Following is a list of programs offered by Whitewater State Parks Interpretive Services. Stop at the visitor center, or call (507) 932-3007 extension 0 for additional information. There is no charge for most of these programs, but state park vehicle permits are required. Permits, available at all state park offices, cost $5 for a daily, $25 for a regular annual and $12 for a handicap annual. Activities begin at the Whitewater Valley Visitor Center (Park Office) unless otherwise noted.
Thursday, May 24, 6-8pm
Bird Banding Demonstration
Want an up close encounter with birds? If so, join Rochester area bird banders 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!
Friday, May 25, 7-9pm
Minnesota Frog & Toad Survey
Throughout the twilight hours of spring and summer, Minnesota’s frogs and toads can be heard calling from wetlands. But can you identify who is calling by the sounds you hear? Join Master Naturalist volunteer, Megan Schimek, to learn about our frogs and toads and the various calls they make. After an indoor presentation, we will visit locations in the park and wildlife management area to survey singing frogs and toads. Information gathered from this citizen science program will be submitted to the Minnesota Frog and Toad Calling Survey program. Bring your own vehicle.
Saturday, May 26, 9-10:30am
Orchids of Whitewater State Park Walk
Join a naturalist in search of our beautiful and fascinating orchids, including the yellow lady’s-slipper, of Whitewater State Park. As group size is limited for the walk, call the park at (507) 932-3007 ext. 0 or stop at the visitor center, to reserve your spots. Bring transportation as we drive a short distance to the trailhead.
Saturday, May 26, 10am–Noon
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.
Saturday, May 26, 1-3pm
Snakes Along the Root River State Trail
Learn about some of the fascinating snakes you may encounter along the Root River State Trail. A Whitewater State Park naturalist will be stationed between Whalen and Lanesboro, near the Whalen end, with live snakes for you to see and touch. Find out how we can safely coexist in the blufflands with timber rattlesnakes.
Saturday, May 26, 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.
Saturday, May 26, 5:30-7pm
Ghost Town Cemetery Visit
The town of Beaver was abandoned in 1938 after repeated flooding. This ghost town cemetery holds many stories of pioneers, civil war veterans, Minnesota conservation hero Richard Dorer and others who have lived in the Whitewater Valley. Join us for a cemetery visitand learn some fascinating history about the Whitewater Valley. We’ll end with a reading of Richard Dorer’s book of poems titled, “The Ghost Tree Speaks”. Bring your own transportation as the cemetery
is located 5 miles north of the park. We’ll begin at the Visitor Center.
Sunday, May 17, 10:30am-Noon
I Can Trout Fish
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 through Labor Day weekend.
Sunday, May 27, 12:30-2pm
Bird Banding Demonstration
See the description for Thursday, May 24th.
Sunday, May 27, 1:30-3pm
Return of the Peregrines
After nearly a half century absence, peregrine falcons have returned to nest on the cliffs of Whitewater State Park! This is a long awaited event. Meet at the Nature Store parking lot for a short walk to observe the nest site. With spotting scopes and binoculars it is likely we will see adults and young. Join us as we celebrate their wonderful return.
Sunday, May 27, 5-8pm
Biking to Save the Turtles
Each spring rare Blandings Turtles lay their eggs at a site twenty miles from Whitewater. Females leave their wetlands and cross a busy road en route to their sand prairie nesting area. You can help this threatened species survive by assisting them across the road. Last year we moved dozens! Participants, ten years of older, will patrol the road on bicycles. Space is limited. Call(507) 932-3007, ext. 226 to sign up.
Monday, May 28, 10-11am
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. See a live fox snake. Bring a camera for a picture of your loved one with a fox snake around their neck!
Monday, May 28, 1-2pm
Nature Time at the Beach
Hey kids! Join a naturalist at the beach for a fun, hands-on nature activity. Different activities will be offered each weekday, Memorial Day – Labor Day. From frogs, to dragonflies and rocks, birds and arts and crafts; you’ll learn about nature at Whitewater State Park. Children must be accompanied by an adult.