Photo of canvasback

Check waterfowl off your birding list during migration

March 23, 2018

Honks and quacks are filling the air as waterfowl begin to migrate through the Iowa Great Lakes area. Hooded mergansers, white-fronted geese, trumpeter swans — see how many species you can check off your list during the next Birdwatchers Anonymous birding trek 9 a.m. Saturday, March 31. (Seven waterfowl to…

Photo of a painted lady butterfly

Native Iowa Butterflies and Moths: Monarchs and other brush-footed butterflies

March 21, 2018

Last fall, when black and orange butterflies were fluttering all around the area, many people were so excited to see the masses of monarchs in their yards. However, the butterflies weren’t actually monarchs. They were painted ladies. We may think we know all there is to know about monarch butterflies,…

Photo of a duck mask craft

Make your own duck mask from a paper plate

March 19, 2018

As ducks and geese starting migrating through the Iowa Great Lakes area this spring, it’s only appropriate that we feature a waterfowl mask as a craft. (Read “Seven Waterfowl to Look for During Migration.”) I’ll admit I took some creative liberties with the duck coloring in my own duck mask,…

Photo of a hooded merganser

Seven waterfowl to look for during migration

March 19, 2018

The Iowa Great Lakes and the smaller lakes and wetlands in the area are starting to melt. That means that birds that flew south to warmer areas for the winter are now flying back north to their summer breeding grounds. Waterfowl are definitely on the move this month, and it’s…

Natural Resource Aide seasonal employment available

March 19, 2018

The Dickinson County Conservation Board is looking to hire four seasonal natural resource aides for the summer of 2018. This is an excellent entry-level opportunity for those looking to get their foot in the door in the conservation field. Gain experience in ecosystems management, integrated roadside vegetation management, trails maintenance,…

Butterflies and beyond: Planting for pollinators

March 16, 2018

When we think about pollinators, we typically think of the 1,200 species of butterflies in Iowa, the 2,500 species of moths or the 200 species of bees. However, we then overlook important pollinators such as hummingbirds, ants, flower beetles, hover flies, midges and even mosquitoes. During the next Pollinator Education…

Photo of eastern tailed-blue

Native Iowa Butterflies and Moths: Sulphurs and blues

March 14, 2018

As our Pollinator Paradise addition to the Dickinson County Nature Center wraps up construction and we look forward to finishing fundraising for exhibits and adding some children’s museum-quality displays, we have butterflies and bees on the mind. That’s why we’re taking a look at some of the most common types…

Photo of origami fish being folded

Fold a simple origami fish

March 12, 2018

Origami is one of those crafts that you just feel accomplished when it’s completed. It’s a skill that you can share and show off, and this origami fish is a simple design that even children can do. (Fold a leaping origami frog.) First, take a square sheet of paper —…

Photo of a prairie skink missing its tail

Schnoodle the prairie skink has lost her tail

March 12, 2018

Prairie skinks (Plestiodon septentrionalis) are common in Iowa, but you may never have seen one before. They are so tiny, that they blend in extremely well with their prairie surroundings. Prairie skinks range from 5-8 inches in length typically. The new animal ambassador at the Dickinson County Nature Center, named…

Photo of a naturalist and kids looking at a compass plant

Camp registration is filling fast

March 6, 2018

Get ready to dig into adventure at the Dickinson County Nature Center this summer. Online registration is now open for youth summer camps at the nature center in Okoboji, and there is plenty of fun in store for kids who participate. “We like to provide summer camps because we think…

Photo of an eastern swallowtail

Native Iowa butterflies and moths: Skippers and swallowtails

March 6, 2018

More than 70 species of butterflies have been spotted in Dickinson County. And yet, the order Lepidoptera is made up of about 90 percent moths. So between butterflies and moths, there is a lot of fluttering action going on around us. (Learn the difference between butterflies and moths.) During the first Pollinator…

Photo of a painted turtle

Five facts you probably didn’t know about painted turtles

March 5, 2018

Annie and Jeff loved the Dickinson County Nature Center. But they’re not visitors. They don’t even work here. Actually, they live here! That’s because, even though they have human-like names, Annie and Jeff are the nature center’s painted turtles (Chrysemys picta.) Everyone loves checking out our painted turtles, so here…

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