Opossum with babies on her back

Opossum myths and facts

May 28, 2019

We call them possums, but Iowa actually has opossums. These adorable creatures live in the western hemisphere and can refer to more than 100 species of animals. Possums are actual creatures as well. There are about 70 different species of possums in Australia, including the pollinating honey possum — read…

Photo of kayak instructor with student

Up your kayaking game with classes this summer

May 24, 2019

Do you have a kayak but haven’t been trained how to use it? Do you want to learn more about paddling, safety and even in-water rescues? Then check out the kayak classes and camps offered this summer through the Dickinson County Conservation Board. American Canoe Association certified instructor Mark Foss…

Photo of a tiger mosquito

Your mosquito questions answered

May 20, 2019

The bane of summer — the mosquito. We all love nice weather, but no one loves this little annoyances that seem to love the heat as well. You probably have plenty of questions, so we’re here to answer just a few. Why do mosquitoes bite? Female mosquitoes bite and take…

Photo of ducklings in the grass

Quick guide to finding a baby animal: Part II

May 20, 2019

People are generally so kind-hearted when it comes to baby animals. You might see a group of ducklings walking around without an adult and just want to help them, out of the goodness of your heart. We love that people want to help animals, but often the best thing to…

Photo of a cabin

Abbie Gardner Cabin & Museum opens for the season Memorial Day weekend

May 17, 2019

A small log cabin sits near Pillsbury Point, along the shore of West Lake Okoboji. “With inexpressible sadness I now recall some of the scenes and events that transpired in that humble but happy home…” Abbie Gardner Sharp wrote in “History of the Spirit Lake Massacre.” Her sister reading aloud…

Graphic of amazing apples exhibit

Dickinson County Endowment Fund grants help fund exhibit fabrication

May 17, 2019

The Pollinator Paradise addition at the Dickinson County Nature Center is continuing to move forward thanks to a grant from the Dickinson County Endowment Fund. The Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County received a $10,000 grant from the Dickinson County Endowment Fund in September 2018 to help create exhibits inside the…

Photo of butterfly milkweed root drawing

Prairie plant roots help water quality

May 15, 2019

Native prairie plants make wonderful habitat for wildlife like voles, turkeys, rabbits, ground squirrels, hawks and foxes. They provide both habitat and food sources for tiny creatures such as monarch butterflies, bumblebees and milkweed beetles. They are beautiful to look at. However, they are also important in a way that…

Close-up photo of wiggle caterpillar puppet

Wiggle caterpillar puppet

May 13, 2019

We have swallowtail caterpillars in our butterfly enclosure and talked in our kids blog this week about how to tell the difference between them and monarch caterpillars, so it seems only fitting to have a caterpillar craft as well. Caterpillars are fun to watch for many reasons, but one of…

Photo of a black swallowtail caterpillar

4 keys to telling apart monarch and swallowtail caterpillars

May 13, 2019

We stress that it is important to plant milkweed because it is the only plant that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on and that their caterpillars eat. However, some people have come to us confused that monarch caterpillars are eating the dill in their yard. Taking a closer look though,…

Photo of a Wilson's warbler

It’s warbler season: Tips to finding and identifying warblers

May 8, 2019

You’ve probably heard of warblers, but many people don’t have the opportunity to see one or don’t know if they do. These birds only come through northwest Iowa twice a year, for a couple of weeks at a time as they migrate to their northern breeding grounds. Since they are…

Photo of a fox squirrel

Black squirrels in Iowa

May 7, 2019

Clubs, businesses, special events — many things in Iowa have been named after the mythic black squirrel. I grew up in eastern Iowa where black squirrels were a common sight and didn’t really think anything about it until moving to northwest Iowa where black squirrels are much less common. Then,…

Photo of a tree swallow sitting on a post

Four Iowa swallows

May 1, 2019

Bright birds with forked tails that swoop and dive around you — we see a lot of these in Kenue Park. They’re definitely swallows, but can you tell which kind? In Iowa, you’re likely to see four different kinds of swallows: Barn swallows, tree swallows, cliff swallows and purple martins.…

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