Turtle connect-the-dots

June 1, 2020

We could have made a red-eared slider turtle coloring page, but why not make it a little more interesting and add a connect-the-dot activity too? Click here for your free printable connect-the-dot sheet.

Photo of Ding Darling

Animal ambassador conservationists: Ding Darling

June 1, 2020

One of the Dickinson County Nature Center’s red-eared slider turtles is named Darling. Not because it’s a darling name — although it is — but because he is named after Iowa conservationist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling. Jay Norwood Darling was born in 1876 in Norwood, MI, but he moved with…

Photo of American elm

Trees of Dickinson County: Elms

May 27, 2020

Two kinds of elms can be found statewide in Iowa, the American Elm (Ulmus americana) and the red elm (Ulmus rubra) or the slippery elm. American elm American elms have battled disease, like many types of trees native to Iowa. Dutch elm disease was introduced from Europe in the 1930s…

Photo of a paper plate turtle shell

Paper plate turtle shell

May 25, 2020

Turtles come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Some are light green with long necks. Some are dark green. Some have stripes of yellow, and some have orange highlights. They all have one thing in common, though — their domed shell. A paper plate makes for the perfect turtle shell,…

Photo of Ada Hayden

Animal ambassador conservationists: Ada Hayden

May 25, 2020

One of the Dickinson County Nature Center red-eared sliders is named Ada, after Iowa conservationist Ada Hayden. Ada Hayden was born in 1884 in Ames, and she became an important conservationist early on through her botany mentor Louis Pammel. She studied botany at Iowa State College, now Iowa State University,…

Photo of white pine needles

Trees of Dickinson County: Evergreens

May 20, 2020

Iowa has two kinds of native evergreen trees, which stay green year-round due to their rolled-up, waxy leaves that are known as needles. These leaves are resistant to cold and stay moist, keep them green all year long. Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) Red cedars are native to Iowa, but…

Sketch of Sylvan Runkel

Animal ambassador conservationists: Sylvan Runkel

May 18, 2020

The name of the two salamanders that live at the Dickinson County Nature Center are Sy and Manny. Manny’s name wasn’t very creative, to be honest. It comes from sala”man”der. Sy’s name, however, is in honor of famed Iowa conservationist Sylvan Runkel. Runkel was born in 1906 in Jacksonville, IL,…

Salamander Mad Libs

May 18, 2020

Sy and Manny the tiger salamanders live at the Dickinson County Nature Center in different aquariums, but we think that they would be the best of friends if there were outside in the wild together. What do you think? Click on this link to download our salamander Mad Libs story…

Photo of a green ash in fall

Trees of Dickinson County: Green ash

May 13, 2020

Iowa has several different species of ash trees: Black ash (Fraxinus nigra), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) and white ash (Fraxinus americana). However, only one kind is native to the northwest corner of the state — green ash. Black ash is found in the eastern half of Iowa, and white ash…

Photo of luna leopold

Animal ambassador conservationists: Luna Leopold

May 11, 2020

Luna the hedgehog’s name works on multiple levels. First, luna means moon in Spanish, and since the Dickinson County Nature Center’s African pygmy hedgehog is nocturnal, a name meaning moon is quite apt. Second, like many of our animals, Luna is named after a famous conservationist — Luna Leopold. Leopold…

Photo of paper hedgehog

Accordion paper hedgehog

May 11, 2020

Hedgehogs are known for the spines, the way they protect themselves from predators. They’re spiky but adorable, and this simple paper hedgehog shows off both sides of these nocturnal animals! To make your own paper hedgehog, you’ll need: Two sheets of brown construction paper in two different shades Black marker…

Learn Spanish nature words

May 7, 2020

Learn a variety of Spanish nature words in this video and then test your newfound vocabulary skills with a special worksheet. Just click here to download the free worksheet!

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