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Winter weather predictions for northwest Iowa

We all want to know what’s going to happen each winter, and it’s always a topic of conversation as fall crawls toward its colder companion season. So what are the professionals actually saying? Temperatures In general, without an El Nino or La Nina weather pattern, it looks to be a moderate winter. The National Oceanic…

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Fall leaf color guide

Fall is a beautiful time to take a drive to look at all of the beautiful trees changing color. Leaves begin to change color because of the lack of chlorophyll that is present in the spring and summer, revealing the other colors in the leaves that is present beneath the green. The colors present in…

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10 bee questions answered

Photo of a bumblebee gathering pollen

1. How long does a honeybee live? How long does a queen live? A worker bee typically lives six weeks during the summer, and during that time it has a variety of different jobs — nurse, undertaker, architect, cleaner, attendant, guard, forager. (Read more about worker bee jobs here.) However, worker bees that live in…

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The amazing blue orchard mason bee

Photo of a blue orchard mason bee

Do you love fruit? Then you love the blue orchard mason bee. Blue orchard mason bees (Osmia lignaria) are part of a family of bees that are solitary — meaning they live and breed individually instead of socially in a hive, like honeybees — and use clay to make partitions to their nests and to…

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Birds change feathers like people change clothes

Photo of a bald blue jay

You may have noticed that as the seasons change, birds begin to look different. What was a bright eastern goldfinch in the spring becomes a duller hue in the winter. A duck that had vibrant breeding feathers earlier in the year now looks a little drab. That is because birds molt. Their feathers wear out…

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22 flowers, grasses, trees and shrubs for pollinators

Photo of false indigo

If you love pollinators as much as we do, you’re always looking for plants to add to your landscaping that can help provide habitat and food sources. Our pollinator populations are dwindling, and it’s up to us to bring them back. You can truly make a difference even with small pollinator plots at your own…

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Some insects use a proboscis to drink

Photo of milkweed beetle in exhibit

In the Build a Pollinator exhibit inside Pollinator Paradise at the Dickinson County Nature Center, one item that you get to put on your pollinator is a proboscis. Many insects have a proboscis, which is a type of mouthpart that is basically a tube to help the insect suck up nectar. You might have seen…

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Put a ring on it: All giant planets in our solar system have them

Illustration of Saturn

Most people think that only Saturn has rings. Some know that Uranus too, even though they often aren’t drawn in illustrations, has rings. However, they aren’t the only ones. Jupiter and Neptune also have rings. Even some moons, like Saturn’s moon Rhea, and asteroids can have rings. Let’s take a look at rings that exist…

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7 reasons why the IRVM program is important to Dickinson County

Photo of prairie in bloom

Iowa was one of the first states to establish an Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management program. Since its inception in the 1970s, more than 50,000 acres of federal, state, county and city roadsides have been planted to native grasses and wildflowers. (Read about the state program here.) Dickinson County began its IRVM program in 2015, and…

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Monarchs and tachinid flies

Photo of tachinid fly pupae

A monarch butterfly chrysalis is usually a brilliant color spotted with golden dots. However, sometimes something goes wrong — and one day, we spotted a chrysalis that was beginning to turn brown. At the bottom of the container that the chrysalis was in inside of our monarch enclosure in Pollinator Paradise were three brown, egg-shaped…

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