August 29 - 31, 2003
All programs, unless otherwise noted, begin at the Whitewater Valley Visitor Center (Park Office).
Friday, August 29
8-9p.m. Return of the Wild Turkey - The return of the wild turkey is one of wildlife management's greatest success story. They were gone from southeastern Minnesota's Blufflands for a century, but now they're back. Discover this comeback as well as the natural history of this fascinating, wary bird. Find out why they're so hard to hunt, photograph and even see. We'll dress a youngster up in camouflage clothing and try various calls.
Saturday, August 30
Morning - Baby Turtle Rescue Field Trip - Twenty miles from Whitewater State Park the eggs of rare Blanding=s turtles are now hatching. These one and one quarter inch diameter babies have to cross a busy road as they travel over a mile from their sand prairie nests to the safety of their parents= wetland. On this field trip, you can help this threatened species survive by helping a few of them cross the road. After patrolling sections of the road, participants will gather to discuss what was found and to share a delicious sand prairie grown watermelon. Bring transportation, hat, water and sunscreen. Reservations are required as group size is limited. Call the park during weekday business hours at (507) 932 - 3007, or stop at the visitor center, for reservations, meeting location and time.
12-1p.m. Survival! - You're lost in the wilds of the Whitewater Valley. It's getting dark. You're cold and wet. What would you do? At this evening's video/discussion program, you'll get tips that could help you survive potentially life-threatening situations. Handouts on winter survival kits, hypothermia, and frostbite will be distributed.
2-3p.m Go in Seine at the Beach - Many small creatures live in the Whitewater River and at the beach. Come get wet and wild as we use a seine (net) to search for some of Whitewater's miniature monsters! How do the animals in the beach differ from those in the stream? Find out what you're sharing the swimming hole with! Meet at the beach.
Sunday, August 31
8:30-9:30a.m. Treats and Tweets - Baltimore orioles, ruby-throated hummingbirds, rose-breasted grosbeaks are among the many birds that regularly visit the visitor center's feeding station. Join the Park Naturalist for some good birding, treats (hot beverages and cookies) and conversation. The feeding station is the best place in the park to see birds!
10:30a.m.-12:30p.m. Fossil Field Trip - On this trip you will find and can keep fossils of plants and animals that lived here hundreds of millions of years ago. They were on earth long before the dinosaurs! What can they tell us about this area's past? Fossil cards for your collection will be handed out. Bring transportation, as the site is nine miles from the park. 1:30-2:30p.m. Snakes of the Blufflands - Sixteen of Minnesota's seventeen kinds of snakes live in the Blufflands. Learn how we can live, work and recreate in the Blufflands and still conserve these awesome creatures. Get an update on this summer's rattlesnake sightings. A slide show about area snakes and live snake program will be given. A bullsnake and a timber rattlesnake will be on hand, literally!
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 "River Reflects Its Watershed" exhibit. A number of history and nature related videos are available for free viewing in the visitor center.
Whitewater State Park naturalist programs will be reduced for the remainder of the year. Due to state budget reductions summer intern funding was eliminated last year. In addition, this year funds are not available for an AmeriCorps naturalist assistant position. The park's educational staff has been reduced to one. There will be a reduction in scheduled naturalist programs as well as requested programs for schools and other organized groups. We are sorry for this inconvenience, but hope funding can improve in the future to provide the level of interpretive services that has been offered in the past.
You can help support Minnesota State Park Interpretive and Resource Management Programs by shopping at the Nature Store. The Nature Store, _ mile south of the visitor center on Highway 74, offers books, post cards, T-shirts, mugs, wildlife posters and much more. The Nature Store will be open Monday through Saturday 9a.m.-4:30p.m. and Sunday 10a.m.-4:30p.m.