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Whitewater State Park Naturalist programs (06/19/2011)
June 20-27, 2011

All programs begin at the Whitewater Valley Visitor Center (Park Office) unless otherwise noted.

Monday, June 20

1-2p.m. Beavers at the Beach - Beavers are back in Whitewater State Park, and they’ve been spotted at the beach! We’ll dress a ‘volunteer’ youngster up as a beaver, showing their many fascinating adaptations. Then everyone will meet “Bob” the beaver puppet, make their own beaver puppet, and hear a beaver story. Finally, we will explore the area for signs of beavers. Meet at the beach.

Tuesday, June 21

1-2p.m. Mini Monsters at the Beach - Many small creatures live in Whitewater’s cold water streams and at the beach. Get wet and wild as we use nets to search for some of Whitewater’s miniature water monsters! Find out about the interesting critters we share the swimming hole with. How does life in the stream differ from life in the beach pool? Meet at the beach.

Wednesday, June 22

1-2p.m. Snakes at the Beach - Water snakes live at the beach. What other snakes live in the park? Sixteen of Minnesota’s seventeen kinds of snakes live in the Blufflands. Stop by anytime during this period to see live fox snakes and talk with a Whitewater State Park Naturalist. Bring a camera for a picture of your loved one with a snake! Meet at the beach.

Thursday, June 23

1-2p.m. Dragonflies - Dragonflies have been soaring the skies on planet Earth for millions of years and once had wingspans up to several feet wide. Meet at the beach to learn more about these amazing insects. We’ll play a game, explore the shoreline for dragonfly nymphs and even make a craft you can take home! Wear shoes that can get wet!

6:30-8:30p.m. Bird Banding Demonstration - Want an up close encounter with birds? If so, join Rochester area bird banders, led by Greg Munson, for this exciting activity! A fine mist net will be used to capture birds visiting the visitor center feeding station. Dozens will likely be caught. Program participants will have the opportunity to handle and release birds after they have been studied, observed and banded with an aluminum tag. Find out how this scientific tool helps wildlife researchers learn more about bird populations and their natural history, including where they go and how long they live. Find out what has been learned about Whitewater’s birds! These demonstrations will take place at this time every Thursday evening and Sunday afternoons from 12:30 to 2:30 through summer!

Friday, June 24

1-2p.m. Fish Printing - “Gyotaku” is the name for the ancient Japanese art of making prints of fish on paper. This method was also used by anglers who practiced catch and release fishing before cameras. Come try your hand at this art form while learning more about the fish that live in Southeast Minnesota. You’ll get to make a fish print postcard to bring home. Meet at the beach.

3:30-5p.m. GPS and Geocaching 101 – Want to have some fun discovering how to use a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit? In addition, you’ll find out about the great sport of geocaching. (It’s like a treasure hunt using a GPS unit!) If you have a GPS unit, bring it. If not, you can use one of the park’s! We will go as a group to find the park’s Wildlife Safari geocache.

Friday, June 24, continued

8-9p.m. Go Batty! – All seven of Minnesota’s bats live in Southeastern Minnesota’s Blufflands. Separate fact from fiction about these fascinating little animals. Play a bat game! See a bat video! Eat some bat treats! We will most likely see a large number of bats emerge from the bat houses at the visitor center. Free bat house plans will be available.

Saturday, June 25

8-9a.m. Treats and Tweets - Join us at the visitor center’s feeding station for good bird watching, treats (hot beverages and cookies) and conversation. The feeding station is the best place in the park to see birds. With a microphone near the feeders, we will hear them well. Learn of the park’s recently returned peregrine falcons.

10-10:45a.m. Nature Scavenger Hunt – Hey kids! Do you like scavenger hunts and playing games? Want to get to know the wildlife of Whitewater State Park? If so, grab your parents and join us for some family fun!

10:30a.m.-12p.m. Tracking and Plaster Cast Making - Did you make casts of animal tracks as a youngster? Whether you did or not, there’s a good chance your kids would love to. Besides finding out about Whitewater wildlife and the clues they leave, your kids will get a souvenir of their Whitewater visit! Meet at the beach.

2-4p.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, to display your collection, will be distributed. Bring transportation, as the site is nine miles from the park.

8-9p.m. Live Eagle! – Want to see a live bald eagle up close? Tonight you can! Bring your camera. Staff from the National Eagle Center in Wabasha will be at Whitewater to share with us the tremendous comeback story of our national bird. With a live eagle they will introduce the bald eagle’s life history and why the Mississippi River and the Blufflands are so important to the eagle’s survival.

Sunday, June 26

10:30a.m.-12:00p.m. I Can (Trout) Fish! - Yes you can! You can trout fish right here in Whitewater State Park! Join us at the South Picnic Area for a fun time fishing. Rods, reels, and tackle will be provided at this activity designed to introduce trout fishing to inexperienced anglers, families and youth groups. Youngsters must be accompanied by an adult. Bring your own bait; worms often work best. Fishing licenses and trout stamps are not required when fishing during the activity. This program will be offered at Whitewater every Sunday morning through summer.

12:30-2:30p.m. Bird Banding Demonstration – See Thursday’s description.

2-3p.m. Nature Bracelet Making – Have you ever wondered how Minnesota’s native plants can be used to make tools and living necessities? During this program you’ll learn to make strong twine from native fibrous plants and take home a homemade bracelet! Meet at the beach.

Monday, June 27

1-2p.m. Camouflage Walk – Some animals blend in so well with the forest that you won’t even see them unless you’re very observant. On this walk, we’ll look for model animals that are hidden ahead of time. As we walk we’ll learn about animals that live in Whitewater State Park and their adaptations for staying hidden. Meet at the beach.

All of these activities 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. See the touch screen exhibit with its introduction to the park and flood video. In addition, a number of other nature and history related videos are available for free viewing in the visitor center. The Elba Fire Tower is open for the season! The park staff hopes you enjoy the spectacular Bluffland resources of Whitewater State Park!



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