Native Iowa butterflies and moths: Skippers and swallowtails

Photo of an eastern swallowtail

More than 70 species of butterflies have been spotted in Dickinson County. And yet, the order Lepidoptera is made up of about 90 percent moths. So between butterflies and moths, there is a lot of fluttering action going on around us. (Learn the difference between butterflies and moths.) During the first Pollinator Education Series program, naturalist Ashley…

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Five facts you probably didn’t know about painted turtles

Photo of a painted turtle

Annie and Jeff loved the Dickinson County Nature Center. But they’re not visitors. They don’t even work here. Actually, they live here! That’s because, even though they have human-like names, Annie and Jeff are the nature center’s painted turtles (Chrysemys picta.) Everyone loves checking out our painted turtles, so here are some fun facts about…

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Decorative shell letters

Photo of a letter B covered in shells

Since we will be moving into the new storage space in the lower level of the Pollinator Paradise addition to the Dickinson County Nature Center soon, we decided to go through the current storage area to reorganize and get rid of unnecessary items. Some stuff is pretty obvious to throw away when you’re doing deep…

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St. Patty’s PJ Party features all things green

Photo of a child looking at a frog

St. Patrick’s Day is all about the green. Although environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman might have a different spin on it than most during the St. Patty’s Pajama Party 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji. Wear your favorite pajamas — Kuhlman said she is still searching for some…

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10 children’s books all about nature

A great way to get kids interested in nature is to read books that have inspiring characters and animals that also love the outdoors. Lessons about bees and their pollination skills, the importance of rattlesnakes to the environment, why we should take care of trees and what is neat about bats can all be learned…

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Ssssomething totally awesssome: Create a sssnake wrist cuff

Photo of a snake cuff made from a toilet paper tube

Since this week’s blog post was about how snakes slither, I thought it only appropriate that this week’s craft also be snake related. I will pretty much guarantee that after you make this fun wrist cuff that your child will not take it off for the entire day. Or at least the next five minutes,…

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Creepy but cool: How snakes can move without legs

Photo of a corn snake

Besides their forked tongues, probably the main thing that creeps people out about snakes is their ability to move without legs or feet. (The reason a snake sticks out its tongue, and why it’s forked.) I have to say, before I started working at the Dickinson County Nature Center, back when I was still petrified…

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Spring photography contest opens

Photo by Alex Miles

The moon slowly moved across the daytime sky, blocking out more and more of the sun until it finally covered it completely, just for a moment before the sun started to peek through again. That was the moment, with fuzzy cloud coverage, Alex Miles clicked the camera shutter, stilling in time this majestic solar eclipse…

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Four recipes that highlight honey

It’s sweet. It’s healthy. It never goes bad. Honey is really an amazing food. (Read “Save the Bees, Save the Honey”) We talk a lot about the importance of bees as pollinators, but sometimes you just have to appreciate the simple fact that they make a wonderful product. It’s easy to incorporate honey into your…

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Turn yourself into a lady bug: Personalized rock craft

Photo of a rock lady bug with a photo head

Have you ever wanted to experience the world through the eyes of an insect? Imagine the viewpoint looking up through the grass, seeing the expansive world that exists right on the surface of the earth. Well, I can’t offer you that view, but I can help you turn yourself into a bug — at least…

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