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Whitewater State Park Naturalist programs (08/28/2011)
August 31 – September 4, 2011

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

Wednesday, August 31

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.

Thursday, September 1

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.

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, September 2

1-2p.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 an hour of family fun! Meet at the beach.

8-9pm Live Bald 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.

Saturday, September 2

8:30-11am Baby Turtle Rescue Fieldtrip - 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. Reservations are required

9:30-11:30 Tag A Monarch - Learn about our amazing native butterflies. After a power point presentation, we take a short hike 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.

2-3pm 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.

3:30-5pm GPS and Geo-caching for Beginners - – 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.

Sunday, September 4

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.

12:30-2:30pm Bird Banding Demonstrations – See Thursday’s description.

1:30-3:30p.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, to display your collection, will be distributed. Bring transportation, as the site is nine miles from the park.

3:30 – 4:30p.m. Rocks Rock!!! - Hey kids, do you enjoy finding neat rocks? Then join us for a short hike as we play rock bingo and learn about the different processes that formed the rocks of Whitewater State Park. We will end our program by making a pet rock you can keep! Wear shoes that can get wet.

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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