The discarded shell of a dragonfly nymph

Incomplete metamorphosis — what is that??

July 16, 2018

The majestic monarch goes through four stages in its life cycle — egg, caterpillar (larva), chrysalis (pupa) and adult butterfly. Insects that go through four stages have what is called complete metamorphosis. (Read about the monarch’s life cycle here) However, not all insects go through all four stages in their…

Photo of a colored D page for dragonfly

Simple nature alphabet activity

July 7, 2018

A child saw that the alphabet on the wall at Westport Schoolhouse only went from A-J. “Did the alphabet only have that many letters back then?” she asked. The volunteer laughed and answered that the rest of the letters were just not put up, but we didn’t want to confuse children…

Photo of snake sticking out its tongue

How and why snakes shed their skin

July 5, 2018

If you find a snakeskin in the wild, it’s usually inside out! When it sheds, it slithers out of its old skin, like pulling a sock off your foot, so it ends up inside out! Watch the video for more information on how and why snakes shed their skin. Check…

Photo of paper chain snakes

Paper chain snake instructions

July 3, 2018

Crafts are so much more fun when the end result is actually something to play with rather than just hang on the refrigerator. This paper chain snake that can slither and wiggle is an easy and interactive craft for the snake lovers out there. And if you don’t have snake…

Photo of a woman with a nature bracelet on

Wearable nature bracelet

June 26, 2018

So many kids love to bring home trinkets, whether they are visiting a museum, a mall or a park. But moms often discourage bringing home more stuff that will just lie around. However, we have a fun solution for picking up tiny items on your next walk, and this way…

Graphic about crepuscular animals

Not nocturnal, crepuscular!

June 26, 2018

I remember when I first heard the word. Our environmental education coordinator was talking about nocturnal animals, and then stated that skunks aren’t always nocturnal but can also be crepuscular. “What?” Yes. Crepuscular. Cre-puss-cue-ler. It means simply that an animal is active at dawn and dusk. It’s not quite diurnal…

Photo of suncatcher in the window

Floral sun catcher brings summer indoors

June 11, 2018

Summer is about sun, green grasses and leaves, brightly-colored flower blooms. This sun catcher craft takes all of summer and puts it in one simple piece. To make your own sun catcher, you’ll need: Two self-adhesive laminating sheets Flowers and leaves Scissors Twine First, make sure to use self-adhesive laminating…

Graphic that says cardamom, cashews, cherries, chocolate, coconuts, coffee, coriander, cranberries

Foods we wouldn’t have without pollinators

June 11, 2018

What if you couldn’t have any almonds or cashews in that nut mix you love to snack on? What if you couldn’t eat sesame chicken because sesame didn’t exist anymore? What if bananas, blueberries and tomatoes weren’t on the shelves anymore? One in three bites of food that we take…

Photo of the completed puppet

Make a toad hand puppet

June 4, 2018

Since we talked today about five facts that will make you love toads (read the blog post here), we decided to make a toad-themed craft. If you look up toad crafts, there are not a lot out there! Like we mentioned in the blog post, toads tend to get overlooked…

Photo of Al the toad

Five facts that will make you like toads

June 4, 2018

Because frogs are brightly colored, they tend to be looked on with more awe than toads. However, American toads have some pretty neat attributes when you get to know them. Come check out Al the American toad at the Dickinson County Nature Center and see how interesting he is in…

Graphic that says 95 football fields would it in Lake Minnewashta's surface area.

Iowa Great Lakes fun facts

June 2, 2018

We all love the lakes. That’s what makes Okoboji, Okoboji. But how much do you know about the lakes themselves? Did you know that Upper Gar Lake is the smallest lake in the Iowa Great Lakes at only 37 acres with an average depth of 3.5 feet? That is the…

Photo of bee with fingers as legs

Make a bee finger puppet with moving legs

June 2, 2018

Bees actually have six legs, but when it’s a craft, you can use your imagination right? This fat bumblebee only has two legs, but those two legs actually move, because they are your own fingers! (Make your own bee antenna or try out a pipe cleaner bee!) All you will need…