Posts by kiley

How cottontail rabbits survive the winter

Photo of a cottontail rabbit

My husband and I keep opening up our mud room door to see an eastern cottontail rabbit darting away, and any fresh snow reveals bunny tracks on our concrete patio. “Why does it keep sitting here?” My husband asked me. “I don’t know, maybe trying to keep out of the wind?” We started to discuss…

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Iowa’s Winter Birds: Dark-eyed junco

Photo of a slate-colored junco

Snowbirds are people that flee Iowa for warmer weather farther south. By farther south, we usually mean Florida, Texas or Arizona. However, for some residents of the far north, like dark-eyed juncos, Iowa is the warm haven to which they flock. As winter sets in, these pretty little sparrows migrate from their breeding grounds in…

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Ice cube tie-dye

Photo of frozen colored ice cubes

It’s cold. If you’re not reading this the week it’s written, the windchill is -6 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s 2 p.m. You can imagine how cold it was last night, and how cold it’s going to get tonight! However, we like to embrace the seasons around here, so we thought it would be fun to…

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were originally inspired by red-eared sliders

Photo of a red-eared slider

Red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) are found throughout the United States, but that hasn’t always been the case. These aquatic turtles are natively found in the southeastern United States from Texas to Alabama north to southern Ohio and into Kansas. Their native watersheds may have even extended into Iowa. Red-eared sliders gained popularity in the…

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Orange pheasant

Graphic that says easy orange pheasant recipe

My husband doesn’t usually go pheasant hunting, because it’s difficult to do without a hunting dog, and our Olde English Bulldog just doesn’t seem to like the outdoors…or being active…or being awake. So I haven’t had the chance to eat pheasant before, but this year he went hunting with a friend and shot a pheasant.…

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Animal Baby Name Game

Graphic of name game

Baby names are so much fun. Whether you’re planning for your own child, getting ready for a baby shower or just having fun thinking of names, it can be quite a crazy world to look into. There are literally thousands upon thousands of names, and some can be quite crazy. It is the same with…

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Snapping turtles are fascinating

Photo of a common snapping turtle

People speculate how both gangsters and snapping turtles cut off people’s fingers, so when the Dickinson County Nature Center got a baby snapping turtle as an animal ambassador, it was named Capone after the legendary gangster Al Capone. Common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) are the largest turtles in Iowa, and they are quite fascinating creatures.…

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No School Day camps premiere in 2019

Photo of a girl holding a bunny

On a day with no school, get the kids off the couch and send them to the Dickinson County Nature Center for our all new No School Day Camp. Camps will be held 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. March 1 — a day off for Okoboji Elementary School — and March 18 — a day off for…

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Why Pluto isn’t considered a planet anymore

Photo of Pluto

Pluto was first designated a planet in 1930 when it was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. The tiny planet is about two-thirds the diameter of Earth’s moon and most likely is made up of a rocky core surrounded by ice and coated with methane and nitrogen frost. It…

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How fish survive in frozen lakes

The frozen Iowa Great Lakes are dotted with blue and black as ice fishermen set up their shacks, drill holes and search for life below the ice. And there is still plenty of life to be found, but how exactly do fish survive in those frigid temperatures? You can learn how ice is created on…

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