Photo of a hooded merganser

Seven waterfowl to look for during migration

March 19, 2018

The Iowa Great Lakes and the smaller lakes and wetlands in the area are starting to melt. That means that birds that flew south to warmer areas for the winter are now flying back north to their summer breeding grounds. Waterfowl are definitely on the move this month, and it’s…

Photo of origami fish being folded

Fold a simple origami fish

March 12, 2018

Origami is one of those crafts that you just feel accomplished when it’s completed. It’s a skill that you can share and show off, and this origami fish is a simple design that even children can do. (Fold a leaping origami frog.) First, take a square sheet of paper —…

Photo of a prairie skink missing its tail

Schnoodle the prairie skink has lost her tail

March 12, 2018

Prairie skinks (Plestiodon septentrionalis) are common in Iowa, but you may never have seen one before. They are so tiny, that they blend in extremely well with their prairie surroundings. Prairie skinks range from 5-8 inches in length typically. The new animal ambassador at the Dickinson County Nature Center, named…

Photo of a painted turtle

Five facts you probably didn’t know about painted turtles

March 5, 2018

Annie and Jeff loved the Dickinson County Nature Center. But they’re not visitors. They don’t even work here. Actually, they live here! That’s because, even though they have human-like names, Annie and Jeff are the nature center’s painted turtles (Chrysemys picta.) Everyone loves checking out our painted turtles, so here…

Photo of a letter B covered in shells

Decorative shell letters

March 5, 2018

Since we will be moving into the new storage space in the lower level of the Pollinator Paradise addition to the Dickinson County Nature Center soon, we decided to go through the current storage area to reorganize and get rid of unnecessary items. Some stuff is pretty obvious to throw…

Photo of a snake cuff made from a toilet paper tube

Ssssomething totally awesssome: Create a sssnake wrist cuff

February 26, 2018

Since this week’s blog post was about how snakes slither, I thought it only appropriate that this week’s craft also be snake related. I will pretty much guarantee that after you make this fun wrist cuff that your child will not take it off for the entire day. Or at…

Photo of a corn snake

Creepy but cool: How snakes can move without legs

February 26, 2018

Besides their forked tongues, probably the main thing that creeps people out about snakes is their ability to move without legs or feet. (The reason a snake sticks out its tongue, and why it’s forked.) I have to say, before I started working at the Dickinson County Nature Center, back…

Photo of a rock lady bug with a photo head

Turn yourself into a lady bug: Personalized rock craft

February 20, 2018

Have you ever wanted to experience the world through the eyes of an insect? Imagine the viewpoint looking up through the grass, seeing the expansive world that exists right on the surface of the earth. Well, I can’t offer you that view, but I can help you turn yourself into…

Close-up photo of claws

Can you tell which animal it is by its extreme close-up?

February 20, 2018
Photo of colored ice balloons

Add some color to your snowy world with ice balls

February 12, 2018

Our naturalists are incredibly creative, and it’s fun to watch their ideas take shape. For Nature Tots in January, Bryanna Kuhlman, our environmental education coordinator, and Ashley Hansen, our naturalist, put together snow activities that included snow volcanoes, snow painting and playing with ice balloons. If you’re looking for a…

Graphic of animal Valentines

Download FREE animal valentines to print at home

February 1, 2018

Why go to the store and buy pre-made Valentines that everyone will have for this year’s February 14 classroom party? Instead, download our free animal ambassador Valentines, print them on cardstock at home, cut them out and you have unique Valentines for the whole class. CLICK HERE FOR PDF DOWNLOADS…

Photo of a barn owl

10 animals that you didn’t know mated for life

January 30, 2018

We often get the question, “Do ospreys mate for life?” The answer isn’t quite clear. In general, yes, they do. However, they aren’t above choosing a new mate if theirs is not longer able to reproduce or is sick or injured. Like humans are considered monogamous but sometimes change partners,…