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Beaver teeth are tough as iron, literally

June 24, 2019

We drink water with flouride added to help strengthen our teeth. You’ve probably been to the dentist and had flouride treatments that taste like bubble gum. You brush your teeth with toothpaste that has flouride in it, and maybe you even use mouthwash to help strengthen your enamel. Beavers don’t…

Photo of a turtle finger puppet

Turtle finger puppet template

June 17, 2019

Turtle or tortoise — they’re different creatures, but you can make this fun finger puppet into whichever you would like. Otherwise, you can use your imagination and make your own distinctive turtle! Make it pink. Make it sparkly. Make it your own. First, start off by printing off the free…

Photo of a tortoise

Turtle or tortoise? What’s the difference?

June 17, 2019

We had someone comment that Teddy the box turtle looked unhappy because he wasn’t in water. However, he’s a terrestrial turtle, so his kind lives the majority of their lives on land and not in the water. Yet, he isn’t a tortoise. Some people in Florida released tortoise hatchlings into…

Personality quiz: Which pollinator are you?

June 10, 2019
Photo of chipping sparrow and cowbird egg

Cowbirds lay eggs in other nests

June 10, 2019

Two volunteers were weeding an area and found a small chipping sparrow nest in a low bush. In the nest were three of the sparrow’s bright blue, speckled eggs and another egg that didn’t match. This fourth egg was larger, white and speckled with brown. If you find a similar…

Egg carton butterfly

June 3, 2019

I saw a funny meme about looking for recipes online and having to click on a post that instead of giving you the list of ingredients instead goes through “When I was senior in college, I walked down the long and misty concrete pathway and across a spring green lawn…

Photo of a bee eye

Bees see in UV

June 3, 2019

Bees see the world much differently than humans. It’s not just because they are small but because they see different colors. On the color scale, humans can see the colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. On one end, there is infrared, which humans can’t…

Photo of a hanging opossum toilet paper tube

Hanging opossum craft

May 28, 2019

We call them possums, but Iowa actually has opossums. (Debunk some opossum myths here.) We think opossums are pretty adorable, although everyone doesn’t agree, so we wanted to make a fun opossum craft that you can easily replicate at home. All you’ll need is: Empty toilet paper tube Gray construction…

Opossum with babies on her back

Opossum myths and facts

May 28, 2019

We call them possums, but Iowa actually has opossums. These adorable creatures live in the western hemisphere and can refer to more than 100 species of animals. Possums are actual creatures as well. There are about 70 different species of possums in Australia, including the pollinating honey possum — read…

Photo of a tiger mosquito

Your mosquito questions answered

May 20, 2019

The bane of summer — the mosquito. We all love nice weather, but no one loves this little annoyances that seem to love the heat as well. You probably have plenty of questions, so we’re here to answer just a few. Why do mosquitoes bite? Female mosquitoes bite and take…

Close-up photo of wiggle caterpillar puppet

Wiggle caterpillar puppet

May 13, 2019

We have swallowtail caterpillars in our butterfly enclosure and talked in our kids blog this week about how to tell the difference between them and monarch caterpillars, so it seems only fitting to have a caterpillar craft as well. Caterpillars are fun to watch for many reasons, but one of…

Photo of a black swallowtail caterpillar

4 keys to telling apart monarch and swallowtail caterpillars

May 13, 2019

We stress that it is important to plant milkweed because it is the only plant that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on and that their caterpillars eat. However, some people have come to us confused that monarch caterpillars are eating the dill in their yard. Taking a closer look though,…