Photo of thumbprint bugs

Thumbprint bees

September 24, 2018

One of our volunteers made coffee filter butterflies with her granddaughter, and in exchange, her granddaughter showed her how to make thumbprint bees. We thought they were so cute, we would try them ourselves. And just to make it more exciting, we did a variety of thumbprint invertebrates! All you’ll…

Photo of a black bear

Are there bears in Iowa?

September 24, 2018

The grizzly bear in the lower level of the Dickinson County Nature Center has huge paws. At least, it seems like it. However, grizzly bears actually have an average of 15-inch paws, not even including the claws. But here in Iowa, we don’t realize how big grizzlies and other bears…

Photo of coffee filter butterfly

Make a coffee filter butterfly

September 17, 2018

It’s not any surprise that we love butterflies at the Dickinson County Nature Center. We also love butterfly crafts! This coffee filter butterfly is one that we made at the 2018 Bee & Butterfly Festival. It’s simple, but kids really love the colorful creations they can make. Plus, you can…

Photo of northern leopard frog

Fast frog facts

September 17, 2018

Leo the northern leopard frog — named after conservationist Aldo Leopold — is always a hit with kids when he comes out during programs. That is often because he makes the programs more exciting when he escapes from the grasp of the naturalist with his squirmy, slippery body. But visitors…

Tiger salamander fun facts

September 13, 2018

Sy the tiger salamander is huge. The Dickinson County Nature Center has two tiger salamander animal ambassadors, named Manny and Sy, and they are members of the largest land salamander species in North America. Tiger salamanders usually grow 7-13 inches long, but Sy is around 14 inches in length from…

Photo of side view of cut t-shirt

Recycled T-shirt bags are an environmentally-friendly craft

September 12, 2018

Planning the 2018 Bee & Butterfly Festival, we decided that it would be a good idea to have bags for people to carry around their crafts and other goodies. We could purchase bags, or we could decorate bags. Then naturalist Ashley Hansen brought up the idea of making bags out…

Graphic of four butterflies and their wingspans

How to tell apart four orange and black butterflies

August 27, 2018

An orange and black butterfly flits by. Many people immediately think “monarch,” but there are actually quite a number of orange and black butterflies in Iowa and throughout the United States. Three butterflies in the Iowa Great Lakes area that often get confused with the monarch butterfly are the painted…

Photo of girl with squirt gun painting

Celebrate the end of summer with squirt gun painting

August 27, 2018

It’s hard to think about, but it’s obvious in the Iowa Great Lakes that summer is coming to an end. Traffic is easing. Visitor numbers are dwindling. Stores and restaurants are getting ready to close for the season. But there is still plenty of warm weather to enjoy outside, and…

Photo of snake sticking out its tongue

Can she do it? Community relations coordinator attempts to hold a snake for the first time

August 20, 2018

From not being able to shelve any books with snakes on them while working at a library as a teenager to holding a snake — community relations coordinator Kiley Roth has changed a lot! See her first time holding a snake and perhaps learn how to overcome your own fear…

Photo of pipe cleaner snakes

Make a bendable snake with pipe cleaner and beads

August 20, 2018

In honor of my big day today, holding a snake for the first time (you can see the video here), we made a fun snake craft. Whether you love snakes or hate them, this craft is cute and simple. You’ll need: Pipe cleaners Beads Googly eyes Liquid glue Start  by…

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…