General Information

Share your nature collection with nature center visitors

Photo of pink rock

Insects from around the world, antique steel traps, items found on the bottom of West Lake Okoboji — local residents have been able to show off some of their amazing nature-related collections at the Dickinson County Nature Center. (Read about a high schooler’s insect collection.) For the past four years, the Henry & Norma Meyer…

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Get free stuff at the Dickinson Recycling Center Swap Shop

Photo of manager Charles Vigdal

It’s all free, folks. Latex and acrylic paint, drain cleaner, weed control products, insect repellent — the Dickinson Recycling Center swap shop has a variety of household products that county residents can have for free. People may bring in household hazardous chemicals to the Milford collection center and dispose of them for no charge, from…

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Help fund family fun at Pollinator Paradise

Photo of stonework completed on construction project

We love pollinators at the Dickinson County Nature Center. And we want to share that love with you. That’s why the Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County is continuing to raise funds to complete the new Pollinator Paradise addition to the nature center in Okoboji. (See construction updates here.) Construction began on the $1.7 million addition…

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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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How do monarch butterflies find their way south?

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 how a brain the size…

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Free family fun at the Bee & Butterfly Festival

Photo of a little girl holding a monarch

The live monarch tagging is always a hit at the annual Bee & Butterfly Festival at the Dickinson County Nature Center, and this year’s festival will feature live animals as well. The Great Plains Zoomobile from Sioux Falls, SD, will bring four live animals for a featured presentation during the Friday, Sept. 1, festival. “Adapted…

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Fall photography contest announced

Photograph of a downy woodpecker in a tree

A broken ice trail, a downy woodpecker poking its head out of a hole, a macro shot of tree bark — these three photographs were the winners of the spring photography contest at the Dickinson County Nature Center. “There is so much in nature to be in awe of, and photographers are all inspired by…

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Native Plantings workshop heads to Lakes Area Farmers Market

Photo of orange butterfly milkweed plant

  Butterfly milkweed, wild bergamot, royal catchfly, wild white indigo, hoary vervain — the number of native plants in the prairie might seem overwhelming. However, the Native Plantings workshop put on by Dickinson County Conservation 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, at the Lakes Area Farmers Market in Spirit Lake will help make people a little…

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