Following is a list of programs offered by Whitewater State Parks Interpretive Services. 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.
Mondays, December 3, January 7, February 4 & March 4
7-8pm: Natural Resources Career Exploration Series
Area youth ages 16 - 21 are invited to participate in a natural resources career exploration series at Whitewater State Park the first Monday of each month, October - April. Check with your science instructors about receiving extra credit for attending! Each month a different natural resource professional will present about their field of work. From Conservation Officers to Foresters and Biologists to Naturalists; participants will learn about the necessary education, experience and skills needed for a career in the natural resources field. Sign up for this series by calling 507-932-3007 ext 226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sunday, December 9
1-3pm: Beavers in Winter
Come learn how beavers survive the long winters. After a short indoor presentation,
we’ll snowshoe or hike out to a nearby beaver lodge. Bring your own snowshoes or use the park’s. Friday, December 28 and Saturday, January 24
7-8:30pm: Moonlight Owl Prowl by Snowshoe
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 on a snowshoe walk to call to the owls. Bring your own snowshoes or use the park’s.
Tuesday, January 1
8:30am: 17th Annual Christmas Bird Count
Explore the area’s winter wonderland on foot for short walks and/or by car as you document wintering birds. Anyone with an interest in birds, regardless of birding experience, is invited to participate. Counters will meet at the Whitewater Valley Visitor Center in Whitewater State Park starting at 8:30am. Warm beverages will be provided and there will be a fire in the woodstove. What a great way to start the New Year!
Saturday, January 5
10 – 11am: Introduction to Winter Trout Fishing
Cabin fever setting in yet? Come learn about winter trout fishing with George Spangler of the National Trout Center. Participants will discover the winter habits of Whitewater’s trout and some great tips and techniques for catching them. Bring your own equipment if you plan to fish after the program. A lightweight rod and your favorite reel are recommended along with any small spinners, jigs our lures that you prefer. The winter catch and release trout season runs from January 1 to April 13, 2013.
11:15am – 12:15pm: Golden Eagle Program
Find out about golden eagles in the blufflands from the man who knows them best. Scott Mehus, National Eagle Center Education Director and Golden Eagle Project Co-coordinator, will share his 18 years of experience observing golden eagles in southeast Minnesota and Wisconsin. You’ll learn how to identify golden eagles in the wild and some of the best places to look for these elusive raptors.
1-3pm: Golden Eagle Survey Training
Scott Mehus of the National Eagle Center will host this training session to prepare volunteers of the January 19th Wintering Golden Eagle Survey. There will be an indoor classroom portion and an outdoor session practicing Golden Eagle identification in the field. To sign up for this training, email email@example.com or call 507-932-3007 ext 226.
Saturday, January 12
1-3pm: Whitewater’s CCC Camp by Snowshoe
Whitewater Park was little more than woods and streams before the Civilian Conservation Corps arrived in 1934. One of the first social programs to pull Americans out of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt’s CCC brought
hundreds of rambunctious young men to the forests and fields of the state park. Before they left, they cut trails, tamed the river and built a swimming beach. After an indoor presentation by Master Naturalist volunteer, Dr. Rick Musser, park volunteer Judy Shepard will lead a snowshoe hike to explore some of the park structures built by the CCC boys. Bring your own snowshoes or use the park’s.
Saturday, January 19
10am – 12pm: Wintering Golden Eagle Survey
This survey is part of a study being done by the National Audubon Society, Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs and the National Eagle Center to better understand the golden eagles that winter in southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin. After a short introduction at Whitewater State Park’s visitor center, groups of participants will visit sites that golden eagles have frequented in past years. Binoculars, spotting scopes and brochures will be available. Participants must have attended the Golden Eagle Survey Training on January 5th to participate.
Saturday, January 26
7-8:30pm: Moonlight Snowshoe
Explore the quiet beauty of a winter night in the Whitewater River Valley. Under a full moon, snowshoeing is a special treat! Short readings from Thoreau, Frost, and Leopold will be read during this easy, ½ mile snowshoe walk. Snowshoes are provided. Hot drinks will follow the outing. Bring your own snowshoes or use the park’s (first come, first served).
Fridays in February
10:30am – 12pm: Friday Frolics on Snowshoes
Join a naturalist each Friday morning throughout the month of February for outdoor exploration on snowshoes. We’ll visit the forest, streamside and meadow to look for signs of wildlife and to explore the winter world with our senses. Young and old are invited to join us. Bring your own snowshoes or use the park’s (first come, first served). Large groups need to call ahead.
Sunday, February 3
12:30 – 3pm: Pioneer Home Cross Country Ski
After a short introduction at the Whitewater State Park Visitor Center, we’ll drive
up the road to the 27,000 acre Wildlife Management Area for a ski trek out to the Marnach House, a stone home built by Luxemburg pioneers. Enjoy the solitude of the Whitewater Valley in wintertime as you learn about the settlement of the valley. Bring your own skis! Reservations are required. Sign up by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24
Maple Syrup Making for the Whole Family
Celebrate spring in Whitewater State Park’s sugar bush! This activity will introduce the long history of maple syrup and sugar making, as well as the equipment and procedures used. Participants will help tap trees, gather and boil sap and best of all taste pure maple syrup! No sign up required. Program times are posted on the Whitewater State Park website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater/index .
Large groups, such as schools, Scouts and 4-H, can schedule their own maple syrup programs by emailing email@example.com