Photo of 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…

Photo of 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…

Photo of a 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…

Photo of 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…

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…

Photo of 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…

Thumbprint tree

April 21, 2020

The world has about 3 trillion trees and more than 60,000 different species. However, trees are very specific to their environments. More than half of the tree species in the world only grow in a certain country. Trees are positives for the environment for so many reasons, from absorbing excess…

Photo of basswood tree

Trees give us oxygen

April 20, 2020

We love trees for many reasons. They give us shade. They’re beautiful. They are homes and food sources for a variety of animals. Plus, they give us clean oxygen to breathe! To eat, trees go through a process called photosynthesis. To do this, their leaves pull in carbon dioxide and…

Photo of common yellowthroat

Northwest Iowa breeding warblers

April 14, 2020

Warblers are quite the mystery. They fly high and sit high in the trees when they do land. They flit quickly. They are tiny. Some look a lot alike. However, for most birders, warbler season is one of the highlights of the year. Most warblers simply migrate through Iowa, especially…

Noxious weed policy 2020

April 14, 2020

Dickinson County weed commissioner Douglas Todey has released the 2020 noxious weed policy. The policy was approved by the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors at its meeting Tuesday, April 14. “…each owner and each person in the possession or control of any lands in Dickinson County shall cut, burn, or…

Photo of an eastern comma

Are You Smarter Than a Naturalist?

April 13, 2020

To celebrate Earth Day, we wanted to cover a variety of topics and challenge you — are you smarter than a naturalist? [wp_quiz id=”9950″]

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