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Painted and snapping turtles survive winter underwater

November 18, 2019

We see many types of turtles roaming around northwest Iowa in the summertime, especially painted turtles and snapping turtles. But we don’t see any in the winter. Where do they all go? Painted turtles and snapping turtles spend their winters in lakes or ponds, living beneath the ice the forms.…

Animals that don’t have a pattern are cathemeral

November 12, 2019

Learning about nature and animals is so interesting, because humans seem to have a desire to divide things into categories, and for those categories to be neat and clear. When learning about butterflies and moths, we want to know how to tell the difference. There are general differences, but there…

Photo of a little girl holding a butterfly ring

Butterfly ring *FREE template*

November 4, 2019

We love pollinators, and we love sharing that love with others through education and fun. At the 2019 Bee & Butterfly Festival, visitors could create a fun butterfly ring with a simple cardstock template and a pipe cleaner. You can create your own by downloading our free template below, and…

Graphic aboutt being diurnal

Diurnal animals are awake during the day

November 4, 2019

Kids learn pretty early that animals that are awake at night are nocturnal. The word for the rest of us that are awake during the day, though, doesn’t seem quite as well known. Humans and many animals are what is called diurnal. Diurnal creatures wake and sleep with the rising…

Tarantula defense mechanisms

October 28, 2019

One might think that the first thing a tarantula, like Pinki — the Chilean rose-haired tarantula at the Dickinson County Nature Center, would do to protect itself would be to bite with its venomous fangs. Yet, they actually have several warning signs to tell predators, including people, that they are…

Birds have hollow bones

October 21, 2019

In the spring and fall, the vast majority of birds take to the air. In the spring, they head north to their breeding grounds, and in the fall, they head south to overwintering areas that are warmer and have ample food supplies. Migration can be a long and hard journey,…

Photo of a raccoon

10 fast raccoon facts

October 14, 2019

1. A male is called a boar. You probably didn’t know that, like a pig, that a male raccoon is called a boar and a female is called a sow. Little ones aren’t called piglets, though; they’re called kits. 2. It’s black mask may have a purpose. The raccoon’s black…

Photo of a hoverfly on a white flower

5 hoverfly facts

October 7, 2019

Black and yellow means bee, right? Not always! A lot of insects are black and yellow and yet aren’t bees, and a lot of bees aren’t even black and yellow. Native bees can be(e) blue, red, metallic green, brown — tons of different colors. One insect that mimics bees and…

Photo of hoarfrost

Plants protect themselves from the winter cold

September 23, 2019

Each autumn, the world outside is getting ready for a change. Birds are migrating to find warmer wintering grounds. Mammals are eating a lot to increase their fatty insulation and are putting food away for the winter. Trees are dropping their leaves and going dormant. (Read about that here) What…

Photo of a squirrel eating

Squirreling away nuts for winter

September 16, 2019

During the autumn season, you’ll see acorns and other nuts falling from trees as the trees get ready to go dormant — basically, sleep — during the winter. Many animals take advantage of this time and gather those nuts to eat during the winter, and you’ve most likely seen plenty…

Photo of a monarch butterfly

Male or female? How to tell if a monarch butterfly is a boy or a girl

September 9, 2019

During monarch tagging at Dee’s Bee & Butterfly Festival, taggers often get to choose whether they want to tag a male or a female monarch butterfly. Then the next question is, how do the staff helping with tagging know the difference? There are two very simple ways to tell apart…

Photo of boy coloring a bee

Bee pencil topper

September 9, 2019

All kids use pencils at school, but many times those pencils are plain yellow and don’t allow for much inspiration. We took pencils to the next level with our bee pencil toppers at the 2019 Bee & Butterfly Festival, and now you can make your own. Simply click here to…