Animal winter camouflage

January 20, 2020

The Iowa world is white in winter, so it makes sense that animals would want to blend in with their seasonal surroundings. Some animals have natural coloring that allows them to hide well in winter, whereas some animals change their colors to keep hidden from predators. Jackrabbit Jackrabbits used to…

Photo of a baby hedgehog

Baby hedgehogs lose their spines

January 13, 2020

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…

Photo of white-tail deer

How animals survive the winter

January 6, 2020

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…

Photo of child putting item on felt board

Nature Tots continues in 2020

December 26, 2019

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…

Photo of an egg carton snowman

Egg carton snowman

December 23, 2019

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…

Photo of white-tail deer

How deer survive the winter

December 23, 2019

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…

Photo of naturalists reading a story

Join us for storytime!

December 20, 2019

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…

Photo of a big brown bat

How bats survive the winter

December 16, 2019

Iowa has nine species of bats (you can read more about them here) and some of them hibernate while others migrate, and some migrate to hibernate. Iowa’s two most common bats, and those that you would find in Dickinson County, are the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the big…

Photo of woman reading a story

Family Nature Night goes to the Caribbean

December 12, 2019

It may feel like the weather outside is frightful, but Caribbean Night will be so delightful at the Dickinson County Nature Center. The final Family Nature Night for 2019 has a tropical theme. “We thought it would be fun to take it outside the parameters of Iowa and think a…

How garter snakes spend the winter

December 9, 2019

The common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) is just that — common. They are a small snake, usually less than 3 feet, and are non-venomous. The snakes are found throughout Iowa and much of the U.S., as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. However common they are in the summertime,…

Photo of a great-horned owl

Owls of Iowa: Great horned owl

December 2, 2019

There are nine species of owls in Iowa, and the great-horned owl (Bubo virgianus) may be the most well-known species. Great-horned owls have the quintessential owl call. When you think owl, you think “Whoooo. Whoooo.” That is actually not the call of every owl but the call of the great-horned…

Photo of completed origami bee

Simple origami bee

December 2, 2019

We’re bzzzzy bees at the Dickinson County Nature Center, and we’re continuously celebrating bees, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds and all of our pollinators at Pollinator Paradise. Once you see the live bees in the indoor beehive, crawl through the human-sized honeycomb, pollinate life-size apple trees and see all the delicious foods…