Photo of a salamander

What is permeable skin? A video experiment

April 2, 2018

Amphibians have permeable skin, meaning they can absorb oxygen through their skin. However, it also means that chemicals and other harmful things from the environment can also be absorbed. Learn more about permeable and impermeable skin with this science experiment led by environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman. See more lessons…

Photo of toilet paper roll bunnies

Adorable Easter bunny from toilet paper tubes

March 26, 2018

The family is coming over for Easter Sunday, and you need something adorable to spruce up the table. Plus, you need something to entertain the gaggle of children that will be running around. (Another idea: Fold a simple origami fish) That’s where this simple toilet paper tube bunny craft comes…

8 Insects You Should Love

March 26, 2018


Photo of a duck mask craft

Make your own duck mask from a paper plate

March 19, 2018

As ducks and geese starting migrating through the Iowa Great Lakes area this spring, it’s only appropriate that we feature a waterfowl mask as a craft. (Read “Seven Waterfowl to Look for During Migration.”) I’ll admit I took some creative liberties with the duck coloring in my own duck mask,…

Photo of a hooded merganser

Seven waterfowl to look for during migration

March 19, 2018

The Iowa Great Lakes and the smaller lakes and wetlands in the area are starting to melt. That means that birds that flew south to warmer areas for the winter are now flying back north to their summer breeding grounds. Waterfowl are definitely on the move this month, and it’s…

Photo of origami fish being folded

Fold a simple origami fish

March 12, 2018

Origami is one of those crafts that you just feel accomplished when it’s completed. It’s a skill that you can share and show off, and this origami fish is a simple design that even children can do. (Fold a leaping origami frog.) First, take a square sheet of paper —…

Photo of a prairie skink missing its tail

Schnoodle the prairie skink has lost her tail

March 12, 2018

Prairie skinks (Plestiodon septentrionalis) are common in Iowa, but you may never have seen one before. They are so tiny, that they blend in extremely well with their prairie surroundings. Prairie skinks range from 5-8 inches in length typically. The new animal ambassador at the Dickinson County Nature Center, named…

Photo of a painted turtle

Five facts you probably didn’t know about painted turtles

March 5, 2018

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…

Photo of a letter B covered in shells

Decorative shell letters

March 5, 2018

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…

Photo of a snake cuff made from a toilet paper tube

Ssssomething totally awesssome: Create a sssnake wrist cuff

February 26, 2018

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…

Photo of a corn snake

Creepy but cool: How snakes can move without legs

February 26, 2018

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…

Photo of a rock lady bug with a photo head

Turn yourself into a lady bug: Personalized rock craft

February 20, 2018

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…