Photo of a gray fox

Nine adorable Iowa mammals

June 27, 2018

Mammals are usually the creatures that garner oohs and aahs when people see them on hikes, in their yards or even in zoos and conservation centers. They’re usually furry and cuddly with adorable eyes. (Some are ugly though — read about them here) Iowa has 57 different common mammal species,…

Photo of a woman with a nature bracelet on

Wearable nature bracelet

June 26, 2018

So many kids love to bring home trinkets, whether they are visiting a museum, a mall or a park. But moms often discourage bringing home more stuff that will just lie around. However, we have a fun solution for picking up tiny items on your next walk, and this way…

Graphic about crepuscular animals

Not nocturnal, crepuscular!

June 26, 2018

I remember when I first heard the word. Our environmental education coordinator was talking about nocturnal animals, and then stated that skunks aren’t always nocturnal but can also be crepuscular. “What?” Yes. Crepuscular. Cre-puss-cue-ler. It means simply that an animal is active at dawn and dusk. It’s not quite diurnal…

Photo of suncatcher in the window

Floral sun catcher brings summer indoors

June 11, 2018

Summer is about sun, green grasses and leaves, brightly-colored flower blooms. This sun catcher craft takes all of summer and puts it in one simple piece. To make your own sun catcher, you’ll need: Two self-adhesive laminating sheets Flowers and leaves Scissors Twine First, make sure to use self-adhesive laminating…

Graphic that says cardamom, cashews, cherries, chocolate, coconuts, coffee, coriander, cranberries

Foods we wouldn’t have without pollinators

June 11, 2018

What if you couldn’t have any almonds or cashews in that nut mix you love to snack on? What if you couldn’t eat sesame chicken because sesame didn’t exist anymore? What if bananas, blueberries and tomatoes weren’t on the shelves anymore? One in three bites of food that we take…

Photo of Randall Cass

Entomologist answers all your bee questions

June 8, 2018

“People don’t seem to know very much about native species of bees. They think honeybees are native, that all bees produce honey, that all bees live in hives.” Randall Cass, Iowa State University Extension entomologist for honeybees and native bees, will help overcome some common misunderstandings like these about bees…

Photo of people hiking

Hike the Wild tours glacial landmarks

June 8, 2018

In the past, Dickinson County Conservation’s glacial landmark tour has only been open to students as a field trip. However, beginning in June, naturalists will take members of the public on monthly visits to glacial landmarks during Hike the Wild. “We enjoy doing our glacial landmark tour with our students,…

Photo of prairie smoke

Five plants to start your pollinator garden

June 6, 2018

You’ve learned that pollinator populations are dwindling and that you can help by planting native species in your garden to provide habitat and food sources. But what do you plant? It can be overwhelming to look at all the options of native flowers that you can put in your garden.…

Photo of a robber fly on dotted gayfeather

Six pollinators that aren’t bees or butterflies

June 6, 2018

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about native bees, honeybees, butterflies and moths — but did you know that there are plenty of other types of pollinators out there? Hummingbirds Hummingbirds love flowers that are tubular, brightly colored, open during the day and have prolific nectar hidden deeply within.…

Photo of a rusty-patched bumblebee

Without buzz pollination, we wouldn’t have blueberries

June 4, 2018

Most of the time bees can access pollen pretty easily on the anther of a flower, like in the video above; it is passively released by the flower and coats the hairs of pollinators that come to the flower to drink its nectar and gather its pollen. However, about eight…

Photo of the completed puppet

Make a toad hand puppet

June 4, 2018

Since we talked today about five facts that will make you love toads (read the blog post here), we decided to make a toad-themed craft. If you look up toad crafts, there are not a lot out there! Like we mentioned in the blog post, toads tend to get overlooked…

Photo of Al the toad

Five facts that will make you like toads

June 4, 2018

Because frogs are brightly colored, they tend to be looked on with more awe than toads. However, American toads have some pretty neat attributes when you get to know them. Come check out Al the American toad at the Dickinson County Nature Center and see how interesting he is in…

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