Photo of a fish eating fish on a clothespin

It’s a fish-eat-fish world! Clothespin craft instructions here!

May 7, 2018

It’s a fish-eat-fish world out there. OK, I know that’s not how the saying goes, but I think it applies in an area where lakes are the main attraction. Think about what’s going on beneath the surface of our lakes when we’re out boating, waterskiing and paddleboarding. Our fish are…

Graphic of the activity book cover

Okoboji Osprey free activity book

April 30, 2018

Click on the image to download our special Okoboji Osprey activity book for free and then click here to watch the osprey live April-September on the nest cam.  

Photo of osprey on the nest

Osprey Diaries: A little late

April 30, 2018

The ice is finally gone! We’ve been quite annoyed that after we arrived back our favorite fishing holes were all covered in ice, and then as soon as we began building our nest it snowed. And I mean snowed. And then a couple of days later it snowed some more.…

Photo of a ring-billed gull

Okoboji seagulls aren’t sea gulls at all

April 23, 2018

There is no such thing as a seagull. All gulls have proper names, none of which is sea. We posted this Noon Nature Fact on our Facebook page last week and had several comments on it. I knew that there were lots of species of gulls, but honestly didn’t realize…

Go on a Spring Scavenger Hunt

April 23, 2018

I don’t really want to sit at my desk today. I want to go outside! This weekend was really the first weekend I felt the warm sun on my skin, and the winds that flew were cool instead of frigid. It felt wonderful, and it finally feels like spring is…

Photo of a tundra swan

4 ways to tell apart swans and snow geese

April 9, 2018

It’s a big, white bird paddling on that body of water. But what exactly is it? Most likely, it’s a trumpeter swan if you’re in Iowa. The trumpeter swans is native to the state and is the biggest waterfowl native to the U.S., its wingspan reaching up to 8 feet…

Photo of pipe cleaner animals

Easy and inexpensive pipe cleaner animals

April 9, 2018

I was flipping through Pinterest last night when I saw some photos of amazing miniature animal creations and realized that they were all made out of pipe cleaners. That’s something we have a lot of in the craft supply area at the nature center, so I figured it would be…

Photo of a bamboo bee home

Make your own bee hotel

April 2, 2018

You can help native bees by providing them a secure place to nest. What many call bee hotels or bee homes range from simple to deluxe designs. (Mason bees are amazing pollinators.) One way is to drill various-sized holes into a wooden block or tree cookie and hang it in…

Photo of a salamander

What is permeable skin? A video experiment

April 2, 2018

Amphibians have permeable skin, meaning they can absorb oxygen through their skin. However, it also means that chemicals and other harmful things from the environment can also be absorbed. Learn more about permeable and impermeable skin with this science experiment led by environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman. See more lessons…

Photo of toilet paper roll bunnies

Adorable Easter bunny from toilet paper tubes

March 26, 2018

The family is coming over for Easter Sunday, and you need something adorable to spruce up the table. Plus, you need something to entertain the gaggle of children that will be running around. (Another idea: Fold a simple origami fish) That’s where this simple toilet paper tube bunny craft comes…

8 Insects You Should Love

March 26, 2018


Photo of a duck mask craft

Make your own duck mask from a paper plate

March 19, 2018

As ducks and geese starting migrating through the Iowa Great Lakes area this spring, it’s only appropriate that we feature a waterfowl mask as a craft. (Read “Seven Waterfowl to Look for During Migration.”) I’ll admit I took some creative liberties with the duck coloring in my own duck mask,…