Posts by kiley

Are you a naturalist?

How much do you know about the animal ambassadors at the Dickinson County Nature Center? Take this quiz to find out if you know as much as our naturalists!

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Danielle Clouse Gast gives a new spin on the landscape

Photo of a woman in front of paintings

Danielle Clouse Gast’s art gives just a twist to the Iowa Great Lakes landscapes we all know and love. She describes her landscape oil paintings as “a modern, fresh approach to the landscape we are familiar with.” See what that means in her art exhibit running October-December at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji,…

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Venomous snakes of Iowa

Photos of Iowa's venomous snakes

“Does Iowa have any poisonous snakes?” It’s a question that comes up when visitors see our animal ambassador snakes, and the answer is “No.” That might not be what you expected. You see, snakes in North American are not poisonous, they are venomous — which means they inject a toxin rather than secreting a poison…

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Thumbprint bees

Photo of thumbprint bugs

One of our volunteers made coffee filter butterflies with her granddaughter, and in exchange, her granddaughter showed her how to make thumbprint bees. We thought they were so cute, we would try them ourselves. And just to make it more exciting, we did a variety of thumbprint invertebrates! All you’ll need is: White paper Washable…

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Are there bears in Iowa?

Photo of a black bear

The grizzly bear in the lower level of the Dickinson County Nature Center has huge paws. At least, it seems like it. However, grizzly bears actually have an average of 15-inch paws, not even including the claws. But here in Iowa, we don’t realize how big grizzlies and other bears are. We just don’t get…

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Dispose of household hazardous materials at the recycling center

Graphic about HHMs

Cleaners, pesticides, oil-based paints — how do you dispose of these items when you’re done with them? The Dickinson Recycling Center in Milford accepts household hazardous materials such as these and disposes of them responsibly. HHMs, or household hazardous materials, are chemicals that are reactive, flammable, corrosive or poisonous. “Basically, it’s something you’re not supposed…

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Why worms surface after rain

Graphic about earthworm types

  After it rains, people often step outside and think, “It smells like worms.” (The dead worm above looks like an S. Take the kids for a shape walk to see what else you might discover.) The smell is more likely caused by soil bacteria released after heavy downpours, but perhaps we think it smells…

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Make a coffee filter butterfly

Photo of coffee filter butterfly

It’s not any surprise that we love butterflies at the Dickinson County Nature Center. We also love butterfly crafts! This coffee filter butterfly is one that we made at the 2018 Bee & Butterfly Festival. It’s simple, but kids really love the colorful creations they can make. Plus, you can glue them to a magnet…

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Fast frog facts

Photo of northern leopard frog

Leo the northern leopard frog — named after conservationist Aldo Leopold — is always a hit with kids when he comes out during programs. That is often because he makes the programs more exciting when he escapes from the grasp of the naturalist with his squirmy, slippery body. But visitors also love to see his…

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Tiger salamander fun facts

Sy the tiger salamander is huge. The Dickinson County Nature Center has two tiger salamander animal ambassadors, named Manny and Sy, and they are members of the largest land salamander species in North America. Tiger salamanders usually grow 7-13 inches long, but Sy is around 14 inches in length from head to tail. That’s one…

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