Photo of plains garter snake

Garter snakes of Iowa

April 6, 2020

Iowa has 28 different species of snakes, including four venomous species. (Read about the venomous snakes of Iowa here.) Most people are familiar with the garter snake, a common type of non-venomous snake, which are harmless to humans. Let’s take a look at the two kinds of garter snakes that…

Graphic about rock cycle

Types of rocks

March 30, 2020

Rocks are continuously changing. Temperature, weathering through rain or wind,  pressure — rocks move through a cycle back and forth, back and forth. Let’s take a look at the different types of forms rocks can be found in: Igneous Igneous rocks are formed through the cooling and solidification of magma,…

5 rock books for kids

March 30, 2020

Rocks can be the perfect way to get little ones interested in the outdoors. They’re easy to find. They can be touched, picked up and collected. There is a wide variety, from sparkly to chalk-like, smooth to holey. Read a good book about rocks and then head outside to see…

Photo of toilet paper tube birds

Toilet paper tube birds

March 24, 2020

Who doesn’t have empty toilet paper tubes? We all do. And if you don’t right now, you definitely will have some soon. Let’s use them for a fun purpose and turn them into adorable birds, and you can make whatever kind of bird you want. I chose a robin —…

Photo of robins in a nest

Types of bird nests

March 23, 2020

People live in different types of houses — some made from lumber, some from concrete, some very large and some very small. Birds also build different kinds of nests. Since there are about 18,000 species of birds in the world, so there are many, many different types of nests. Here…

Photo of zebra swallowtail

Wildlife of Iowa through the alphabet

March 16, 2020

American wigeon (Anas americana) This dabbling duck migrates through Iowa. It is known for its whistle-like call and its short, stumpy bill that allows it to pluck vegetation to eat with ease. Blue-winged teal (Anas discors) Blue-winged teal are the second most abundant duck in America, behind the mallard. Common…

Top 10 activities to do outside when social distancing

March 16, 2020

Tired of being stuck in the house but want to make sure you’re following COVID-19 guidelines and not gathering with others? Then head out to a wild area and try out these awesome activities. They will work your body and brain, and hopefully being outside will help boost your immune…

Photo of an eastern comma

Early spring butterflies

March 10, 2020

Almost 70 species of butterflies have been seen in Dickinson County, Iowa, and the time of year can be told from which ones are most active. In fact, you can tell when spring is making its appearance by which butterflies are hatching after overwintering in the chrysalis state or from…

Photo of female osprey with eggs

Osprey breeding season timeline

March 2, 2020

Spring is coming, and that means that we starting looking for the Okoboji osprey to return to the nest in Kenue Park. They are amazing creatures that follow a strict schedule, and you can almost set your watch by them. Here is a quick timeline of the typical osprey year:…

What kind of duck is it?

February 24, 2020
Photo of a snowy owl pinecone

Snowy owl pinecone craft

February 18, 2020

Iowa is home to nine species of owls. The snowy owl seems like the Holy Grail of owls, sometimes, since it is so elusive and seen so sporadically in the wintertime. It makes for a fun excursion to try to track down, and it also makes for a fun wintertime…

Photo of swan chicks

Types of feathers

February 15, 2020

Feathers come in a variety of colors and forms, but they are all composed of the protein beta-keratin, just like snake scales. Feathers’ barbs and barbules — smaller hooked pieces that come off of the barbs — make up different feather structures that serve different functions. Wing Wing feathers are…