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Whitewater State Park Naturalist programs (07/24/2011)

July 23-August 1, 2011

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

Saturday, July 23

1:00-2:30p.m. Wildlife of Whitewater Walk - Join a naturalist for a fun family walk to learn about the fascinating wildlife of Whitewater State Park. We’ll look at some skulls, pelts, tracks and other animal items before heading down the trail in search of wildlife.

2:30-3:30p.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.

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.

Sunday, July 24

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 – 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 6:30-8:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoons from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. through summer!

2-3p.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. A slide show about area snakes and live snake program will be given. Bring a camera for a picture of your loved one with a fox snake around their neck!

Tuesday, July 26

1-2p.m. Water Games at the Beach - Come join us at the beach to play active games associated with water and the creatures that live in the water. As we play the games, you’ll learn about the water cycle, the life cycle of a northern pike and other interesting topics!

Wednesday, July 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.

Thursday, July 28

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.

6:30-8:30p.m. Bird Banding Demonstration – See Sunday’s description.

Friday, July 29

1-2p.m. Nature Twine Making – Have you ever wondered how Minnesota’s native plants can be used to make tools and living necessities? Learn how to be a survivor in the forest. During this program you’ll learn to make strong twine from native fibrous plants and take home some twine that can be made into a nature bracelet! Meet at the beach.

3:30-4:30p.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. A slide show about area snakes and live snake program will be given. Bring a camera for a picture of your loved one with a fox snake around their neck!

8-9p.m. Mystery Animal Slideshow - Join us for Whitewater’s game show. Guess the animals, get points, and win prizes! (Everybody wins!) The whole family will enjoy this unique, participatory slide show on Minnesota’s wildlife.

Saturday, July 30

8-9a.m. Tweets and Treats - 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 and see them well.

10a.m.-12p.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.

2:30-4p.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.

8-9:30p.m. Night Hike - Join us for a sensory-filled hike exploring Whitewater State Park at night. We’ll start with a short presentation at the Visitor Center then head out to listen and look for creatures of the dark. Bring your own flashlights.

Sunday, July 31

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 last Sunday’s description.

2:30-3:30p.m. Frogs and Toads - Fourteen different species of frogs and toads live in Minnesota. Meet at the beach to find out which ones are found in Winona County and learn more about these amazing amphibians. We’ll explore the shoreline for frogs, toads, and tadpoles and even make a craft you can take home! Wear shoes that can get wet.

Monday, August 1

1-2p.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!

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!  

 

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