Photo of a clouded sulphur butterfly

6 clouded sulphur butterfly facts

June 15, 2020

A pretty yellow butterfly that flits around from flower to flower. It’s so delicate that it barely seems like it’s real. However, the clouded sulphur butterfly (Colias philodice) is one of the most common butterflies in the state of Iowa. Let’s take a look at some of the neat facts…

Photo of handprint butterfly

Handprint butterfly

June 15, 2020

Butterflies flitting to and fro — it’s the epitomy of spring and summer. Their colors are bright — yellow, orange, red. They land on bright flowers and create a perfect vision. You’ve seen butterfly craft after butterfly craft, but we want to offer yet another. All this one takes is…

Photo of young Bindi Irwin

Animal ambassador conservationists: Bindi Irwin

June 8, 2020

Bindi, the nature center’s mini rex rabbit animal ambassador, is named after Bindi Irwin, daughter of Steve Irwin. Steve Irwin grew up loving animals in his home of Australia, and his family ran the Beerwah Reptile Park — later called the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park — in Beerwah, Queensland.…

Photo of bobblehead bunny

Bobblehead bunny

June 8, 2020

Bindi the bunny hardly ever sits still. The Dickinson County Nature Center animal ambassador likes to chew and play, and if you do catch her lying down she will immediately get up and bound around her enclosure. So it seemed appropriate to have a craft that also doesn’t sit still…

Turtle connect-the-dots

June 1, 2020

We could have made a red-eared slider turtle coloring page, but why not make it a little more interesting and add a connect-the-dot activity too? Click here for your free printable connect-the-dot sheet.

Photo of Ding Darling

Animal ambassador conservationists: Ding Darling

June 1, 2020

One of the Dickinson County Nature Center’s red-eared slider turtles is named Darling. Not because it’s a darling name — although it is — but because he is named after Iowa conservationist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling. Jay Norwood Darling was born in 1876 in Norwood, MI, but he moved with…

Photo of a paper plate turtle shell

Paper plate turtle shell

May 25, 2020

Turtles come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Some are light green with long necks. Some are dark green. Some have stripes of yellow, and some have orange highlights. They all have one thing in common, though — their domed shell. A paper plate makes for the perfect turtle shell,…

Photo of Ada Hayden

Animal ambassador conservationists: Ada Hayden

May 25, 2020

One of the Dickinson County Nature Center red-eared sliders is named Ada, after Iowa conservationist Ada Hayden. Ada Hayden was born in 1884 in Ames, and she became an important conservationist early on through her botany mentor Louis Pammel. She studied botany at Iowa State College, now Iowa State University,…

Sketch of Sylvan Runkel

Animal ambassador conservationists: Sylvan Runkel

May 18, 2020

The name of the two salamanders that live at the Dickinson County Nature Center are Sy and Manny. Manny’s name wasn’t very creative, to be honest. It comes from sala”man”der. Sy’s name, however, is in honor of famed Iowa conservationist Sylvan Runkel. Runkel was born in 1906 in Jacksonville, IL,…

Salamander Mad Libs

May 18, 2020

Sy and Manny the tiger salamanders live at the Dickinson County Nature Center in different aquariums, but we think that they would be the best of friends if there were outside in the wild together. What do you think? Click on this link to download our salamander Mad Libs story…

Photo of luna leopold

Animal ambassador conservationists: Luna Leopold

May 11, 2020

Luna the hedgehog’s name works on multiple levels. First, luna means moon in Spanish, and since the Dickinson County Nature Center’s African pygmy hedgehog is nocturnal, a name meaning moon is quite apt. Second, like many of our animals, Luna is named after a famous conservationist — Luna Leopold. Leopold…

Photo of paper hedgehog

Accordion paper hedgehog

May 11, 2020

Hedgehogs are known for the spines, the way they protect themselves from predators. They’re spiky but adorable, and this simple paper hedgehog shows off both sides of these nocturnal animals! To make your own paper hedgehog, you’ll need: Two sheets of brown construction paper in two different shades Black marker…