Photo of a caterpillar name craft

Personalized paper caterpillar craft

July 23, 2018

From microscopic egg to tiny larva to chubby caterpillar to gold-flecked chrysalis to adult monarch butterfly — the majestic monarch’s life cycle is something to behold, especially up close. In honor of part of that amazing metamorphosis, try out this fun caterpillar craft that shows just how much you love…

Photo of a bumblebee gathering pollen

Fall photography contest entries being taken

July 20, 2018

We love pollinators at the Dickinson County Nature Center. And if the spring photography contest was any indication, our visitors love them as well. The winning photo in the adult contest, captured by Linda Petersen, featured a bee on a coneflower with pollen sacs stuffed full. Anna Rose took home…

Graphic of butterfly exhibit

Pollinator Paradise exhibit concepts released

July 20, 2018

The human-sized honeycomb crawler has been a hit inside Pollinator Paradise at the Dickinson County Nature Center. But this new interactive exhibit is only the beginning in the brand new addition to the Okoboji center. As fundraising continues, plans are moving forward for more children’s museum-quality exhibits that kids of…

Photo of a tundra swan

What is a wetland?

July 18, 2018

As Iowa’s landscape changed, so did its wildlife. Some animals were even extirpated (read about that here), but professionals have worked hard to restore some of Iowa’s native areas to increase wildlife habitat, improve water quality and help our pollinators. “Wetlands are being restored in certain areas,” said Iowa Department…

Graphic of activity book cover

Free pollinator activity book download

July 16, 2018

Download the free Pollinator Paradise activity book, full of free games, facts and coloring pages. You can find even more fun with our free Okoboji Osprey activity book as well!

The discarded shell of a dragonfly nymph

Incomplete metamorphosis — what is that??

July 16, 2018

The majestic monarch goes through four stages in its life cycle — egg, caterpillar (larva), chrysalis (pupa) and adult butterfly. Insects that go through four stages have what is called complete metamorphosis. (Read about the monarch’s life cycle here) However, not all insects go through all four stages in their…

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 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…

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