Interpretive Naturalist Programs
August 27 -
September 3, 2012
Following is a list of programs offered by Whitewater State Parks Interpretive Services. Stop at the visitor center, call (507) 932-3007 extension 226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. There is no charge for 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.
Monday, August 27
You’re lost in the wilds of the Whitewater Valley. It’s getting dark. You’re cold and wet. What would you do? What should you do? We’ll play a survival game! You’ll get tips that could help you survive potentially life-threatening situations. Handouts with survival tips will be distributed.
Time at the Beach – Mini Monsters
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.
Tuesday, August 28
1-2p.m. Nature Time at the Beach – Tracking and Plaster Casts
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 behind, your kids will get a souvenir of their Whitewater visit!
Meet at the beach.
Wednesday, August 29
1-2p.m. Nature Time at the Beach – Fun with Minnesota State Symbols
Have fun learning about Minnesota’s state symbols through games and hands-on activities. Meet at the beach.
Thursday, August 30
1-2p.m. Nature Time at the Beach – Butterflies
Join a naturalist at the beach to learn about the amazing butterflies of Whitewater State Park. We will use nets to catch, observe and release butterflies we find near the beach. Bring your own net if you have one.
6:30-8p.m. Bird Banding Demonstration
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, August 31
Time at the Beach – Kids Bird Walk
Hey kids, do you want to learn about the birds of Whitewater State Park? Join a naturalist at the beach for a short hike to find hidden birds in the forest. You will learn some of the calls of our most common birds and how to attract them to your own backyard. Wear shoes for the hike. Meet at the beach.
2:30-3:30pm: Go In Seine at the Beach
Many small creatures live in Whitewater’s cold water streams and at the beach. Come get wet and wild as we use a seine (net) 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 live in the beach pool? Meet at the beach.
8:30-10pm. Owl Prowl
We often hear them calling in the dark of night, but most of us are unfamiliar with the elusive creatures known as owls. At this program, you will learn how to identify the owls of Whitewater State Park by their calls as well as by their appearance and habitat needs. After the presentation, we will go “prowling” for owls using our newly learned owling skills. This program is guaranteed to be a “hoot” for all ages!
Saturday, September 1
Baby Turtle Rescue Field Trip
Program held off site.
Twenty miles from Whitewater State Park, the eggs of rare Blanding’s turtles are now hatching. These 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 patrolling on bike and helping a few of them cross the road. Reservations are required; Space is limited. Call (507) 932-3007, ext. 226 to sign up. Bring your own bike.
2-2:45p.m. Wildlife Puppet Show at the Visitor Center
Hey kids! Want to meet some of Whitewater’s wildlife? Do you like to sing songs? If so, bring your parents to the visitor center for a fun time. Find out about the first time our Naturalist met a skunk!
3:30-4:30p.m. Introduction to GPS and Geocaching
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 new Avian Adventure geocache.
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, September 2
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 this catch and release activity.
12:30-2p.m. Bird Banding Demonstration
See Thursday, August 30 description.
2-3:30p.m. Scavenger Hunt and Nature Games at the Beach
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.
4-5p.m. Fish Printing
“Gyotaku” is the name for the ancient Japanese art of making prints of fish on paper. This method was also used by anglers who practiced catch and release fishing before cameras. Come try your hand at this art form while learning more about the fish that live in Southeast Minnesota. You’ll get to make a fish print postcard to bring home. Meet at the beach.
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, September 3
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. 1-2pm: Nature Time at the Beach: 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!