Leaf Pigments

Leaf Pigments

Leaf Pigments Fall is arguably the best season, especially for the vibrant colors we see in leaves! What causes deciduous leaves to change color? As temperatures drop at night in September and October here in northern Iowa, deciduous trees (trees that lose leaves) decrease the amount of chlorophyll produced in their leaves. Eventually, production stops…

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Little Foote Forest: A Nature Lover’s Paradise

Little Foote Forest roadside

Little Foote Forest: A Nature Lover’s Paradise in Dickinson County, Iowa Nestled in the heart of Dickinson County lies Little Foote Forest, a stunning natural area that offers visitors an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This forest boasts an array of activities that cater to nature enthusiasts and adventure-seekers alike. Stepping…

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Prescribed Burning

Prescribed burning is a tool used by land managers to maintain and improve the health of grasslands and other natural areas. In Northwest Iowa, prescribed burning is typically conducted in the spring and fall. Spring burns are typically conducted in March or April when the weather is cooler and there is still some moisture in…

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Kenue Park: A Hidden Gem in Okoboji

swans on the pond

Kenue Park, a 70-acre park, is a hidden gem tucked away in Okoboji, Iowa, located at 22785 Nature Center Road, just a short mile heading west off highway 71. Established in 1986 by the Dickinson County Conservation Board, the park has expanded from its original 40 acres through land acquisitions. Over the years, the park…

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Creatures & Critters: Bearded Dragon Edition

bearded dragon held in hand

Meet Steve! Steve is a bearded dragon and is the Nature Center’s newest animal ambassador! Bearded dragons are native to Australia. Therefore, Steve is named after Steve Irwin, the Australian wildlife expert and environmentalist. Bearded dragons live in a variety of habitats including deserts and woodlands. The average size of a fully-grown bearded dragon is…

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Creatures & Critters: Rabbit Edition

Nature Center's Rabbit

Meet Bindi! Bindi is a mini rex rabbit. Mini rex rabbits are domesticated rabbits with a calm and friendly temperament. This means that they are bred to be pets. Mini rex rabbits only grow to be 4.5 pounds and they can be litter trained. Bindi is! The mini rex has a rounded back with short,…

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Creatures & Critters: Toads Edition

Nature Center's Toads

Meet Al and Wally! Al and Wally are the Nature Center’s Great Plains Toads. The great plains toad is covered in red and yellow wart-looking spots that actually contain glands that secrete poison. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt if you touch them! The poisonous milky fluid makes them taste bad to predators, and it is…

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Creatures & Critters: Snake Edition

close up of green and white snake

Meet Rosie, Courtney, and Olive, the Nature Center’s three snakes! Rosie is a corn snake and Courtney is an albino corn snake. The corn snake is slender with a length of 24 to 72 inches. They are usually orange or brownish-yellow, with large black-edged red blotches down the middle of the back. On the belly…

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Creatures & Critters: Hedgehog Edition

Nature Center's hedgehog

Meet Luna! Luna is our African Pygmy Hedgehog. They are native to Africa, Europe, and Asia, but not to Iowa. We got her from a breeder and she was born on October 24, 2019. A full grown hedgehog will grow to be between 6-11 inches long and weigh between 18025 ounces. A fun fact about…

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Creatures & Critters: Turtle Edition

turtle crawling on white background

Meet Ada, Darling, and Teddy! Ada and Darling are red-eared sliders and Teddy is a ornate box turtle. The Nature Center is home to these three turtles. Red-eared sliders are brightly marked and their carapace looks like a bowl turned upside down. The shell of a red-eared slider is divided into “scutes.” They look like…

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