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Whitewater Park programs (05/23/2004)
MAY 28 - MAY 30, 2004

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

Marnach House Open House**** - The Second Annual Berry Festival will take place at the historic stone Marnach House this Saturday and Sunday from 10a.m. to 4p.m. The parking lot for this pioneer home, built in the late 1850's, is located in the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area two miles north of Elba on State Highway 74. The home was restored by Luxembourg stone masons in the 1990's. A $5 per person fee covers wagon rides (on the hour) to the home, dessert and beverage. Quilting and blacksmithing demonstrations will be given as well as tours of the home and a Wildlife of the 1850's program listed below. All proceeds to towards the maintenance of this unique, historical structure.

Friday, May 28

8-9p.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 survival will be distributed.

Saturday, May 29

1:30-2:30p.m. Poisonous Plants and Animals of Whitewater - What can "get" you in this park? Where are they found? How can you avoid them? Get to know a few of the plants and animals in Whitewater that can make your visit memorable for the wrong reason!

3:30-4:30p.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.

6-7:30p.m. Birds of the Blufflands Walk/Field Trip - Join Andy and Joyce Buggs on this leisurely walk in search of Whitewater's birds, including orioles, hummingbirds, and rose-breasted grosbeaks. Families are welcome. Binoculars and bird brochures will be available. Bring transportation, as we will drive a short distance to the trailhead.

Sunday, May 30

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? Bring transportation, as the site is nine miles from the park.

12-2p.m. Wildlife of the 1850's (Activity conducted at the Marnach House) - What wildlife did the pioneer Marnach family find when they settled in the Whitewater Valley in the 1850's? Among those that they saw were black bear, wolves and bobcat. Get to know the wildlife of the Whitewater Valley, past and present any time during this two-hour period at the pioneer Marnach House. The House will be open 10a.m. to 4p.m. You can walk the 1.6 mile one way trail to the house or get a ride in on the hour. (A $5 fee covers the ride, entrance dessert and beverage. Proceeds go to the Marnach House maintenance fund.) The walk, or ride, to the house begins at the parking lot near the Whitewater Wildlife management Area Headquarters two miles north of Elba on Highway 74.

1-2p.m. Nature Scavenger Hunt - Hey kids! Do you like scavenger hunts and playing games? Want to find out more about the wildlife at Whitewater State Park? If so, grab your parents and join us for an hour of family fun!

Mid-Afternoon Yellow Lady's Slipper Walk - The yellow lady's-slipper and showy orchis are still in bloom! See these orchids as well as other favorite spring wildflowers. Bring transportation for the short drive to the trailhead. The walk is moderately strenuous. Call 507-932-3007 extension 7, or stop at the visitor center for reservations and exact time.

6-7p.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 spring'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!

8-9p.m. Return of the Wild Turkey - The return of the wild turkey is one of wildlife management's greatest success stories. 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.

Most of 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 new beaver exhibit. A number of history and nature related videos are available for free viewing in the visitor center. 


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