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Posts Tagged ‘okoboji’

Westport Schoolhouse No. 5: A brief history

Photo of Westport Rural Schoolhouse sign

The first school in Dickinson County was an in-home private school that began around 1860, with a teacher employed to teach the children of Dr. J.S. Prescott and a few other local youth. The following years saw more private schools that soon expanded into small public education institutions throughout the county. Westport Schoolhouse history Westport…

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StarLab comes to Family Nature Night

Photo of a meteor

“Do you want to know the difference between comets, meteors, asteroids and meteorites?” asked naturalist Ashley Hansen. She will explain these differences during the next Family Nature Night Friday, July 26, at the Dickinson County Nature Center. A portable StarLab inflatable planetarium will be set up in Pollinator Paradise for programs at 7 p.m. and…

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View live trumpeter swans in Kenue Park

Photo of a swan in front of the Dickinson County Nature Center

An eight-foot wingspan, long legs and a graceful neck — the trumpeter swans in Kenue Park are a lovely sight. The two rehabilitated trumpeter swans live year-round on the wetland viewable from the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji. “We have both a male and female trumpeter swan on our wetland, and they are flightless…

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Bald eagle toilet paper tube craft

Photo of bald eagle

The bald eagle is the national symbol, so Independence Day week is the perfect time for a bald eagle craft. Plus, why not reuse some materials while you’re doing it? For this toilet paper tube bald eagle, you’ll need just a few supplies: Empty toilet paper tube Black, white, yellow/orange cardstock Googly eyes (optional, or…

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Free fun in the Nature Playscape

Photo of child crossing a swinging bridge

Open all day every day, the Nature Playscape is a perfect place for families to enjoy the Okoboji outdoors. Located in Kenue Park, just outside the Dickinson County Nature Center, the playscape offers a variety of recreational play items. “Just another one of our free offerings, the Nature Playscape is a hit with kids of…

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Test your prehistoric hunting abilities during Family Nature Night

Photo of youth throwing spear with atlatl

Atlatl is an odd word. This ancient spear-throwing tool was used by prehistoric peoples in Iowa to achieve greater velocity when hunting with spears. It’s probably not something you’ve seen, or even heard of, but you can try your hand at using one during Family Nature Night 7 p.m. Friday, June 28, at the Dickinson…

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Five answers to questions about wood ticks

Photo of a wood tick

A hard shell, long legs, a bad reputation. Know what I’m talking about? It’s the wood tick (Dermacentor variabilis), or American dog tick! More than a dozen tick species can be found throughout Iowa, but the most common is the wood tick. Iowa State University Extension & Outreach has a great publication on wood ticks,…

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Four Iowa swallows

Photo of a tree swallow sitting on a post

Bright birds with forked tails that swoop and dive around you — we see a lot of these in Kenue Park. They’re definitely swallows, but can you tell which kind? In Iowa, you’re likely to see four different kinds of swallows: Barn swallows, tree swallows, cliff swallows and purple martins. They’re quite similar, but relatively…

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Purple martins are the largest swallow in the U.S.

Photo of a male and female purple martin

A colony of white, gourd-like houses hang on a large pole outside of the Dickinson County Nature Center. Around them flies dozens of gliding, floating, flitting dark birds — purple martins. Local birder and owner of Bird Haven in Spirit Lake Wendell Hansen has cared for the purple martins for many years, and last June…

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Osprey Diary: Loving Okoboji

Photo of osprey on nest

Iowa is a wonderful place for us to nest and raise our chicks each year. There is plenty of food. There is not too much competition for nesting sites. The temperatures are just right. Plus, there is plenty of nesting material. I was happy when I returned that last year’s nesting platform hadn’t been taken…

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