Photo of thumbprint bugs

Thumbprint bees

September 24, 2018

One of our volunteers made coffee filter butterflies with her granddaughter, and in exchange, her granddaughter showed her how to make thumbprint bees. We thought they were so cute, we would try them ourselves. And just to make it more exciting, we did a variety of thumbprint invertebrates! All you’ll…

Photo of a black bear

Are there bears in Iowa?

September 24, 2018

The grizzly bear in the lower level of the Dickinson County Nature Center has huge paws. At least, it seems like it. However, grizzly bears actually have an average of 15-inch paws, not even including the claws. But here in Iowa, we don’t realize how big grizzlies and other bears…

Graphic about HHMs

Dispose of household hazardous materials at the recycling center

September 21, 2018

Cleaners, pesticides, oil-based paints — how do you dispose of these items when you’re done with them? The Dickinson Recycling Center in Milford accepts household hazardous materials such as these and disposes of them responsibly. HHMs, or household hazardous materials, are chemicals that are reactive, flammable, corrosive or poisonous. “Basically,…

Graphic about earthworm types

Why worms surface after rain

September 17, 2018

  After it rains, people often step outside and think, “It smells like worms.” (The dead worm above looks like an S. Take the kids for a shape walk to see what else you might discover.) The smell is more likely caused by soil bacteria released after heavy downpours, but…

Photo of coffee filter butterfly

Make a coffee filter butterfly

September 17, 2018

It’s not any surprise that we love butterflies at the Dickinson County Nature Center. We also love butterfly crafts! This coffee filter butterfly is one that we made at the 2018 Bee & Butterfly Festival. It’s simple, but kids really love the colorful creations they can make. Plus, you can…

Photo of northern leopard frog

Fast frog facts

September 17, 2018

Leo the northern leopard frog — named after conservationist Aldo Leopold — is always a hit with kids when he comes out during programs. That is often because he makes the programs more exciting when he escapes from the grasp of the naturalist with his squirmy, slippery body. But visitors…

Tiger salamander fun facts

September 13, 2018

Sy the tiger salamander is huge. The Dickinson County Nature Center has two tiger salamander animal ambassadors, named Manny and Sy, and they are members of the largest land salamander species in North America. Tiger salamanders usually grow 7-13 inches long, but Sy is around 14 inches in length from…

If you like calla lilies, plant Jack in the pulpit

September 12, 2018

Take a walk through a garden center, and it’s easy to get swept away by all of the exotic flowers that you can plant in your yard. However, we always encourage people to think native when planting a garden, and fall is a great time to plant native prairie seedlings…

Photo of side view of cut t-shirt

Recycled T-shirt bags are an environmentally-friendly craft

September 12, 2018

Planning the 2018 Bee & Butterfly Festival, we decided that it would be a good idea to have bags for people to carry around their crafts and other goodies. We could purchase bags, or we could decorate bags. Then naturalist Ashley Hansen brought up the idea of making bags out…

Photo of pale purple coneflower

Slow down at Pioneer Park Nature Preserve

August 29, 2018

So many people crest the hill on Highway 71, coming north into the south side of Milford, and get a beautiful overlook of the Milford Creek, a tributary of the Little Sioux River. But did you know that you can take a right and actually walk through part of that…

Graphic of four butterflies and their wingspans

How to tell apart four orange and black butterflies

August 27, 2018

An orange and black butterfly flits by. Many people immediately think “monarch,” but there are actually quite a number of orange and black butterflies in Iowa and throughout the United States. Three butterflies in the Iowa Great Lakes area that often get confused with the monarch butterfly are the painted…

Photo of girl with squirt gun painting

Celebrate the end of summer with squirt gun painting

August 27, 2018

It’s hard to think about, but it’s obvious in the Iowa Great Lakes that summer is coming to an end. Traffic is easing. Visitor numbers are dwindling. Stores and restaurants are getting ready to close for the season. But there is still plenty of warm weather to enjoy outside, and…

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