Photo of a deer hoofprint in the snow

Enjoy the season during the Winter Wonderland Walk

December 14, 2018

Walking through the snowy prairie, one might think that all life has stopped for the winter. But it hasn’t. Hoof prints from deer, hand-like tracks from raccoons, elongated traces of bounding rabbits — the prairie is still quite alive. Environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman will talk with people about the…

Graphic about Uranus

December 12, 2018

Since we have starting working on renovating the Explore Your Playful Nature kids area into a space/night theme, we have learned tons of interesting things about planet. They are a part of our solar system, but sometimes all we learn about them are the order they are from the sun…

Photo of hoarfrost

How hoarfrost forms

December 10, 2018

One of the most beautiful times during winter is when frost builds up on tree branches, blades of grass and fences. The whole world takes on a bright, shimmering white hue, and it makes the bitter temperatures worth it. You might even call it a winter wonderland. This type of…

Photo of felt stars on a magnet board

Make your own magnetic stars

December 10, 2018

We have some awesome updates to existing exhibits and some brand new exhibits coming up at winter projects. One of those is to turn our kids area into a space/night theme! (Celebrate winter with a craft stick snowflake) A few parts of the renovation are underway behind the scenes, and…

Black and white photo of Abbie Gardner Sharp

Abbie Gardner Sharp’s story: Life continues on

December 5, 2018

Following her rescue after nearly four months in captivity with Inkpaduta’s band of Native Americans, Abbie learned that her sister Eliza had survived the Springfield attack and had married William Wilson, who had lived with the Gardners in Okoboji for a time, and moved to Hampton, IA. On July 5,…

Photo of Hotonhowashta

Abbie Gardner Sharp’s story: Abbie’s rescuers

December 5, 2018

Abbie Gardner was held captive by Inkpaduta’s band after about four months in captivity. Three Native Americans paid for her and took her back to Minnesota. They were paid $1,000 for her rescue. Mazaintemani Mazaintemani, or Man Who Shoots Metal as He Walks, was noted by Abbie Gardner Sharp to…

Photo of Charles Flandrau

Abbie Gardner Sharp’s story: Taken captive

December 5, 2018

As word of the violence in Spirit Lake and Springfield spread, plans to rescue the captive women began to take shape within the Minnesota government with Sioux Indian Agent Charles Flandrau. Meanwhile though, Abbie Gardner and the other captives focused on how to stay alive in a culture they did…

Photo of a cabin

Abbie Gardner Sharp’s story: The Spirit Lake Massacre

December 5, 2018

Before the Spirit Lake Massacre A man named Henry Lott, cited as an “unscrupulous character” by an article in 1886 in the Sibley Gazette, had an encounter with Sintominaduta, Inkpaduta’s brother, and blamed the Wahpekuti tribe for burning his cabin and killing his family, although that didn’t actually occur. Settlers…

Photo of Inkpaduta

Abbie Gardner Sharp’s story: Who was Inkpaduta?

December 5, 2018

There is much that is known and yet unknown about Inkpaduta, his rise to leadership and his life following what is now known as the Spirit Lake Massacre. Inkpaduta was born in 1805 — also listed as 1797 in some sources — near Cannon River in southern Minnesota to a…

Green map of where the Gardners moved

Abbie Gardner Sharp’s story: Traveling to Spirit Lake

December 5, 2018

  Rowland Gardner married Frances Smith in 1836 and had four children — Mary, Eliza, Abigail and Rowland. However, he wasn’t satisfied in New York and wanted to join the westward bound in pursuit of a new and better life. So in 1853, 10 years after Abigail, better known as…

Photo of a buff-tipped moth

Wallace discovered animals’ secrets to survival

December 3, 2018

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…

Photo of bees with varroa mites

What’s happening in the hive? Varroa mites

November 27, 2018

Bees have so many issues to deal with. There’s a lack of nectar and pollen sources as wildflower populations diminish. Pesticides like neonictinoids are harming their nervous systems (read about that here). There’s unexplained colony collapse disorder. And then there are varroa mites. So many invasive species have caused catastrophic…

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