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Pollinator populations are dwindling worldwide

Photo of a bat covered in pollen

The pollinator world goes far beyond bees and butterflies to include mammals, birds and even reptiles. Learn about a variety of worldwide pollinators during the next program in the Pollinator Spring Lecture Series 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji. “We’re going to take a trip around the world…

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Tissue paper snow painting

When you live in northwest Iowa, you’re going to have snow during the winter. There might not be snow all the time; there might not be deep snow; but you’re going to have snow. This is a fun craft to do because it starts out using snow, but you don’t have to try to preserve…

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10 animal courtship behaviors

1. Prairie voles Prairie voles are almost the epitome of a happy, healthy animal relationship. The creatures, about the size of a hamster, only live one-two years, but they are monogamous during that time. Once they meet a member of the opposite sex, pheromones help them to ready for mating. After mating, they show love…

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Fun characters coming to Family Nature Nights in February and March

Photo of kids playing with slime

A crazy cast of characters will visit the Dickinson County Nature Center for Family Nature Nights in February and March. Flik, Hopper, Atta, Dot and their friends will be on hand 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, as “A Bug’s Life” is shown inside Pollinator Paradise. “It’s a good place to sprawl out and enjoy a…

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Whose scat is that?

Graphic that says whose scat is that?

Scat is a word used for animal droppings, feces or poop, specifically for carnivorous wild animal droppings. Feces for different creatures actually has different names: Bats and seabirds: Guano Caterpillars and other herbivorous insects: Frass Cows: Tath Deer: Fewmets Otters: Spraints Worms: Castings Fossilized dung: Coprolite Feces used as fertilizer: Manure We sculpted scat for…

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Create your own activity trail

Kids area floor

With the polar vortex bringing record-breaking windchills to the Midwest last week, a lot of families with young ones were stuck indoors. I heard from one mom that her family didn’t go anywhere for five days. I got a video from my sister-in-law of her three daughters running in circles around the house. Kids have…

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Iowa Winter Birds: Purple finch

Photo of a purple finch

Although purple finches have a non-breeding range throughout the eastern half of the U.S., they may be more of an irregular visitor to your feeder. Part of that could be due to competition with its look-alike, the house finch. (Learn how to tell them apart here) The house finch is native to the western U.S.…

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Iowa Winter Birds: American Tree Sparrow

Photo of an american tree sparrow

The American tree sparrow’s name is really misleading. European settlers named it the American tree sparrow because the chubby bird with a rust-colored cap and eyeline reminded them of the Eurasian tree sparrow, but Spizelloides arborea isn’t just American. It does spend its nonbreeding winter seasons in the U.S. and southern Canada, but it head…

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Free printable Valentine’s Day cards

The kids need Valentine’s Day cards for their class parties, and you don’t want to spend any more money on the holiday so what do you do? Download our free Valentine’s Day cards at home! You can find the 2018 design here or click on the photo below to download the 2019 designs. Just remember…

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Bird seed ornaments

Photo of finished bird seed ornament

Everyone loves to feed the birds in winter. (Learn about one of Iowa’s winter birds: Dark-eyed junco) It helps the birds that are scavenging for food. It lets you get close to watch these fun, feathered friends. Bird watching is a good hobby to do from the warmth of your house on chilly days. You…

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