Photo of a butterfly ornament in a tree

Toilet paper tube butterfly ornaments

December 15, 2017

My fingers are stained orange like I just ate a bag of Cheetos. At least that’s what naturalist Ashley Hansen said when she looked at me. But it was for a good cause. See, I just spent 10 minutes coloring an empty toilet paper tube orange to make a super…

Photo of bee box

How honeybees survive the winter

December 15, 2017

The numbers of bees in the indoor beehive have gone down. But that’s pretty normal this time of year. It just means that our bees have entered winter mode and are getting ready to survive cold weather. Baby, it’s cold outside. As the weather cools down, a honeybee hive starts…

Are frogs actually alive during the winter? Learn about this and more during the Winter Survival Hike

December 15, 2017

When we think about winter survival, we think about it in human terms — what to do if your car gets stuck in a snowy ditch, how to react if you fall through the ice, what kind of clothes do you need to wear to protect yourself from the cold?…

Graphic about water temperature versus density

How is ice created in lakes?

December 13, 2017

The temperatures drop, and we all wonder, “When will the lakes freeze?” My question today was, how does that actually happen? Of course, ice is created when the water temperature reaches freezing. That is pretty obvious. We’ve all seen ice cubes created in the freezer. Yet, lakes don’t freeze all…

Photo of a bluebird

Join the Audubon Christmas Bird Count

December 11, 2017

If you love watching the birds flit to and fro from your outdoor feeders, then you can make an impact as a citizen scientist. The Dickinson County Conservation Board and local birder Lee Schoenewe are working together to gather volunteers to participate in the annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count…

Photo of fish hatchery

Enjoy environmental learning at other nature centers in northwest Iowa

November 29, 2017

The Iowa Great Lakes area is full of environmental opportunities, from recreating on the lakes to hiking county and state parks to bird watching. After people experience the many interactive exhibits and live animals at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji, they often ask where else they can find…

My Giving Tree craft

November 27, 2017

Crafts don’t always come together the way you think they will. I had a brilliant idea this morning to make place cards with leaf etchings on them, and I tried it out. Yikes. Ugly. If you come up with something pretty with that idea, let me know. So instead, I…

Photo of a box turtle

7 things Teddy the ornate box turtle wants you to know about him

November 27, 2017

When kids who have been to the nature center before return, many of them beeline to see Teddy the ornate box turtle. (Teddy has some lessons for us to learn in this video.) But how much do you really know about the ornate box turtle (terrapene ornata ornata)? Long live…

Photo of acorn flour cookies

Acorn flour chocolate chip cookies recipe

November 22, 2017

When environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman decided to focus on ethnobotany for this year’s Thanksgiving hike, she knew she would talk about how people have used acorns for food as part of the Kenue Park program. She came to me (community relations coordinator Kiley Roth) and casually mentioned it would…

Graphic with origami instructions

It really works: Leaping frog origami

November 20, 2017

I am by no means an origami expert, but I always feel accomplished when I complete a new project. We’ve tried butterfly origami (you can find that blog entry here) and today decided to attempt making interactive origami — a leaping frog! Steps 1-4: Fold your paper hot dog, then…

Photo of a turkey in the grass

Ten turkey facts we bet you didn’t know

November 20, 2017

If you want to be the stand-out at Thanksgiving, bring these 10 turkey facts with you. Soy de Mexico. All turkeys originated in Mexico. Now it imports about 400 million pounds of turkey from the U.S. for consumption. They were wanted for their feathers. Wild turkeys can have a wing span —…

Photo of stonework completed on construction project

Help fund family fun at Pollinator Paradise

November 17, 2017

We love pollinators at the Dickinson County Nature Center. And we want to share that love with you. That’s why the Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County is continuing to raise funds to complete the new Pollinator Paradise addition to the nature center in Okoboji. (See construction updates here.) Construction began…