All programs, unless noted, begin at the Whitewater Valley Visitor Center (Park Office).
Thursday, October 16
10a.m.-12p.m. Hawk Walk
On thermals and northerly winds, many hawks and vultures are now starting their annual trips to wintering grounds.
Given good winds, seeing dozens is a possibility.
Birds of prey that have been seen on past walks include bald eagle, osprey, broad-winged hawk, Cooper's hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, northern harrier and American kestrel.
Join us for what often proves to be a memorable experience.
Binoculars and several bird brochures will be available.
This will be a moderately strenuous walk to a bluff top.
1-3p.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? Bring transportation, as the site is ten miles from the park.
Friday, October 17
11a.m.-12p.m. Seasons of the White-tailed Deer * Whether you hunt, photograph or just love to see white-tailed deer, we're all intrigued by these animals. How many have you seen during your visit to Whitewater? Though it's hard to believe, in the early 1900's there were no deer in the Whitewater Valley! Discover how they returned and their interesting world in this video/short walk program.
Afternoon Caving Field Trip - Want to explore a small wild cave? This is your chance! After an introductory slide show, we'll walk, crawl, and slither into its passageways. Find out how caves form and how they can relate to groundwater concerns. There is no limit to the number of people that can attend the slide show at 1p.m. However, group size is limited for the caving portion of the activity that follows. Caving reservations are required. Stop in, or call the visitor center at (507) 932-3007 extension 7, for field trip time and reservations. Cavers need to bring flashlights, transportation, and wear long pants and shirts they don't mind getting dirty.
Saturday, October 18
12-1p.m. 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. Get an update on this summer's rattlesnake sightings. A slide show about area snakes and live snake program will be given. A bullsnake and a timber rattlesnake will be on hand, literally! Bring your camera for a picture of a snake wrapped around your loved one's neck.
2-3:30p.m. Nuts and Teas if You Please - Fall's abundance is upon us! On this short, easy walk we'll discover some common wild edibles of the Blufflands. Bring your mug for some tea! Black walnuts and butternuts will be available for cracking.
Late Afternoon Kayaking for Beginners * Guest Presenter Tom Fassbender of Red Tail Outfitters - Ever want to try kayaking but have never had the chance? This is your chance! With the help of Tom Fassbender, owner of Winona's Red Tail Outfitters, you'll be able to try a kayak at Whitewater's beach. Experience this increasingly popular way to enjoy Minnesota's waters. Find out about kayaking opportunities in the Blufflands and the state. Participants must be at least 12 years of age. Meet at the beach. Call (507) 932-3007 to reserve your twenty-minute time slot!
These programs 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, including visitor center exhibits and self-guided trails. See the "River Reflects Its Watershed" exhibit. History and nature related videos are available for free viewing in the visitor center.
Whitewater State Park naturalist programs will be reduced for the remainder of the year. Due to state budget reductions summer intern funding was eliminated last year. In addition, this year funds are not available for an AmeriCorps naturalist assistant position. There will be a reduction in scheduled naturalist programs as well as requested programs for schools and other organized groups. We are sorry for this inconvenience, and hope funding can improve in the future to provide the level of interpretive services that has been offered in the past.
You can help support Minnesota State Park Interpretive and Resource Management Programs by shopping at the Nature Store. The Nature Store, ? mile south of the visitor center on Highway 74, offers books, post cards, T-shirts, mugs, wildlife posters and much more. The Nature Store will be Saturday and Sunday 9a.m.- 4:30p.m.