We could have made a red-eared slider turtle coloring page, but why not make it a little more interesting and add a connect-the-dot activity too? Click here for your free printable connect-the-dot sheet. Turtle finger puppet template Turtle or tortoise — they’re different creatures, but you can make this fun finger puppet into whichever you…

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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 a paper plate turtle shell

Turtles come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Some are light green with long necks. Some are dark green. Some have stripes of yellow, and some have orange highlights. They all have one thing in common, though — their domed shell. A paper plate makes for the perfect turtle shell, so it’s an easy craft…

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Photo of Ada Hayden

One of the Dickinson County Nature Center red-eared sliders is named Ada, after Iowa conservationist Ada Hayden. Ada Hayden was born in 1884 in Ames, and she became an important conservationist early on through her botany mentor Louis Pammel. She studied botany at Iowa State College, now Iowa State University, and graduated in 1908. She…

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Sketch of Sylvan Runkel

The name of the two salamanders that live at the Dickinson County Nature Center are Sy and Manny. Manny’s name wasn’t very creative, to be honest. It comes from sala”man”der. Sy’s name, however, is in honor of famed Iowa conservationist Sylvan Runkel. Runkel was born in 1906 in Jacksonville, IL, and he graduated from Iowa…

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Sy and Manny the tiger salamanders live at the Dickinson County Nature Center in different aquariums, but we think that they would be the best of friends if there were outside in the wild together. What do you think? Click on this link to download our salamander Mad Libs story to fill out. Let us…

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Photo of luna leopold

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 was born in 1915 in…

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Photo of paper hedgehog

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 Staples or glue Scissors Begin…

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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! Turtle connect-the-dots We could have made a red-eared slider turtle coloring page, but why not make it a little more interesting and add a connect-the-dot activity…

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Photo of paper plate toad

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 or markers Scissors Brown construction…

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