatic creatures, meaning they live in the water. Like American bullfrogs, which are not native to northern Iowa, northern leopard frogs ...

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The perfect fall craft — a handprint acorn!

October 16, 2017
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Photo of acorn hand craft

‘Tis the season of acorns. Come to Kenue Park and you will see many, many of the tasty morsels that animals like squirrels love to munch on during the winter. That makes an acorn craft the perfect fall activity, one that we did during our Colors of the Wind-themed Nature Tots program ...

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Round, tiny and fluffy — participate in citizen science seed collecting program

October 13, 2017
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Photo of seeds

Butterfly milkweed, wild bergamot and prairie dropseed seeds Like each prairie plant, each plant seed is also unique — from flat, round seeds attached to fluff in milkweed plants to long, oblong seeds from big bluestem. You can learn all about native prairie seeds and how to collect them and put that ...

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What is the fuzzy stuff on my oak leaves?

October 10, 2017
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Photo of a woolly oak leaf gall

You picked up a brown bur oak leaf and get grossed out that it looks like it’s molding. But those fuzzy spots on the leaf aren’t mold; in fact, they’re galls. A gall is a growth on a plant that develops due to insects that majority of the time. A female gallmaker ...

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Make your own caterpillar finger puppet

October 9, 2017
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Photo of a caterpillar finger puppet

Finger puppets are an incredibly easy craft to make at home, because they need hardly any supplies but create hours — let’s be honest here, minutes — of fun. We’ve made a bee finger puppet on our blog before, and you can download the template on our Five Bee Myths and ...

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Why can’t I see the queen bee in the indoor bee hive?

October 9, 2017
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“Where is the queen bee?” That’s usually the first question we get when people see the indoor bee hive at the Dickinson County Nature Center. The queen bee is pretty identifiable. Her abdomen — the longest part of her body — is almost twice the length of a worker bee. However, we almost ...

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Fall bird migration through Iowa isn’t rushed

October 5, 2017
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Photo of a hooded merganser duck

Sabine’s gull Sabine’s gulls are an Arctic species that typically migrate along the coasts or at sea, but one was spotted in Dickinson County in September. During the Sept. 30 Birdwatchers Anonymous birding trek, Lee Schoenewe and his group of birders found this rare species at a marsh just west of Little ...

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Osprey fly south in the winter to whereabouts unknown

October 3, 2017
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Photo of a female osprey with chicks

The Okoboji osprey pair and their three grown chicks are gone for the season, last spotted about the second week of September before heading south. But where exactly are they going? And why do they leave? Where are they going? We’re not exactly sure. Although the osprey male that has habited the Dickinson County ...

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The reason a snake sticks out its tongue

September 29, 2017
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Photo of snake sticking out its tongue

Why do snakes stick out their tongues at you? Have you ever seen this? You’ve been looking at Rosie the corn snake or Itsy Bitsy the western fox snake, and one of them sticks out her black tongue and flicks it around. She is smelling you! The snake’s tongue has a fork on ...

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