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Osprey Diary: Guess our hatching date

This stick doesn’t go here. It goes here. Moves small stick two inches. And this grass would be better over here. Moves two inches. I have an itch. Swivels head to scratch back. I’m so bored. There’s not much for me to do at this point in our family-making. My husband keeps telling me my…

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Instead of Legos, try natural building blocks!

Photo of stacked rocks

When hiking along a rocky trail on vacation, how do you try to remember the experience? Do you pull out your phone and take pictures? Do you take a deep breath, close your eyes and seal the moment in your mind without any physical evidence? Do you write about it in your journal? Laura Winter…

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Osprey Diary: Koi fish make blustery days taste sweeter

Photo of an osprey sitting on the nest

It’s so cold. I’ve overheard the crazy birds that live here in Kenue Park year-round call us that fly south for the winter snowbirds. In reality, I think that they’re the snowbirds. They actually live here when it gets below freezing and the snow flies. I’ve only seen snow a few times when it has flurried…

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Osprey Diary: We’re back!

Photo of two osprey in their nest

Blue skies. Warm temperatures. Fresh fish. It was a beautiful winter down south, and it was rejuvenating. I’m a bit of a loner in the off-season, and I needed some time away from my husband after our tragic loss of our chicks last year. I needed some mental recuperation, and the gorgeous winter provided me…

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Welcome environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman

Photo of Bryanna Kuhlman

“We were messy little critters.” Environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman’s memories of her childhood spent outdoors in Menomonie, WI, have shaped her into who she is today. “We had forts in trees; we would catch frogs in retention ponds,” Kuhlman said. “I had my red bucket full of worms.” She and her sister would race…

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Iowa Great Lakes migration is on!

Photo of birds at feeder

Pasque flowers blooming, frogs croaking, songbirds singing — signs of spring are all around us. It’s pretty obvious when waterfowl start to migrate throughout the Iowa Great Lakes area as our lakes, sloughs and wetlands are jam-packed with common migrants such as bufflehead, the common merganser and the greater white-fronted goose. On the shores you might…

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How deep do they go?

Photo of butterfly milkweed root drawing

Did you know that butterfly milkweed’s roots grow up to 12 feet deep, about the height of an African elephant? We look at prairie plants and can hardly imagine the amazing root systems that are growing beneath our feet. Those roots help to draw water down into the watershed, which cleans it before it enters…

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A hidden gem of an exhibit at the nature center

Photo of butterflies in the Wallace exhibit

The Iowa Great Lakes area has many antique stores, consignment shops, secondhand retailers. We go inside looking for discounts on needed items or the thrilling hunt for something we didn’t know we needed. Okoboji native Bob Heggestad was on a hunt in Arlington, VA, in the late 1970s when he spotted a beautiful rosewood cabinet.…

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It’s time to think about spring planting

Photo of a honeybee on a flower

Bring back the bees. Bring back the butterflies. With pollinator populations dropping drastically in recent years, the push to bring them back has spread. But how do we do that? One of the best ways is to plant native flowers and grasses in our landscaping, providing pollinator habitat and food sources. Native plantings also offer…

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Five bee myths and truths

Photo of a bee finger puppet

Myth: Bees are mean. Truth: Bee are nice. Honeybees only sting as a last resort, because they die after stinging. That means, unless they feel threatened or think you are going to hurt the hive, they will leave you alone. Myth: Bees will keep stinging you. Truth: As stated above, honeybees will die after stinging…

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