Make your own duck mask from a paper plate

Photo of a duck mask craft

As ducks and geese starting migrating through the Iowa Great Lakes area this spring, it’s only appropriate that we feature a waterfowl mask as a craft. (Read “Seven Waterfowl to Look for During Migration.”) I’ll admit I took some creative liberties with the duck coloring in my own duck mask, so when choosing colors feel…

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Seven waterfowl to look for during migration

Photo of a hooded merganser

The Iowa Great Lakes and the smaller lakes and wetlands in the area are starting to melt. That means that birds that flew south to warmer areas for the winter are now flying back north to their summer breeding grounds. Waterfowl are definitely on the move this month, and it’s fun to see the birds…

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Fold a simple origami fish

Photo of origami fish being folded

Origami is one of those crafts that you just feel accomplished when it’s completed. It’s a skill that you can share and show off, and this origami fish is a simple design that even children can do. (Fold a leaping origami frog.) First, take a square sheet of paper — whether it’s origami paper or…

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Schnoodle the prairie skink has lost her tail

Photo of a prairie skink missing its tail

Prairie skinks (Plestiodon septentrionalis) are common in Iowa, but you may never have seen one before. They are so tiny, that they blend in extremely well with their prairie surroundings. Prairie skinks range from 5-8 inches in length typically. The new animal ambassador at the Dickinson County Nature Center, named Schnoodle, however, is about 3.5…

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Five facts you probably didn’t know about painted turtles

Photo of a painted turtle

Annie and Jeff loved the Dickinson County Nature Center. But they’re not visitors. They don’t even work here. Actually, they live here! That’s because, even though they have human-like names, Annie and Jeff are the nature center’s painted turtles (Chrysemys picta.) Everyone loves checking out our painted turtles, so here are some fun facts about…

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Decorative shell letters

Photo of a letter B covered in shells

Since we will be moving into the new storage space in the lower level of the Pollinator Paradise addition to the Dickinson County Nature Center soon, we decided to go through the current storage area to reorganize and get rid of unnecessary items. Some stuff is pretty obvious to throw away when you’re doing deep…

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Ssssomething totally awesssome: Create a sssnake wrist cuff

Photo of a snake cuff made from a toilet paper tube

Since this week’s blog post was about how snakes slither, I thought it only appropriate that this week’s craft also be snake related. I will pretty much guarantee that after you make this fun wrist cuff that your child will not take it off for the entire day. Or at least the next five minutes,…

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Creepy but cool: How snakes can move without legs

Photo of a corn snake

Besides their forked tongues, probably the main thing that creeps people out about snakes is their ability to move without legs or feet. (The reason a snake sticks out its tongue, and why it’s forked.) I have to say, before I started working at the Dickinson County Nature Center, back when I was still petrified…

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Turn yourself into a lady bug: Personalized rock craft

Photo of a rock lady bug with a photo head

Have you ever wanted to experience the world through the eyes of an insect? Imagine the viewpoint looking up through the grass, seeing the expansive world that exists right on the surface of the earth. Well, I can’t offer you that view, but I can help you turn yourself into a bug — at least…

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