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…

Photo of partially finished fish

These fish really pop

August 6, 2018

There’s something about making a craft three-dimensional. It just makes things more fun. Try out this three-dimensional fish craft — it really pops! You’ll need: Colored paper Scissors Glue stick Marker Cut your 8.5×11-inch sheet of paper in half the short way. Fold in half the long way and cut…

Photo of the Statue of Liberty

It would take 25 Statues of Liberty…

August 6, 2018

The glacier that sat on what is now the Iowa Great Lakes area was called the Des Moines Lobe of the Wisconsin Glacier, and it was huge! (Read about the landform regions in Iowa) It carved out the lakes, left behind kames and eskers and created fens and kettleholes. It’s…

Photo of a handprint flower

Handprint/footprint flower craft

July 31, 2018

Kids like to draw on themselves — or on their siblings. Faces covered in permanent marker. Arms decorated with stripes and dots. Bellies covered in color. This craft lets kids actually paint themselves for a purpose as you create a fun handprint/footprint flower! You’ll need: Fingerpaint 11×17 paper Squirt green…

Photo of pasques flowers

Take a look at a tallgrass prairie

July 31, 2018

Although restored prairies are wonderful, preserving virgin prairie is incredibly important. Former naturalist, current recycling center manager, Charles Vigdal says that reconstructed prairie has 40-50 species, but a virgin prairie could have as many as 300 species in it.

Photo of a caterpillar name craft

Personalized paper caterpillar craft

July 23, 2018

From microscopic egg to tiny larva to chubby caterpillar to gold-flecked chrysalis to adult monarch butterfly — the majestic monarch’s life cycle is something to behold, especially up close. In honor of part of that amazing metamorphosis, try out this fun caterpillar craft that shows just how much you love…

Graphic of activity book cover

Free pollinator activity book download

July 16, 2018

Download the free Pollinator Paradise activity book, full of free games, facts and coloring pages. You can find even more fun with our free Okoboji Osprey activity book as well!