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Photo of a raccoon

10 fast raccoon facts

October 14, 2019

1. A male is called a boar. You probably didn’t know that, like a pig, that a male raccoon is called a boar and a female is called a sow. Little ones aren’t called piglets, though; they’re called kits. 2. It’s black mask may have a purpose. The raccoon’s black…

Photo of a bald blue jay

Birds change feathers like people change clothes

October 9, 2019

You may have noticed that as the seasons change, birds begin to look different. What was a bright eastern goldfinch in the spring becomes a duller hue in the winter. A duck that had vibrant breeding feathers earlier in the year now looks a little drab. That is because birds…

Photo of a hoverfly on a white flower

5 hoverfly facts

October 7, 2019

Black and yellow means bee, right? Not always! A lot of insects are black and yellow and yet aren’t bees, and a lot of bees aren’t even black and yellow. Native bees can be(e) blue, red, metallic green, brown — tons of different colors. One insect that mimics bees and…

Photo of false indigo

22 flowers, grasses, trees and shrubs for pollinators

October 2, 2019

If you love pollinators as much as we do, you’re always looking for plants to add to your landscaping that can help provide habitat and food sources. Our pollinator populations are dwindling, and it’s up to us to bring them back. You can truly make a difference even with small…

Photo of milkweed beetle in exhibit

Some insects use a proboscis to drink

September 30, 2019

In the Build a Pollinator exhibit inside Pollinator Paradise at the Dickinson County Nature Center, one item that you get to put on your pollinator is a proboscis. Many insects have a proboscis, which is a type of mouthpart that is basically a tube to help the insect suck up…

Illustration of Saturn

Put a ring on it: All giant planets in our solar system have them

September 25, 2019

Most people think that only Saturn has rings. Some know that Uranus too, even though they often aren’t drawn in illustrations, has rings. However, they aren’t the only ones. Jupiter and Neptune also have rings. Even some moons, like Saturn’s moon Rhea, and asteroids can have rings. Let’s take a…

Photo of hoarfrost

Plants protect themselves from the winter cold

September 23, 2019

Each autumn, the world outside is getting ready for a change. Birds are migrating to find warmer wintering grounds. Mammals are eating a lot to increase their fatty insulation and are putting food away for the winter. Trees are dropping their leaves and going dormant. (Read about that here) What…

Photo of construction

Lodge and shelter under construction in Kenue Park

September 19, 2019

Construction is progressing quickly on the new lodge and open-air shelter in Kenue Park in Okoboji. Asbestos was removed from the former County Home building previously on the site, and it was demolished in 2018. “We researched renovating the former County Home building, but it wasn’t financially responsible, so the…

Photo of prairie in bloom

7 reasons why the IRVM program is important to Dickinson County

September 18, 2019

Iowa was one of the first states to establish an Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management program. Since its inception in the 1970s, more than 50,000 acres of federal, state, county and city roadsides have been planted to native grasses and wildflowers. (Read about the state program here.) Dickinson County began its…

Photo of a squirrel eating

Squirreling away nuts for winter

September 16, 2019

During the autumn season, you’ll see acorns and other nuts falling from trees as the trees get ready to go dormant — basically, sleep — during the winter. Many animals take advantage of this time and gather those nuts to eat during the winter, and you’ve most likely seen plenty…

Photo of tachinid fly pupae

Monarchs and tachinid flies

September 11, 2019

A monarch butterfly chrysalis is usually a brilliant color spotted with golden dots. However, sometimes something goes wrong — and one day, we spotted a chrysalis that was beginning to turn brown. At the bottom of the container that the chrysalis was in inside of our monarch enclosure in Pollinator…

Photo of a monarch butterfly

Male or female? How to tell if a monarch butterfly is a boy or a girl

September 9, 2019

During monarch tagging at Dee’s Bee & Butterfly Festival, taggers often get to choose whether they want to tag a male or a female monarch butterfly. Then the next question is, how do the staff helping with tagging know the difference? There are two very simple ways to tell apart…

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