mobile

Purple martins are the largest swallow in the U.S.

Photo of a male and female purple martin

A colony of white, gourd-like houses hang on a large pole outside of the Dickinson County Nature Center. Around them flies dozens of gliding, floating, flitting dark birds — purple martins. Local birder and owner of Bird Haven in Spirit Lake Wendell Hansen has cared for the purple martins for many years, and last June…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Noxious weed policy announced for 2019

Dickinson County weed commissioner Aric Ping has released the 2019 noxious weed policy. “Each owner and each person in the possession or control of any lands in Dickinson County shall cut, burn or otherwise control all noxious weeds thereon,” the policy states, “and in such manner shall prevent said weeds from blooming or coming to…

Read More

Free compost and mulch at the Dickinson Recycling Center

Photo of compost being sifted

Everyone loves superfoods, and compost is like a superfood for your garden. Food scraps and yard waste together make up about 30 percent of what we throw away, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and instead they can be composted. Composting leaves and grass clippings is exactly what the Dickinson Recycling Center in Milford does.…

Read More

Egret, crane or heron? How to tell which bird you have seen

Photo of a great egret

Two big white birds — rehabilitated trumpeter swans — live on the Kenue Park wetland, but last week we also spotted three more white birds. Egrets? Cranes? Herons? We were trying to figure out what they were but we couldn’t see their necks, because it was breezy and they had their heads hunkered down. However,…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Engaging families and the great outdoors during free Family Nature Nights

Photo of metal owls

Bringing together families and the outdoors — that’s what Family Nature Night at the Dickinson County Nature Center is all about. “My goal is to encourage families to go outdoors together and engage together,” said Bryanna Kuhlman, environmental education coordinator for the Dickinson County Conservation Board. “There’s no technology; they’re just outside enjoying nature or…

Read More

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…

Read More