Photo of a coyote

Five differences between coyotes and wolves

October 22, 2018

I still remember the first time I heard a coyote pack howl as dusk began to settle on the Iowa Great Lakes area. On a walk at Kettleson Hogsback, the sun started to set above the calm shallow lakes, and a high-pitched howl began in the distance. Another answered it.…

Photo of nighttime scene with noodles

This noodle art is so fun it’s batty

October 15, 2018

Bats are a hot topic around Halloween. (We love bats — read about how they use echolocation here.) And we love crafts that are both nature-related and fit into the season, so today we tested out a new bat craft. It’s simple, great for all ages and utilizes things you…

Bats use echolocation to find prey

October 15, 2018

Bats can see about as well as humans. However, they are nocturnal — which means they are active at night — and think about how well you can see at night. (Read about nocturnal animals in Iowa.) Without a light, can you see a mosquito? You might feel it bite…

Make your own glowing pool

October 8, 2018

We had more than 180 people attend the Family Glow Walk in October 2018, and one of the hits were our glowing sensory ponds. Light-up rubber duckies, neon fish and bright bobbers floating in luminescent water drew kids in like moths to a flame. Wonder how we did it? We’ll…

Graphic about muskies

Fish are fun!

October 8, 2018

Test your fish knowledge with our fun quiz here!

Are you a naturalist?

October 1, 2018

How much do you know about the animal ambassadors at the Dickinson County Nature Center? Take this quiz to find out if you know as much as our naturalists!

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…