luna leopold

Animal ambassador conservationists: Luna Leopold

May 11, 2020

Luna the hedgehog’s name works on multiple levels. First, luna means moon in Spanish, and since the Dickinson County Nature Center’s African pygmy hedgehog is nocturnal, a name meaning moon is quite apt. Second, like many of our animals, Luna is named after a famous conservationist — Luna Leopold. Leopold Read More »

paper hedgehog

Accordion paper hedgehog

May 11, 2020

Hedgehogs are known for the spines, the way they protect themselves from predators. They’re spiky but adorable, and this simple paper hedgehog shows off both sides of these nocturnal animals! To make your own paper hedgehog, you’ll need: Two sheets of brown construction paper in two different shades Black marker Read More »

Learn Spanish nature words

May 7, 2020

Learn a variety of Spanish nature words in this video and then test your newfound vocabulary skills with a special worksheet. Just click here to download the free worksheet!

basswood tree

Trees of Dickinson County: Basswood

May 6, 2020

It seems like, when people list the trees of Iowa, that many don’t think about, or possibly know about, basswood (Tilia americana). However, basswood is a common tree that occurs statewide and is often interspersed with maples and oaks. Size Basswoods grow 75-100 feet or more, and they grow quickly. Read More »

paper plate toad

Paper plate toad

May 4, 2020

Toads are such overlooked creatures. They’re a little lumpier and a little drabber than frogs, so they tend to be viewed as not as cute. However, we love toads! So we wanted to make a fun toad craft that you can do at home. You’ll need: A paper plate Crayons Read More »

Aldo Leopold

Animal ambassador conservationists: Aldo Leopold

May 4, 2020

The great plains toads at the Dickinson County Nature Center are named Al and Wally. 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 Read More »

cottonwood seeds

Trees of Dickinson County: Cottonwood

April 29, 2020

If you walk around the Iowa Great Lakes, you’ll see plenty of towering cottonwood trees (Populus deltoides). They live to be 80-100 years old, although they have weak branches that struggle to withstand ice and rain. The heartwood of the trunk tends to rot inside a cottonwood, and sometimes when branches Read More »

button turtle

Button turtle

April 27, 2020

People love to spot turtles in the wild. Snapping turtles, painted turtles, softshell turtles — it is so fun getting to see these truly unique creatures. Let’s celebrate turtles right at home by making a button turtle craft. You’ll need:A printed templateColored pencils, crayons or markersButtonsGlue Print out our button Read More »

Theodore Roosevelt

Animal ambassador conservationists: Theodore Roosevelt

April 27, 2020

Teddy the ornate box turtle at the Dickinson County Nature Center is named after former president and conservationist Theodore Roosevelt. 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 Read More »

Celebrate Arbor Day with a tree cookie maze

April 24, 2020

Lucky is a woodland leprechaun who makes her home in a tree, so naturally, she loves trees! She is helping us celebrate Arbor Day and trees each day of the year. Watch her lesson on trees and then click the tree cookie maze photo to download a free printable maze!

Photo from memory match game

Bird egg memory match game

April 24, 2020

Naturalist Ashley Hansen talks about how amazing bird eggs are — from the myriad of colors to the variety of sizes. You can learn even more about bird eggs by downloading our bird egg memory match game! Simply print off the pieces on cardstock, cut them out and match eggs Read More »

bur oak trees

Trees of Dickinson County: Oak

April 22, 2020

Iowa’s state tree is the oak, although the State Legislature never designated a specific species of oak. The state has 12 species of native oak trees: Pin oak Red oak Shingle oak Northern pin oak Black oak Blackjack oak White oak Bur oak Swamp white oak Chinkapin Post oak Dwarf Read More »

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