Outdoors Today

Mantids: Methodical predators

This week's featured creature in a very large, very long-bodied and long-legged predator from the insect world. It is called the Chinese Mantis (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis). Only two species, both introduced to North America, known to Iowa. They are the Chinese Mantis and the Carolina ...

Pathways to environmental education

At the beginning of October, I will have worked for Marshall County Conservation for one year. As I continue to get settled into my role as naturalist, the project list continues to grow. Leading the list of the many programs and projects I would like to accomplish at Marshall County ...

A different side of the outdoors

While I've considered myself a fisherman ever since my dad showed me how put worm on a hook, there is another popular outdoor activity that, until recently, had been a mystery to me: hunting. It's one of those activities that is much easier to get into when you have a friend with the ...

Links in the food chain

Small critters are everywhere...if we take the time to look for them. We need to observe carefully, and hopefully learn how they fit into nature's life cycles. What follows is just a minute amount of information about arachnids (spiders). And of course you should know that spiders are not ...

Coyotes adapt and improvise

COYOTES are smart, cunning, adaptable and almost everywhere. Even our cities and towns have this animal cruising at its leisure during night time hours while us humans are asleep. But in the morning, if our pet's food dish left outside is empty, it could just be that a wild canine helped ...

Mighty migrators on beautiful wings

MIGRATION is not something just for birds. As today's image suggests, a Monarch butterfly could be compared to "Flowers of the Wind." Monarchs are easy to see and a delight to watch. Since the last generation of Monarchs is nearly completing its chysalis stage, it will be programmed with all ...

Lazy summer, lazy river

The IOWA RIVER just keeps poking along, steadily and silently giving an outlet to surface water runoff and ground water table seepage. Granted, this summers lack of significant rain has not added appreciable amounts of runoff water. From its headwaters at Crystal Lake in Hancock County to the ...

Fish & Game

FISH & GAME numbers and trend lines of population dynamics is full time work for Iowa DNR wildlife biologists. At research stations, data is collected and the numbers are crunched to help provide an overview of how any wildlife population is doing. Iowa's winter weather has a lot to do ...

Birds are preparing for migration

SANDHILL CRANES are cool. Maybe a series of other terms would be more appropriate such as majestic, regal, powerful, graceful in flight and smooth sailors of the airwaves. Whenever I see them, or just hear them, a mental image of this big bird comes instantly to mind. A smile from my face is ...

Straight shooters earn awards

STRAIGHT SHOOTERS are what they call themselves. They are students from all area high schools that have chosen to take up a shooting sport as part of their education. They learn lots of things and primary on this list is respect for firearms, not fear of them. They learn safety essentials ...

Green Castle celebrates 40 years

GREEN CASTLE as a public park will soon be 40 years old. To help celebrate, you all are welcome to join in activities, good food, visit with friends, go hiking, fishing, paddle around the 16 acre lake in a canoe or kayak, play volleyball at a newly installed deep sand court, and listen to ...

Explore the magic of a tall-grass prairie

SPRING HILL is the name Carl and Linda Kurtz gave to an 80-acre parcel of land they purchased long ago. Kurtz being a native prairie enthusiast, saw the potential of bringing back the native grassland vegetation of the area. They have been successful in achieving that goal. The grasses and ...

Keeping what matters in mind

Leaving behind a beloved space is always difficult, whether it’s an apartment, a childhood home or, in my case, a house with a view of the Olympic Mountains. Those who graciously read my outdoor column about a year ago know that, throughout my childhood, I’ve made trips to western ...

This big fish did not get away

BLACK CRAPPIE (Pomoxis migromaculatus) are just one of the Sunfish family of fishes. In general, the sunfish family is a group of spiny-rayed fishes native only to the North American continent. There are twenty-five species of sunfish and eleven are native to Iowa waters. Biologists further ...

Water is a magnet for recreation

SAND LAKE is a Marshall County-owned parcel of land and water. Today's image was made last Tuesday. Public land and the actual property lines would take in most of the middle segments. Land and water to the far west side and far east sides are still privately owned. The date was in 1999 ...

Ready, set, fish at Kid’s Fish Derby

FISH ON will be the shouts heard from near and far when July 8 arrives. Riverside Cemetery will be the location. Time for the Kid's Fish Derby will be 8 a.m. until noon. For young kids on their first fishing outing, or even if they have been there in past years, it does not take long for a ...

Dancing Duo

SANDHILL CRANES are cool, majestic, tall and big. As birds go this long legged marsh bird likes water and secluded places to live. They are easy to spot if you go to the right places such as bogs, marshes, wetlands or open prairies. Summer time will find them at these sites where nesting is ...

Some treasures come in small packages

The HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) is the featured creature of the day. This sparrow-sized bird is very common and has an interesting history to why it has become so bountiful over the entire North American continent. It was a bird originally found in the western United States and Mexico. ...

A worthy conservation connection

IZAAK WALTON was an outdoors person of the 17th century. He was an English philosopher and he loved to fish. A dedicated conservationist was another of his titles because his outdoor adventures and observations in England allowed him to understand the relationships between healthy land, clean ...

Some fun facts about fawns

FAWNS are being born at this time of year after a seven month gestation period. And with new spring vegetation sprouting all over the place filling forests and grasslands with green leaves, wildlife babies will find places to hide, their mothers will more easily find a wider variety of foods, ...