Photo of a kayaker on the lake

Want to delve deeper into kayaking? Advanced course offered

July 13, 2018

You’re out kayaking when you encounter an emergency situation. Someone has flipped his kayak and is in distress. How do you help him? Learning how to do an open water rescue will be part of the advanced Kickstart Your Kayak course 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7. American Canoe Association…

Photo of education coordinator pointing out sights to a student

Active Adventurers camp for ages 8-9

July 13, 2018

Environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman loves being active outside — hiking, watching wildlife, biking. And she is excited to help youth find how they enjoy recreating outdoors during the Active Adventurers camp 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 14-15 at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji. “We plan to show kids…

Photo of a black-tailed prairie dog

Extirpated mammals in Iowa

July 11, 2018

After European settlement, osprey were extirpated in Iowa. Many of the wetlands were drained and water quality lowered as the landscape changed, and these fishing birds of prey sought homes in other areas. However, in the early 2000s, after years of concentrated efforts to improve water quality in the Iowa…

Photo of a colored D page for dragonfly

Simple nature alphabet activity

July 7, 2018

A child saw that the alphabet on the wall at Westport Schoolhouse only went from A-J. “Did the alphabet only have that many letters back then?” she asked. The volunteer laughed and answered that the rest of the letters were just not put up, but we didn’t want to confuse children…

Photo of a full moon

Join the Firefly Frenzy

July 6, 2018

Did you know that female fireflies can’t fly? How about that a lightning bug controls its blink by regulating the flow of oxygen to its abdomen, turning the light on and off? Dickinson County environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman and naturalist Ashley Hansen are excited to share even more fun…

Photo of a plains pocket gopher

7 ugly mammals in Iowa

July 5, 2018

Iowa is full of adorable mammals, so many that’s its hard to choose which are the cutest, but the state also has so uggos. Our environmental education coordinator likes to call these mammals non-charismatic, because ugly tends to turn people off. Although perhaps not the most attractive, the following mammals…

Photo of snake sticking out its tongue

How and why snakes shed their skin

July 5, 2018

If you find a snakeskin in the wild, it’s usually inside out! When it sheds, it slithers out of its old skin, like pulling a sock off your foot, so it ends up inside out! Watch the video for more information on how and why snakes shed their skin. Check…

Photo of paper chain snakes

Paper chain snake instructions

July 3, 2018

Crafts are so much more fun when the end result is actually something to play with rather than just hang on the refrigerator. This paper chain snake that can slither and wiggle is an easy and interactive craft for the snake lovers out there. And if you don’t have snake…

Photo of a painting of a pumpkinseed fish

Okoboji-themed paintings displayed by young artist

June 29, 2018

Hannah Haberecht is a well-rounded 21 year old. From participating in insect identification competitions with Science Olympiad to majoring in biomedical sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, to painting in her spare time — Haberecht’s interests seem to span the gamut. (Learn about the butterflies found in…

Photo of a gray fox

Nine adorable Iowa mammals

June 27, 2018

Mammals are usually the creatures that garner oohs and aahs when people see them on hikes, in their yards or even in zoos and conservation centers. They’re usually furry and cuddly with adorable eyes. (Some are ugly though — read about them here) Iowa has 57 different common mammal species,…

Photo of a woman with a nature bracelet on

Wearable nature bracelet

June 26, 2018

So many kids love to bring home trinkets, whether they are visiting a museum, a mall or a park. But moms often discourage bringing home more stuff that will just lie around. However, we have a fun solution for picking up tiny items on your next walk, and this way…

Graphic about crepuscular animals

Not nocturnal, crepuscular!

June 26, 2018

I remember when I first heard the word. Our environmental education coordinator was talking about nocturnal animals, and then stated that skunks aren’t always nocturnal but can also be crepuscular. “What?” Yes. Crepuscular. Cre-puss-cue-ler. It means simply that an animal is active at dawn and dusk. It’s not quite diurnal…

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