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Color match trek in the Nature Playscape

Photo of paint samples by the sky

Yesterday, I stopped at the local hardware store and picked up a few paint chips to take into the Nature Playscape at the Dickinson County Nature Center. I thought I would play a little game and see what colors in nature I could match to my paint chips. The outdoor play area has so many…

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Make your own backyard birding binoculars

Photo of a goldfinch

Birding is such a popular hobby because everyone can do it. Whether you are backyard birding, taking a hike or even boating, you can always catalogue the birds that you see. The he Dickinson County Nature Center features nests of some of the most common birds you might see right outside your window. (Grackles, blackbirds…

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Turning that unhappy plate into compost instead of garbage

“I have a happy plate!” Our nieces are always pleased to announce when they clean their dinner plates, usually because it means some kind of treat — food or not — for them afterward. As a kid, having a happy plate is good. How often do adults end up with a happy plate though? How…

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Walks rock when you’re looking for rocks

Photo of rock collection

This week, Teddy the turtle heads to the Dickinson County Nature Center lower level to check out the geology exhibit. From Colorado to Texas, New York to Arkansas, volunteer Jerry Wiekamp traveled the United States, visiting mines and collecting geological specimens that are now on display at the Dickinson County Nature Center. The gold ore…

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Do bugs freak you out?

Photo of an earwig

“Bugs just freak people out.” Entomologist Emily Fontenot has seen this happen time and time again, people shuddering at the thought of insects, but that reaction is usually not warranted. And the way people deal with bugs is not always the best either. Instead of a spray-first mentality, Fontenot will give alternative solutions during a…

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Crawl through a fox burrow

Photo of a turtle by a fox burrow hole

Interestingly, red foxes don’t often use burrows or dens to stay warm in the winter. They can stay warm during the cold months simply by curling their fluffy tails around them. However, this is the time of year they might be thinking about finding a den. Red foxes mate during the late winter, and by…

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Teddy the turtle looks for a friend

Photo of a turtle by a fake tree

There once was a box turtle named Teddy, who was looking for a friend.   He walked to the wetland but couldn’t find anyone there.   He walked to the prairie but couldn’t find anyone there either.   He walked through the forest.   He even went to a campsite to look for a friend.…

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Take the kids outside for a shape walk

Photo of leaving making a heart in the snow

The sun is finally shining, and the ice is melting. It’s a beautiful day to get outside. But what to do, what to do? Why not take the kids on a shape walk? Challenge your tots, or your older children, to use their observational skills and see how many shapes they can find in nature.…

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Tips for birding in northwest Iowa

Photo of a house finch catching a worm

A flock of small gray birds appears in your yard, hopping around in the snow eating some seed that has spilled from your backyard bird feeders. Another red-headed bird sits on the feeder, pecking at the sunflower seeds inside. But do you know the names of the species that you see? Local birder Lee Schoenewe…

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Wildlife love Little Sioux Savanna and you should too

Photo of a river overlook in fall

  Walk into Little Sioux Savanna, a beautiful park just west of Milford, and take a seat on the mowed trail. Watch. Listen. Wait. A honeybee buzzes beside you as it gathers pollen in the prairie. A northern leopard frog jumps into the Little Sioux River just below where you’re seated. An eight-point buck and…

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