How do monarch butterflies find their way south?

September 20, 2017

Those wonderful orange-and-black butterflies that we love so much. They fly overhead this time of year, and we know they are headed to their overwintering sites outside of Mexico City. But how do they get there? Plenty of studies have been done throughout the years to try to figure out…

Photo of the interior of a country school

Rainy days call for indoor activities like the schoolhouse

August 16, 2017

While I was taking a shift at the Westport Schoolhouse yesterday in Kenue Park, two families with young children came in. “OK, you be the teacher,” the kids said to their dad. “Good morning class,” the dad started. “Today is Tuesday, Aug. 15. We’re going to learn how many days…

Photo of an osprey chick flapping its wings

Osprey Diary: Trying out his wings

July 12, 2017

They grow up so fast. One day you’re using your wings to make sure no cool breeze touches your tiny chicks, and the next they don’t fit underneath you. One moment they’re the size of an egg, and the next their wings stretch out as far as yours. One second…

Teaching our children to appreciate nature

July 5, 2017

It breaks my heart. Someone intentionally ran over two young raccoons a few blocks from my house. Kids at a day care were encouraged to throw rocks at a snake and hit a bat with foam bats. I heard both of these stories within the past day, and they just…

Photo of prairie clay

Dig a little deeper, paint a little browner

June 28, 2017

I (Kiley) know I made this exhibit at the Dickinson County Nature Center, but this might be the most boring thing I’ve ever written. Thirty-six inches down in our soil, you will find loam which is characterized by common, fine, distinct brownish yellow mottles, a weak fine prismatic structure…yikes. It…

Photo of osprey in a nest

Osprey Diary: Transition time

June 7, 2017

I was sitting on the nest like any other day when I felt it. Tap, tap, tap. A soft rhythm was coming from inside one of my brown speckled eggs. Tap, tap, tap. It was time. I had done my job and the babies were ready to break out of…

Photo of the Little Sioux River

Take a walk through Jahn Wildlife Area

May 31, 2017

I laced up my new gray and teal hiking boots, hoping to start breaking them in on my first trek to the Jahn Wildlife Area just south of Lake Park. Although the Dickinson County Conservation Board maintains the area in an agreement with the engineer’s office, I have only been…

Mason bees might be better pollinators than honeybees!

May 24, 2017

If you didn’t have bad luck, you wouldn’t have any luck at all. Someone posted this about our osprey nest camera blowing down again this year. We feel kind of the same way. This poor camera has been blown down, hasn’t had enough sun, and when the camera did work…

Photo of bee larva in a hive

See the larva inside the indoor bee hive

May 17, 2017

  When looking at the indoor honeybee hive at the Dickinson County Nature Center, take a step back and look from different angles. The honeycomb is shiny with lots of nectar that the forager bees have begun to bring in this spring, most likely from the plethora of dandelions that…

Osprey Diary: Guess our hatching date

May 10, 2017

This stick doesn’t go here. It goes here. Moves small stick two inches. And this grass would be better over here. Moves two inches. I have an itch. Swivels head to scratch back. I’m so bored. There’s not much for me to do at this point in our family-making. My…

Photo of an osprey sitting on the nest

Osprey Diary: Koi fish make blustery days taste sweeter

April 26, 2017

It’s so cold. I’ve overheard the crazy birds that live here in Kenue Park year-round call us that fly south for the winter snowbirds. In reality, I think that they’re the snowbirds. They actually live here when it gets below freezing and the snow flies. I’ve only seen snow a few…

Photo of two osprey in their nest

Osprey Diary: We’re back!

April 18, 2017

Blue skies. Warm temperatures. Fresh fish. It was a beautiful winter down south, and it was rejuvenating. I’m a bit of a loner in the off-season, and I needed some time away from my husband after our tragic loss of our chicks last year. I needed some mental recuperation, and…

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