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Osprey fly south in the winter to whereabouts unknown

Photo of a female osprey with chicks

The Okoboji osprey pair and their three grown chicks are gone for the season, last spotted about the second week of September before heading south. But where exactly are they going? And why do they leave? Where are they going? We’re not exactly sure. Although the osprey male that has habited the Dickinson County Nature Center…

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Looks like a baby tomato, smells like a tomato, not a tomato

Photo of a nightshade plant

We received a Facebook message the other day with a question about a plant with a tiny green berry that smelled like a tomato and looked like a tomato when it was cut open. But don’t eat it. It’s not a tomato. Black nightshade (Solanum ptycanthum) is in the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes…

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The nocturnal animals of Iowa

Graphic with nocturnal animals

“Where is the hedgehog?” or “What is in the cage below the salamanders?” These are two questions we often get at the Dickinson County Nature Center, because what is in the cage below the salamanders in our lower level is an African pygmy hedgehog named Honey. And Honey is usually buried beneath one of her…

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Welcome naturalist Ashley Hansen

Photo of Ashley Hansen

When Ashley Hansen was an environmental conservation volunteer with the Peace Corps in Santo Domingo, Paraguay, she came across a little kitten with big ears. She adopted the cat and named her Nambi, which in the local native language of Guaraní in her village in Paraguay means “ear.” Even utilizing that bit of the tribal…

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How do monarch butterflies find their way south?

Those wonderful orange-and-black butterflies that we love so much. They fly overhead this time of year, and we know they are headed to their overwintering sites outside of Mexico City. But how do they get there? Plenty of studies have been done throughout the years to try to figure out how a brain the size…

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Hike the Wild continues this fall

Photo of a forested stream

The next Hike the Wild programs with the Dickinson County Conservation Board take people to sites outside of the county. “It’s just good to explore new places,” said environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman. Experience Fort Defiance State Park in the fall during the next hike Tuesday, Sept. 26. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Dickinson…

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Serial winner Alex Miles take home top slot again

Photo of the solar eclipse in the clouds

I made hashmarks for each photo — with photographers anonymous — that our staff voted for in the fall photography contest at the Dickinson County Nature Center. Five hashmarks for his or her No. 1 pick, four for the No. 2 pick, three for No. 3 and so on. When the votes were in, I double…

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Nature Tots continues this fall

Photo of a girl petting a snake

From Icky Animals to Nature’s Blessings, this fall’s Nature Tots programs at the Dickinson County Nature Center will be full of fun. “Nature Tots for the next couple of months will be related to the upcoming seasons and holidays,” said environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman. The program for ages 2-5 is held the second Wednesday…

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Family Glow Walk/Run to light up the night

Photo of a glowstick ball

Families are glowing to have a good time during the premier Family Glow Walk/Run this October. The Bedell Family YMCA, Dickinson County Nature Center and Pearson Lakes Art Center have partnered to put together this fun family event 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. “The sun will set, and the fun will begin,” said Kiley Roth,…

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