Photo of a corn snake

Creepy but cool: How snakes can move without legs

February 26, 2018

Besides their forked tongues, probably the main thing that creeps people out about snakes is their ability to move without legs or feet. (The reason a snake sticks out its tongue, and why it’s forked.) I have to say, before I started working at the Dickinson County Nature Center, back…

Photo by Alex Miles

Spring photography contest opens

February 23, 2018

The moon slowly moved across the daytime sky, blocking out more and more of the sun until it finally covered it completely, just for a moment before the sun started to peek through again. That was the moment, with fuzzy cloud coverage, Alex Miles clicked the camera shutter, stilling in…

Four recipes that highlight honey

February 20, 2018

It’s sweet. It’s healthy. It never goes bad. Honey is really an amazing food. (Read “Save the Bees, Save the Honey”) We talk a lot about the importance of bees as pollinators, but sometimes you just have to appreciate the simple fact that they make a wonderful product. It’s easy…

Photo of a rock lady bug with a photo head

Turn yourself into a lady bug: Personalized rock craft

February 20, 2018

Have you ever wanted to experience the world through the eyes of an insect? Imagine the viewpoint looking up through the grass, seeing the expansive world that exists right on the surface of the earth. Well, I can’t offer you that view, but I can help you turn yourself into…

Close-up photo of claws

Can you tell which animal it is by its extreme close-up?

February 20, 2018
Photo of people walking on a snowy trail

Enjoy the outdoors with Hike the Wild

February 16, 2018

If you have hay fever after what seems like a long winter and are just itching to get outside, the Dickinson County Conservation Board has the answer. Its monthly Hike the Wild program restarts for 2018 on Tuesday, Feb. 27, with a special snowshoe hike at Elinor Bedell State Park.…

Photo of paper wasps building a nest

It’s not a bee — 5 types of wasps, hornets and yellowjackets you may see in Iowa

February 14, 2018

“Ah, a bee!” It’s such a common reaction when a buzzing insect comes near a person, whether adult or youth. But the word “bee” is overused, and most people actually don’t what insect they are encountering and why they usually shouldn’t be afraid of it. Last week, we talked about…

Photo of colored ice balloons

Add some color to your snowy world with ice balls

February 12, 2018

Our naturalists are incredibly creative, and it’s fun to watch their ideas take shape. For Nature Tots in January, Bryanna Kuhlman, our environmental education coordinator, and Ashley Hansen, our naturalist, put together snow activities that included snow volcanoes, snow painting and playing with ice balloons. If you’re looking for a…

Photo of a monarch butterfly hanging from its chrysalis

Learn about the butterflies and moths found in Dickinson County

February 8, 2018

Five families of butterflies call Dickinson County home, including 70 different species. But how much do you know about them? Naturalist Ashley Hansen will teach people about the native butterflies and moths of the Iowa Great Lakes area during the first program in the new Pollinator Education series 5:30 p.m.…

Photo of a blue bee

Six ways native bees differ from honeybees

February 7, 2018

People often use the term bee when talking about any kind of buzzing creature outside — it could be a honeybee, a bumble bee, a mason bee, a sweat bee or even a wasp or yellowjacket. However, it’s important to differentiate between the different kinds of bees. That may be…

Photo of a monarch butterfly hanging from its chrysalis

The majestic monarch’s magnificent life cycle

February 5, 2018

A few more weeks and the monarch butterflies that are overwintering in Mexico will start making their way north. Once coming out of hibernation, a female monarch will find a male with which to reproduce. Around the Texas/Mexico border, the female monarch will find milkweed plants on which to lay…

Photo of two house finches at a feeder

What birds are at your feeder? Keep track for the Great Backyard Bird Count

February 2, 2018

A house finch munching on sunflower seeds in the feeder. A cooper’s hawk watching hungrily from a perch nearby. A woodpecker knock-knock-knocking on a tree trunk. Your yard is most likely full of different avian species, flying about during their busy day-to-day lives. (Did you know grackles don’t like safflower…

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