Photo of a pink piggy bank made from a water bottle

Recycled nature craft ideas

April 29, 2019

During the April Family Nature Night, we challenged families to get creative using items that we would often toss into the garbage or the recycling bin. Empty plastic water bottles, scrap metal, cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes, wine corks — these items look useless, but they can actually be turned…

Photo of snake sticking out its tongue

Itsy Bitsy isn’t itsy bitsy: Western fox snake fun facts

April 29, 2019

A herpetologist — someone who studies reptiles and amphibians — came to the Dickinson County Nature Center and asked how old Itsy Bitsy, the western fox snake, was. At that point, we estimated she was about 22 years old. He pulled his head back in surprise. While we realized that…

People looking through binoculars

Birding on the Green begins in May

April 26, 2019

Brooks Golf is the perfect place to get out and enjoy nature, and it goes beyond just golf. Dickinson County Conservation also hosts its monthly Birding on Green series on the public course each summer. “People are intrigued by Birding on the Green because they don’t always view a golf…

Photo of a male and female purple martin

Purple martins are the largest swallow in the U.S.

April 24, 2019

A colony of white, gourd-like houses hang on a large pole outside of the Dickinson County Nature Center. Around them flies dozens of gliding, floating, flitting dark birds — purple martins. Local birder and owner of Bird Haven in Spirit Lake Wendell Hansen has cared for the purple martins for…

Photo of folded paper fish

Here fishy fish: Fish paper craft

April 22, 2019

Since we’ve been enjoying the Okoboji osprey coming back to Kenue Park (read the beginning of their diary series here), we thought it most appropriate to have a fish craft. Osprey absolutely love fish; in fact, it makes up about 99 percent of their diet, and they are truly created…

Photo of osprey on nest

Osprey Diary: Loving Okoboji

April 22, 2019

Iowa is a wonderful place for us to nest and raise our chicks each year. There is plenty of food. There is not too much competition for nesting sites. The temperatures are just right. Plus, there is plenty of nesting material. I was happy when I returned that last year’s…

Noxious weed policy announced for 2019

April 19, 2019

Dickinson County weed commissioner Aric Ping has released the 2019 noxious weed policy. “Each owner and each person in the possession or control of any lands in Dickinson County shall cut, burn or otherwise control all noxious weeds thereon,” the policy states, “and in such manner shall prevent said weeds…

Photo of compost being sifted

Free compost and mulch at the Dickinson Recycling Center

April 19, 2019

Everyone loves superfoods, and compost is like a superfood for your garden. Food scraps and yard waste together make up about 30 percent of what we throw away, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and instead they can be composted. Composting leaves and grass clippings is exactly what the Dickinson…

Photo of a great egret

Egret, crane or heron? How to tell which bird you have seen

April 16, 2019

Two big white birds — rehabilitated trumpeter swans — live on the Kenue Park wetland, but last week we also spotted three more white birds. Egrets? Cranes? Herons? We were trying to figure out what they were but we couldn’t see their necks, because it was breezy and they had…

Osprey maze

April 15, 2019

Osprey are unique raptors that are built to eat fish, in fact, it’s 99 percent of their diet. Click on the image below for a free printable osprey maze activity that you can challenge yourself with at home. Read more about osprey at these links: WATCH: Osprey lifespan Seven differences…

Photo of an osprey eating a koi fish

Osprey Diary: Home sweet home

April 15, 2019

I know that we’re not the only ones who leave the Iowa Great Lakes area for the winter. There are ducks, geese, songbirds, swans and even people that take off when the weather gets colder for areas that are warmer and where food is easy to come by. Last year…

Spring photography contest winners announced

April 10, 2019

Adult winner – Donald Vrchota Teen winner – Anna Rose Youth winner – Cy Enriquez Scroll through all submissions The bi-annual photography contest has submission deadlines of April 1 and Sept. 1. Entries are classified into three age groups: 13 and younger, 14-18 or 19 and older. Winners in each…

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