Photo of a tundra swan

4 ways to tell apart swans and snow geese

April 9, 2018

It’s a big, white bird paddling on that body of water. But what exactly is it? Most likely, it’s a trumpeter swan if you’re in Iowa. The trumpeter swans is native to the state and is the biggest waterfowl native to the U.S., its wingspan reaching up to 8 feet…

Photo of pipe cleaner animals

Easy and inexpensive pipe cleaner animals

April 9, 2018

I was flipping through Pinterest last night when I saw some photos of amazing miniature animal creations and realized that they were all made out of pipe cleaners. That’s something we have a lot of in the craft supply area at the nature center, so I figured it would be…

Photo of a poster for Earth Day

Earth Day Celebration Trivia Night is family friendly

April 6, 2018

Do you know what the monarch butterfly’s host plant is? What about the 10 essentials for hiking? Put your outdoor knowledge to the test during the Earth Day Celebration Trivia Night 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji. “Through the years, we’ve celebrated Earth…

Photo of a white-lined sphinx moth

Common moths in Iowa

April 4, 2018

Moth balls. Moths flying out of old trunks in the attic. Moths escaping from bags of bird seed. Dusty, brown, uninteresting moths. The stereotypes about moths aren’t really true, because there are many moths in the world, and in Iowa, that are actually quite neat. Learn about a few that…

Photo of a bamboo bee home

Make your own bee hotel

April 2, 2018

You can help native bees by providing them a secure place to nest. What many call bee hotels or bee homes range from simple to deluxe designs. (Mason bees are amazing pollinators.) One way is to drill various-sized holes into a wooden block or tree cookie and hang it in…

Photo of a salamander

What is permeable skin? A video experiment

April 2, 2018

Amphibians have permeable skin, meaning they can absorb oxygen through their skin. However, it also means that chemicals and other harmful things from the environment can also be absorbed. Learn more about permeable and impermeable skin with this science experiment led by environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman. See more lessons…

Photo of a fish on a line

Getting distracted: Sue Boettcher’s love of nature shows in photography exhibit

March 30, 2018

On her hikes through the Kettleson Hogsback Complex north of Spirit Lake, photographer Sue Boettcher often gets distracted. “I go to Kettleson Hogsback a lot on hikes, and it’s a whole lot more about picture-taking than it is hiking,” the Spirit Lake resident said. “MapMyWalk talks to you, and I’ve…

Graph of monarch populations

2017-18 Monarch overwintering numbers released

March 28, 2018

Each winter, pollinator enthusiasts anxiously await monarch population numbers as eastern populations overwinter in the forests of Mexico. In early 2016, we were excited as monarch populations jumped from 1.13 hectares of land covered by overwintering monarchs to 4.01. It was the first rise in population for five years. But…

Photo of toilet paper roll bunnies

Adorable Easter bunny from toilet paper tubes

March 26, 2018

The family is coming over for Easter Sunday, and you need something adorable to spruce up the table. Plus, you need something to entertain the gaggle of children that will be running around. (Another idea: Fold a simple origami fish) That’s where this simple toilet paper tube bunny craft comes…

What fish is it?

March 26, 2018

8 Insects You Should Love

March 26, 2018


Photo of canvasback

Check waterfowl off your birding list during migration

March 23, 2018

Honks and quacks are filling the air as waterfowl begin to migrate through the Iowa Great Lakes area. Hooded mergansers, white-fronted geese, trumpeter swans — see how many species you can check off your list during the next Birdwatchers Anonymous birding trek 9 a.m. Saturday, March 31. (Seven waterfowl to…

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