OKOBOJI, Iowa (KEYC) — The Dickinson County Nature Center will host a grand opening of the Pollinator Paradise additions to the center at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16.
The nature center will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pollinator Paradise is a $1.2 million donor-funded project that began in 2017. Construction on the project was completed in March 2018.
“The goal of Pollinator Paradise is to educate while people are having fun,” Dickinson County Nature Center Community Relations Coordinator Kiley Roth said. “We want visitors to learn that one in three bites of food that we take is due to pollinators, and without them we wouldn’t have foods that we love such as apples, blueberries, almonds, avocados and coffee. Pollinator populations are decreasing, and it is up to us to help bring them back.”
Visitors who visit the exhibit will experience a life-size apple orchard where children can dress up as a blue orchard mason bee and collect faux pollen to launch into the stigma of a flower and watch as it moves from tree to tree with the help of bees.
“The nature center staff traveled to see the exhibits in fabrication at Heartland Scenic Studio in Omaha (Nebraska), and we had so much fun trying everything out,” said Roth. “We know that if we had that much fun with the exhibits as adults then our visitors of all ages are going to enjoy them even more.”
Additional exhibits in the new Pollinator Paradise include Magic Monarchs, where guests will be able to see the live monarch life-cycle in the summer and create butterfly wing designs using tiles and a mirror, Build A Pollinator and Save the Pollinators, a digital game where people of all ages can create a pollinator garden.
Following the grand opening, Pollinator Paradise will be open during the Dickinson County Nature Center’s regular operating hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, year-round.
Donations are still being accepted for the Pollinator Paradise project, which also counts as a tax-deductible when donors make the payment out to the Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County on their website. Visitors are encouraged to click the “Donate” button at the bottom of the page and write “Pollinator Paradise” in the “Notes to Seller” section.