Photo of a baby hedgehog

Many people ask if the hedgehog animal ambassador at the Dickinson County Nature Center is related to a porcupine. However, hedgehogs and porcupines aren’t actually related at all. There are 17 different species of hedgehogs, and their closest relations are actually shrews and moles. There are more than two dozen species of porcupines in the…

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Photo of a baby hedgehog

Babies lose baby teeth, and so do baby animals — including baby hedgehogs, like the nature center’s animal ambassador Luna. However, hedgehogs also lose something else as they grow — their quills! Baby hedgehogs are born with spines, but at that time their skin is swollen and covers their spines so that they do not…

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Photo of a snowy owl

The world outside is white, and some animals have also changed color for the season. The first Family Nature Night of 2020 will discuss these changes with its Winter Camouflage theme for the program 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji. Environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman said the program…

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Even without the tufts of the great horned owl, barred owls (Strix varia) still have that classic owl shape and are easily diagnosed as owls from far away. Their haunting black eyes make them a beautiful addition to the owls of Iowa series. Who cooks for you? The barred owl has one of the most…

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Photo of white-tail deer

Humans often hole themselves up in their houses to survive the winter in front of the fire with hot chocolate. However, animals have to survive the frigid chill outside in the elements, and they have different ways of dealing with the change in seasons. Let’s take a quick look at how these Iowa animals survive.…

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Photo of child putting item on felt board

Nature stories, live animals, outdoor play — Nature Tots is a hit program at the Dickinson County Nature Center that will return Jan. 8 for the 2020 season. “I think this program has been so well attended because it offers activities families can do together,” said Bryanna Kuhlman, environmental education coordinator. “It also gives families…

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Photo of a barn owl's face

  We’ve talked about the large great horned owl, tiny northern saw-whet owl and adorable eastern screech owl, so this week we moved on to the state endangered barn owl. Barn owls are not federally endangered but their populations are low in Iowa. That could be because of habitat loss and prey loss because of…

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Photo of an egg carton snowman

It’s a winter wonderland in Iowa, so we’re celebrating with a recycled snowman craft. Instead of tossing out your empty egg cartons, keep them around for fun crafts on an afternoon when the winter weather is pressing you in. (Check out instructions for an egg carton butterfly here). To make a snowman, you’ll need: -An…

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Photo of white-tail deer

When walking through deep snow, it’s always easier when someone else leads. That person gets tired breaking the trail, but everyone who walks in his or her footsteps has an easier time of it. That is one reason that deer congregate during the winter. When they all use the same network of trails through the…

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Photo of naturalists reading a story

A new monthly program begins Jan. 4 at the Dickinson County Nature Center. Storytime with a Naturalist premieres at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, at the nature center in Okoboji, part of the 2020 program lineup. “Since we’re open on Saturdays now, I thought it would be fun for families with children in school to…

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