mobile

Native bees: These bees plastic-wrap their brood cells

Photo of colletes validus

Do you love blueberries? Then you should love the genus Colletes of native bees! These are one of several types of native bees that collect pollen from both highbush and lowbush blueberry flowers. Colletes validus has an elongated, narrow head that helps it fit into the tight flower opening where it eats nectar and collects pollen that will be transferred…

Read More

Shake, wiggle and flop! Create a moving fish

Photo of floppy fish

Shake, wiggle and flop. These floppy fish are simple and a lot of fun for kids to make! You’ll just need a few supplies: Two pieces of colored paper Scissors Gluestick Markers Begin with the sheet of paper that you want to be the main color of your fish. Fold one corner in to the…

Read More

Fen, kame, esker — what do these glacial landmark words mean?

Photo of kids bouncing on a fen

Walking along the glacial landmark tour inside the entrance of the Dickinson County Nature Center, visitors can to experience replicas of many of the places created by the Des Moines Lobe of the Wisconsin Glacier when it was in the county about 12,000 years ago. From bouncing on a fen to climbing a miniature kame…

Read More

Weed commissioner announces noxious weed policy

Photo of a wild parsnip flower

It’s the time of year for home and land owners to take inventory of the plants on their properties. The Dickinson County Board of Supervisors approved the 2018 noxious weed policy for the county at its meeting Tuesday, May 8. “The state-listed noxious weeds are economic threats to agriculture and ecological threats to native plants…

Read More

Native bees: Mason bees are fantastic pollinators

Photo of a blue mason bee

Mason bees might be the best pollinators of all bees. Instead of wetting pollen and putting it in pollen sacs like honeybees, mason bees are covered in hair that collects pollen as they move around, searching for nectar. They can certainly carry a lot of pollen and significant pollinators for apple, cherry and plum trees. (Try…

Read More

Watch the Okoboji Osprey lifespan

From migrating north to reproduction and caring for chicks to migration south, the osprey lifespan is fascinating! Don’t forget to download the Okoboji Osprey Activity Book complete with word search, dot-to-dot and Migration Mad Libs. Click here to access the free activity book.

Read More

Kickstart Your Kayak with courses this summer

Photo of a kayaker on the lake

  The number of people with kayaks in the Iowa Great Lakes area has been exploding the past few years. “It’s good exercise; we have a lot of good water resources. Plus, it’s much more economical than a power boat,” said kayaker Mark Foss. “We have lots of areas that are more suitable for kayaking,…

Read More

Native bees: The true sweat bees

Photo of a hover fly on a zinnia

We’ve all been outside drinking a pop at a picnic, when these little black-and-yellow creatures start flitting around and trying to get into the drink. “Sweat bees,” someone will say, shaking his or her head. “They’re so annoying.” Learning about bees as we put together the bee identification spinner for the new Pollinator Paradise addition,…

Read More

Five ways to tell apart a chipmunk and a ground squirrel

Photo of a chipmunk

You see a little critter scurrying around the garden, its back striped dark brown and white. A chipmunk? A ground squirrel? The species often get confused, because they are about the same size — 8-11 inches and 5-9 ounces — and they both burrow. However, there are some key ways to tell these creatures apart.…

Read More

It’s a fish-eat-fish world! Clothespin craft instructions here!

Photo of a fish eating fish on a clothespin

It’s a fish-eat-fish world out there. OK, I know that’s not how the saying goes, but I think it applies in an area where lakes are the main attraction. Think about what’s going on beneath the surface of our lakes when we’re out boating, waterskiing and paddleboarding. Our fish are living the everyday lives, swimming…

Read More