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 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 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…

Graphic of animal Valentines

Download FREE animal valentines to print at home

February 1, 2018

Why go to the store and buy pre-made Valentines that everyone will have for this year’s February 14 classroom party? Instead, download our free animal ambassador Valentines, print them on cardstock at home, cut them out and you have unique Valentines for the whole class. CLICK HERE FOR PDF DOWNLOADS…

Photo of a mason bee covered in pollen

Neonicotinoids and bees: A summary of studies done

January 31, 2018

You have probably heard the long name neonicotinoids when the topic of struggling bee populations has come up. But what exactly are these chemicals, and what do they have to do with bees? This is a topic that is long, in-depth and still being studied, but we will do our…

Photo of a barn owl

10 animals that you didn’t know mated for life

January 30, 2018

We often get the question, “Do ospreys mate for life?” The answer isn’t quite clear. In general, yes, they do. However, they aren’t above choosing a new mate if theirs is not longer able to reproduce or is sick or injured. Like humans are considered monogamous but sometimes change partners,…

Photo of a giant snowflake on a door

Giant three-dimensional paper snowflake

January 30, 2018

What’s more fun than making a paper snowflake? Making it three-dimensional and giant! We all made paper snowflakes as kids, folding and cutting sheets of paper and then unfolding them to see what design your snowflake came out to be. While researching snowflakes for a blog post, I stumbled upon a…

Photo of dinosaur toy in cloud dough

Easy snow dough recipe for hours of fun

January 22, 2018

I will admit that my craft ideas don’t always turn out the way that I plan them. This craft was supposed to be called “snow dough,” but because I bought unbleached flour instead of bleached flour, it looks more like sand. I thought I might just play it off and…

Graphic that says Did you know? One cubic foot of snow can contain 1 billion crystals.

Are snowflakes all unique?

January 22, 2018

We’re in the middle of a blizzard in northwest Iowa. Look outside, and the white stuff looks like a blanket, like it’s all just one mass. But it’s not. In each cubic foot — that’s a box that is 1 foot on each side — there could be as many…

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