Kids

Here fishy fish: Fish paper craft

Photo of folded paper fish

Since we’ve been enjoying the Okoboji osprey coming back to Kenue Park (read the beginning of their diary series here), we thought it most appropriate to have a fish craft. Osprey absolutely love fish; in fact, it makes up about 99 percent of their diet, and they are truly created to fish. This is a…

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Osprey Diary: Loving Okoboji

Photo of osprey on nest

Iowa is a wonderful place for us to nest and raise our chicks each year. There is plenty of food. There is not too much competition for nesting sites. The temperatures are just right. Plus, there is plenty of nesting material. I was happy when I returned that last year’s nesting platform hadn’t been taken…

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Osprey maze

Osprey are unique raptors that are built to eat fish, in fact, it’s 99 percent of their diet. Click on the image below for a free printable osprey maze activity that you can challenge yourself with at home. Read more about osprey at these links: WATCH: Osprey lifespan Seven differences between osprey and bald eagles…

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Osprey Diary: Home sweet home

Photo of an osprey eating a koi fish

I know that we’re not the only ones who leave the Iowa Great Lakes area for the winter. There are ducks, geese, songbirds, swans and even people that take off when the weather gets colder for areas that are warmer and where food is easy to come by. Last year was a weird year. My…

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Coffee filter fox face

Photo of a completed fox face

Crafts are fun, but sometimes they are expensive. You have to go buy Popsicle sticks, googly eyes, tissue paper, balloons or string. Sometimes, supply purchases really add up. But this craft is simple, and you probably already have all the supplies right at home to make an adorable fox face. All you’ll need is: Two…

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Muskrats are agile swimmers

Photo of a muskrat in the water

Looking at a wetland in the Iowa Great Lakes, you might see ripples coming from a moving little dot. Muskrats are adorable creatures that can glide through the water because of their dense fur that traps air for insulation and buoyancy, and they are very active this time of year. Let’s take a look at…

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Iowa’s state symbols

Photo of a wild rose

Peering out the window of the Dickinson County Nature Center, I can see birds at the feeders in the avian courtyard. One of them is a brilliant yellow color with black wings, and it is right at home here. That’s because the American goldfinch is the state bird of Iowa. Did you know that Iowa…

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Printable spring scavenger hunt

It’s officially spring, and that means that I officially want to get outside. I can’t always get outside, because sometimes the computer ropes me in to work, but I am thankful that I have a job that I get outside more than most. If you’re looking for something to do with the kiddos when you…

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Make your own lava lamp

Sometimes we move away from nature-specific principles and teach more general science principles during Dickinson County Nature Center programs. We use science experiments in many of our programs to teach about natural reactions and to help kids learn to hypothesize and test out their theories. (Learn about permeable skin through an experiment in this video)…

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Five Iowa predators

Photo of a coyote

As Iowa was settled, its landscape and demographics changed, and that meant that its wildlife changed as well. Many species, such as deer, turkeys, trumpeter swans and bobcats were extirpated or close to extirpation. However, increasingly positive conservation attitudes has helped to bring back many species. Here are some of the predators that reign in…

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