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Whitewater State Park Naturalist programs (08/14/2011)

August 17-23, 2011

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

Wednesday, August 17

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!

Thursday, August 18

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.

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

Friday, August 19

1-2p.m. Bird Watching for Kids – Join us for an interactive program to learn about the birds of the Whitewater area. We’ll play a game and learn how to use binoculars during a short walk to find stuffed birds hidden along the trail. Meet at the beach.

6-8p.m. Campfire Jam-Along - Bring your own bluegrass instrument or just your voice and join us behind the Visitor Center for a campfire jam-along. Visitors are welcome to come listen too! This program will be held indoors if raining.

Saturday, August 20

9-11a.m. Archery in the Park - Ever wanted to try archery but just haven’t had the time or access to equipment? Join us for an introductory program to learn the basic skills and safety information that will help you become comfortable using a bow and possibly help you develop a lifetime interest in one of the safest sports around. All equipment will be provided. Children under age 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Meet at the South Picnic Area.

12:30-2p.m. Make a Walking Stick – Join us for a real hands-on activity making your own walking stick. We will transform buckthorn, an invasive species, into a practical tool you can take home with you. We’ll also learn how you can stop the spread of other invasive hitch-hikers when you’re hiking, fishing, and recreating at Whitewater State Park!

3-4p.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. 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.

Sunday, August 21

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.

2-4p.m. Tag a Monarch - Learn about our amazing native butterflies. After a power point presentation, we will divide up into teams and spread out around the park to catch, tag and release monarch butterflies. You will be part of on-going research to study the migration of these incredible insects. If you have a butterfly net of your own, bring it along.

Tuesday, August 23

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! 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. Get a great view of the valley from Elba Fire Tower! The park staff hopes you enjoy the spectacular Bluffland resources of Whitewater State Park!



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