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 red-eared slider

The Dickinson County Nature Center has two red-eared slider animal ambassadors. Red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) are found throughout the United States, but that hasn’t always been the case. These aquatic turtles are natively found in the southeastern United States from Texas to Alabama north to southern Ohio and into Kansas. Their native watersheds may…

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Photo of an ornate box turtle

Shells, claws and tails — turtles can seem confusingly similar. However, if you know a few key differences to look for, you can soon confidently identify some common turtle species in Iowa. There are 13 turtle species known in Iowa, but we’re going to look at just five — Blanding’s turtles, painted turtles, red-eared sliders,…

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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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Photo of finger paint bottles

  For Nature Tots last week, the theme was Turtle Power! To celebrate our reptile friends, we decorated our own turtle shells using our thumbprints, and this is a great and easy activity you can do with your little ones at home. Start out by drawing a large turtle on your sheet of paper. (Watch:…

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Photo of a red-eared slider turtle

See more about the Dickinson County Nature Center’s other turtle ambassadors: Teddy the turtle looks for a friend Five facts you probably didn’t know about painted turtles 7 things Teddy the turtle wants you to know

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In June 1981, Dickinson County Conservation Board entered into a maintenance agreement to refresh an exhausted county gravel pit into a county park. It started as only six acres, so small it looks like only a dot on a map of the Iowa Great Lakes area. The original document included on a 10-year agreement, but…

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Photo of a stream winding through the prairie

Bobolinks nesting in the prairie, Blanding’s turtles resting by the stream, bald eagles flying overhead — a walk through the Judd Wildlife Area allows some of nature’s finest to show off. Twenty years ago, the Dickinson County Conservation Board looked to add a public recreation area south of Milford, and a Wildlife Habitat Stamp grant…

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