Wednesday, May 8, 2002

 

Spring migration keeps bird club busy

by Frank Schnurstein, President, HVAS

The month of May, for the Hiawatha Valley Audubon Society, began with a Butterfly program on May 1 attended by over 80 people. We also have field trips scheduled to leave from Lake Park Lodge on Saturday, May 4 at 9am; Thursday, May 9 at 5:15pm; and Tuesday, May 14 at 5:15pm. Migratory birds are the main focus of these 3 free trips and the public is invited to participate. Club members will also participate in other programs along the river. For more information on these field trips and ANY OF THE EVENTS LISTED BELOW, click on the calendar button at the club's website: www.hvas.org <http://www.hvas.org>
May 11 is a club migratory bird count in Winona.
On Saturday, May 18, Migratory Bird Day will be celebrated at the Trempealeau Wildlife Refuge. Club members will participate in many of their activities and the club is a co-sponsor of the event, along with The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of the Upper Mississippi River Refuges and Wenonah Canoe. For more information on this event: call 608 539-2311.
Also on May 18, club members will participate in a Migratory Bird Count at Whitewater State Park. Later on Saturday afternoon, the Audubon Ark arrives in Winona for festivities along the levee. Audubon's Upper Mississippi River Campaign sponsors this boating event on the river. The HVAS is a co-sponsor here in Winona.
On Sunday, May 19, crew members of the Ark will take people for birding boat rides at 8a.m.
Another birding event that may be of interest is the Bluff Country Bird Festival, Fillmore County, Minnesota, May 17-19. For more information, call 1-800-428-2030.
There are other events throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Click on the calendar button at www.hvas.org <http://www.hvas.org> for more information.


Whitewater park programs

MAY 18, 2002
All programs, unless otherwise noted, begin at the Whitewater Valley Visitor Center (Park Office).
9:00am-12noon International Migration Day Count
Join veteran birders Andy and Joyce Buggs on Whitewater's part of this international effort to document migratory birds. Participants will observe a great variety of birds, which will likely include white pelicans, sandhill cranes, hawks, shorebirds, and many colorful songbirds. Binoculars, scopes, and bird brochures will be available.
Early Afternoon Morel Mushrooms and Wildflowers in Abundance
Morels, Minnesota's state mushroom, are up and wildflowers are everywhere! On this easy walk we'll look for both. Given a good harvest, we'll saute' and sample the mushrooms we find. Find out how to minimize the negative impacts of mushroom hunting and wildflower observation/photography. As group size is limited call 507-932-3007 or stop in the visitor center for reservations and exact time.
Late Afternoon Caving Field Trip
Want to explore a small wild cave? This is your chance! After an introductory slide show, we'll walk, crawl, and slither into its passageways. Find out how caves form and how they can relate to groundwater concerns. There is no limit to the number of people that can attend the slide show at 4:30pm. However, group size is limited for the caving portion of the activity. Reservations are required. Stop in, or call the visitor center at 507-932-3007 for field trip time and reservations. Cavers need to bring flashlights, transportation, and wear long pants and shirts they don't mind getting dirty. These programs are provided free of charge, but state park vehicle permits are required. In addition to attending programs, you are invited to use the park=s self-guided interpretive services, including visitor center exhibits and self-guided trails. See the nearly completed "A River Reflects its Watershed" exhibit. A number of nature and history related videos are available for viewing in the visitor center.


Shooting range improvement grants available

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials say they still have grants available to help groups improve safety and facilities at shooting ranges across the state.
"The Shooting Range Advisory Committee met in April and recommended funding about $250-thousand in range improvement projects to 19 groups this year with another $175-thousand in grants still available," said Chuck Niska, DNR Shooting Range Coordinator. "The committee is urging ranges considering improvements to apply for the remaining $175-thousand now since work can be done up to June 30, 2003." The Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR) made the grants available. LCMR funds are a combination of lottery and cigarette-tax money to fund conservation-oriented projects.
Funds are available for rifle and pistol range construction or rehabilitation; trap and skeet range construction or rehabilitation; environmental safeguards; compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; and utility enhancements. Ineligible projects include operational and maintenance costs, new clubhouses, land acquisitions and in-kind contributions of labor and materials. The applicant must finance 50 percent of the entire project with non-state funds.
DNR Enforcement will distribute the grants at the recommendation of an advisory group which includes representatives from the shooting sports industry, hunting and conservation organizations, hunter education and the DNR.
"We've helped fund minor and major improvements at 70 shooting ranges across the state since implementing the program in 1999," Niska said. "Clearly, having a safe place to practice rifle, handgun or shotgun skills is important. The state has about 400 shooting ranges, people who own firearms should be able to practice using them safely."
Any shooting organization interested in applying for a grant should contact Niska at (651) 297-2449 or via email:
chuck.niska@dnr.state.mn.us. Applications are also available through the DNR's website, at the following web address:
"www.dnr.state.mn.us/omb/financialassistance/shooting.html"



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