Photo of Ding Darling

One of the Dickinson County Nature Center’s red-eared slider turtles is named Darling. Not because it’s a darling name — although it is — but because he is named after Iowa conservationist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling. Jay Norwood Darling was born in 1876 in Norwood, MI, but he moved with his family to Sioux City…

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Photo of Aldo Leopold

The great plains toads at the Dickinson County Nature Center are named Al and Wally. Photo of Great Plains toad Wally is named after Alfred R. Wallace (read more about him here), and Al is named after Iowa-born conservationist Aldo Leopold. Leopold was born in 1887 in Burlington and spent much of his youth in…

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Photo of Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy the ornate box turtle at the Dickinson County Nature Center is named after former president and conservationist Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy the ornate box turtle Roosevelt, whose nickname was Teddy — even though he didn’t like it, was born in 1858 in New York City. He grew up homeschooled due to medical conditions and grew…

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Photo of Great Plains toad

We love the animal ambassadors at the Dickinson County Nature Center! Here are some reasons why: 1. Pinki’s irridescent hair Pink is the perfect color for Valentine’s Day, so Pinki the tarantula fits right in. She has irridescent pink hairs that were the reason her species was named Chilean rose-haired tarantula. Those hairs are more…

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Photo of a painted turtle

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.) Annie the painted turtle Everyone loves checking out our painted turtles, so here are…

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When you wake up, you are… Grumpy. Let me sleep! Happy and ready to start a new day Energetic — let’s hit the gym. Sleepy. It takes me a while to wake up. Your favorite food is… Strawberries — it’s all about the fruit Beef jerky, because it’s full of protein. Chips. I love salty…

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Photo of a box turtle

When kids who have been to the nature center before return, many of them beeline to see Teddy the ornate box turtle. (Teddy has some lessons for us to learn in this video.) But how much do you really know about the ornate box turtle (terrapene ornata ornata)? Long live Teddy. Ornate box turtles have an…

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