Environmental Education

Fall bird migration through Iowa isn’t rushed

Photo of a hooded merganser duck

Sabine’s gulls are an Arctic species that typically migrate along the coasts or at sea, but one was spotted in Dickinson County in September. During the Sept. 30 Birdwatchers Anonymous birding trek, Lee Schoenewe and his group of birders found this rare species at a marsh just west of Little Swan Lake, which was quite…

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Welcome naturalist Ashley Hansen

Photo of Ashley Hansen

When Ashley Hansen was an environmental conservation volunteer with the Peace Corps in Santo Domingo, Paraguay, she came across a little kitten with big ears. She adopted the cat and named her Nambi, which in the local native language of Guaraní in her village in Paraguay means “ear.” Even utilizing that bit of the tribal…

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Introducing Pioneer Park Nature Preserve

Photo of Milford Creek

Blue flag iris, dickcissels, monarch butterflies — the Pioneer Park Nature Preserve will be a haven for flora, fauna and outdoorsmen in Dickinson County. The Dickinson County Conservation Board will tour its newest area, located just south of Milford along Highway 71, during its next Hike the Wild program Tuesday, May 23. Meet at the…

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Welcome environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman

Photo of Bryanna Kuhlman

“We were messy little critters.” Environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman’s memories of her childhood spent outdoors in Menomonie, WI, have shaped her into who she is today. “We had forts in trees; we would catch frogs in retention ponds,” Kuhlman said. “I had my red bucket full of worms.” She and her sister would race…

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Do bugs freak you out?

Photo of an earwig

“Bugs just freak people out.” Entomologist Emily Fontenot has seen this happen time and time again, people shuddering at the thought of insects, but that reaction is usually not warranted. And the way people deal with bugs is not always the best either. Instead of a spray-first mentality, Fontenot will give alternative solutions during a…

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Tips for birding in northwest Iowa

Photo of a house finch catching a worm

A flock of small gray birds appears in your yard, hopping around in the snow eating some seed that has spilled from your backyard bird feeders. Another red-headed bird sits on the feeder, pecking at the sunflower seeds inside. But do you know the names of the species that you see? Local birder Lee Schoenewe…

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Wildlife love Little Sioux Savanna and you should too

Photo of a river overlook in fall

  Walk into Little Sioux Savanna, a beautiful park just west of Milford, and take a seat on the mowed trail. Watch. Listen. Wait. A honeybee buzzes beside you as it gathers pollen in the prairie. A northern leopard frog jumps into the Little Sioux River just below where you’re seated. An eight-point buck and…

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Big Spirit Lake’s perfect south shore

Photo of shelter house by the lake

Only two years after the Dickinson County Conservation Board was established, it took on the care of a beautiful recreation area on the south side of Big Spirit Lake. The conservation board worked on an agreement with the State Conservation Commission for 25 years of management of Orleans Beach. The area east of the spillway…

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Westport Park: An Iowa Great Lakes gem

In June 1981, Dickinson County Conservation Board entered into a maintenance agreement to refresh an exhausted county gravel pit into a county park. It started as only six acres, so small it looks like only a dot on a map of the Iowa Great Lakes area. The original document included on a 10-year agreement, but…

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