Country school fun facts

Photo of a bunny bookmark

Recycled bunny bookmark

August 13, 2018

Bindi, named after conservationist Steve Irwin’s daughter, Bindi Irwin, is the newest animal ambassador at the Dickinson County Nature Center as of August 2018. In honor of her arrival, today’s craft is bunny-themed! (Learn about cottontail rabbits) To make this adorable bunny bookmark, you’ll need: An envelope, a used one…

Photo of a bunny

7 cute cottontail facts

August 13, 2018

The Dickinson County Nature Center’s bunny animal ambassador, named Bindi, is actually a pet rabbit species. However, this mini rex looks quite a lot like the native rabbit in Iowa, the eastern cottontail. They both have a fluffy white tail, long ears, a brown coat with lighter colors in the…

Photo of partially finished fish

These fish really pop

August 6, 2018

There’s something about making a craft three-dimensional. It just makes things more fun. Try out this three-dimensional fish craft — it really pops! You’ll need: Colored paper Scissors Glue stick Marker Cut your 8.5×11-inch sheet of paper in half the short way. Fold in half the long way and cut…

Photo of the Statue of Liberty

It would take 25 Statues of Liberty…

August 6, 2018

The glacier that sat on what is now the Iowa Great Lakes area was called the Des Moines Lobe of the Wisconsin Glacier, and it was huge! (Read about the landform regions in Iowa) It carved out the lakes, left behind kames and eskers and created fens and kettleholes. It’s…

Photo of a handprint flower

Handprint/footprint flower craft

July 31, 2018

Kids like to draw on themselves — or on their siblings. Faces covered in permanent marker. Arms decorated with stripes and dots. Bellies covered in color. This craft lets kids actually paint themselves for a purpose as you create a fun handprint/footprint flower! You’ll need: Fingerpaint 11×17 paper Squirt green…

Photo of pasques flowers

Take a look at a tallgrass prairie

July 31, 2018

Although restored prairies are wonderful, preserving virgin prairie is incredibly important. Former naturalist, current recycling center manager, Charles Vigdal says that reconstructed prairie has 40-50 species, but a virgin prairie could have as many as 300 species in it.

Photo of a caterpillar name craft

Personalized paper caterpillar craft

July 23, 2018

From microscopic egg to tiny larva to chubby caterpillar to gold-flecked chrysalis to adult monarch butterfly — the majestic monarch’s life cycle is something to behold, especially up close. In honor of part of that amazing metamorphosis, try out this fun caterpillar craft that shows just how much you love…

Graphic of activity book cover

Free pollinator activity book download

July 16, 2018

Download the free Pollinator Paradise activity book, full of free games, facts and coloring pages. You can find even more fun with our free Okoboji Osprey activity book as well!

The discarded shell of a dragonfly nymph

Incomplete metamorphosis — what is that??

July 16, 2018

The majestic monarch goes through four stages in its life cycle — egg, caterpillar (larva), chrysalis (pupa) and adult butterfly. Insects that go through four stages have what is called complete metamorphosis. (Read about the monarch’s life cycle here) However, not all insects go through all four stages in their…

Photo of a colored D page for dragonfly

Simple nature alphabet activity

July 7, 2018

A child saw that the alphabet on the wall at Westport Schoolhouse only went from A-J. “Did the alphabet only have that many letters back then?” she asked. The volunteer laughed and answered that the rest of the letters were just not put up, but we didn’t want to confuse children…

Photo of snake sticking out its tongue

How and why snakes shed their skin

July 5, 2018

If you find a snakeskin in the wild, it’s usually inside out! When it sheds, it slithers out of its old skin, like pulling a sock off your foot, so it ends up inside out! Watch the video for more information on how and why snakes shed their skin. Check…

Photo of paper chain snakes

Paper chain snake instructions

July 3, 2018

Crafts are so much more fun when the end result is actually something to play with rather than just hang on the refrigerator. This paper chain snake that can slither and wiggle is an easy and interactive craft for the snake lovers out there. And if you don’t have snake…