MN Nature Activities: Feb 19–29

Down south it may feel like the snow is out but up north the reports are good. Be sure to call the park or be prepared to hike instead of skiing or snowshoeing for events below. Listed events free unless otherwise noted (State parks require car stickers $5/day or $25/year).

 

* * * * * 2/19 2016 * * * * *

2/19–2/21
Winter Workshop $$$
(Cost: $190) Try some new things at this Winter workshop, like: bee keeping, wild ricing, beginning snowshoe, dark house fishing, DIY back to nature, orienteering, backyard birding and feeder basics, beginning cross-country skiing, wood burning, snowshoe biathlon, advanced dark house fishing, intro to trapping, turkey calls, and intermediate cross-country skiing. Fee includes Friday night–Sunday afternoon lodging, meals and snacks, three outdoor skill classes, two evening programs, and campfires. Instruction and equipment (and fun!) are all included but feel free to BYO ski gear. Registration: For questions or to register contact Kathy Braswell at 1-888-280-9908.
Deep Portage ELC (Hackensack)

2/19–2/21 Annual Cryogenic Knap-in
10 AM-6 PM daily. Learn how to make arrowheads and knives from stone. Advanced classes Friday (with some of the best knappers in the Midwest), Ooga-booga Friday night in the tipi, live music Saturday night. MORE.
Hairy Mosquito Trading Company (Milaca, MN)

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* * * * * 2/20 2016 * * * * *

2/20–2/21 Snowmobile Checkpoint – Trail Center Open House
9 AM–4 PM enjoy Minnesota’s snowmobile trails in the four corners of the state during the month of February! Four state parks, one each weekend of the month, will be hosting a warming house that will celebrate our diverse trail system. Stop in for refreshments and take a “selfie” photo that will capture you as you explore our winter. It’s a great way to kick off the year and celebrate the Minnesota state parks and trails 125th anniversary!

February 6-7 Sibley State Park
February 13-14 Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
February 20-21 Bear Head Lake State Park
February 27-28 Maplewood State Park

Bear Head Lake State Park

2/20 Master Naturalist Course — North Woods, Great Lakes $$$
8 AM–5 PM every other Saturday ($275) Learn about geology, plant and animal communities, inland lakes and bogs, ecology and human interactions of the Northwoods, as well as how Lake Superior impacts and interacts with these ecosystems. Many guest speakers and site outings. A capstone project is expected of participants, as well as the commitment to volunteer 40 hours during the year. Meals are on your own (we have a full kitchen with refrigerator/microwave that you are more than welcome to use). Fee includes course manuals and supplies. More Info.
Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center (Schroeder)

2/20 Flying Wild Workshop (Teachers & Youth Leaders) $$$
9 AM–4 PM ($25) Flying WILD, a program of the Council for Environmental Education, introduces students in grades 5-9 to bird conservation through standards-based classroom activities and environmental stewardship projects. Activities include Bird Olympics, Grizzly Gizzards, Light as a Feather, Egg-stravaganza, Food Chain Tag, Feeder Frenzy and many more! Participants will receive the Flying WILD Activity Guide, along with a copy of One Bird Two Worlds, a Minnesota-based science curriculum, is designed for use with 5th grade to 8th grade as a year-long science theme, or tailored to an 8-week concentrated unit. The curriculum focus of birds, forest, and people is woven together with a travel scheme, by our ambassador bird the Baltimore oriole, by our sister state Costa Rica, and by our common ecosystem, forests. To register, or for more information, contact Sandy Kispert at audubon1@audubon-center.org, or 320-245-2648.
Audubon Center of the Northwoods (Audubon Road, Sandstone, MN 55072)

2/20 Fly Tying (Women)
9–11:30 AM Course designed for women with little or no fly tying experience, this clinic is designed to teach you basic fly tying skills with “hands on” instruction.
Afton State Park

2/20 and 2/21 Snowshoe Lacing 2-Day Workshop $$$
9 AM–3:00 PM (Saturday) and 10 AM–2 PM (Sunday) ($75) Learn how to lace a pair of Ojibwe (pointed end) style snowshoes to help you enjoy Minnesota’s winters. Presenters will teach attendees how to string the laces on pre-built wooden snowshoe frames. The $75 registration fee includes the snowshoe kit and materials. Lunch will not be provided, so attendees should bring a sack lunch. To register, contact the park office at (320) 734-4450 ext 221 or e-mail Cara Greger at angelo_greger@fedtel.net
Lac Qui Parle State Park

2/20 Snow Bomb Fat Bike Race & Chili Cook-Off $$$
10 AM–7 PM (Race day registration will be available for $35 beginning at 10AM; registration ends 30 minutes prior to the race start) The Snow Bomb is a criterium-style fat bike race hosted by Winona Area Mountain Bikers (WAMB). This event is for all ages, abilities, and bikes, but fat bikes are encouraged, as the race takes place on the groomed Holzinger Trail System. The race will consist of 2-hour (Endurance) or 1-hour (Sprint) Criterium-style race on the Holzinger trails. Bring a new Fat Bike.

On-site registration will open at 10:00 AM the morning of the race and run until 11:30 AM.
Race starts at high noon. Little Ripper’s Race will start at 11:00 AM.
Awards for the races and the Chili Cook-Off will be held at 4:00 PM following the completion of the race.
Don’t forget about the World Famous WAMB Chili Cook-Off. We’ll be taking chili entries during registration. If you think you make great chili, fill a crockpot, and see who can knock off last year’s winner. We’ll provide the bowls, utensils, and all the fixin’s.

Holzinger Lodge in Winona, MN

2/20 Burn Brush, Invasive Removal —Volunteer Stewardship Project
10 AM–2 PM Come join in this “cool” volunteer project! We will warm up by burning brush piles and if there isn’t enough snow, do some invasive brush removal. See the site’s web page for a map and description. This event will be led by the Lost Valley Prairie Site Steward, Jim Smetana. No advance sign-up, but contact us if you have a large group.
Lost Valley Prairie SNA

2/20 The Bog in Winter
10 AM Lake Bemidji’s bog attracts people in summer for its orchids and in fall for its colors, but what about winter? Ski or snowshoe out to this special part of the park to learn more about how it changes with the seasons. Be prepared to be out for about 2-1/2 hours, and bring a snack and water (roundtrip distance is about 2 miles). Snowshoes will be available free of charge, bring your own cross-country ski equipment. Meet at the park office. (We will hike if there’s not enough snow!)
Lake Bemidji State Park

2/20 Snowshoe Fort Snelling
10 AM–11:30 AM Burn a few extra calories and learn about an ancient mode of transportation. Equipment provided and registration required. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy winter boots, and meet at the Visitor Center. Call 612-725-2724 to register.
Fort Snelling State Park

2/20 Let’s Snowshoe!
10 AM–3 PM Is snowshoeing on your bucket list, but you don’t have the equipment? Well, now is the time! Get a short intro to snowshoes, and the basic fundamentals of snowshoeing. Then you can check out the snowshoes, explore the park, look for tracks and wildlife, really get a feel for snowshoeing. Practice til 3 pm. There are a limited number of snowshoes, so please call the park office at 651-433-0500 to sign up. *We do need 6 inches of snow on the ground to snowshoe; if there is a lack of snow, the program will be cancelled.
William O’Brien State Park (meet at the Visitor Center)

2/20 Snowshoe Saturdays
10 AM–Noon Explore the great outdoors with us! Bring your own snowshoes or use the ours. Call (507) 932-3007.
Whitewater State Park

2/20 Nature Story Time
10:30 AM–11 AM (Geared for kids ages 5–9 years old) After reading through a children’s storybook, we’ll show and tell some fun and interesting nature items relating to the story. The program will also have a craft, game or other hands-on learning experience.
Jay Cooke State Park (meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

2/20 Animal Tracks Snowshoe Hike
11 AM program start, hike 1–2:30 (1.5 miles) Guided snowshoe hike through forest and prairie while looking for animal tracks. This is a great way to discover what animals live among us. Snow shoe trail is an hour and a half, walking up or down a couple of steeper hills covering about two miles. If there isn’t enough snow, the event will become a hike.
Fort Ridgely State Park (Chalet, Golf Course Clubhouse, parking lot)

2/20 Fat Bike Fun Race $$$
Grab your fat tire bike for a circuit-style race on a 12-foot-wide packed trail. 5K beginner race starts at 1:15 PM; 10K action race starts at 2:15 PM. Raffle prizes at 3:30 PM. Limited number of rental bikes available; call 763.694.7777 to reserve. Concessions available for purchase. Open to the first 50 racers. Preregistration ends February 17.
Cleary Lake Regional Park (Prior Lake)

2/20 Family Classic Cross-Country Skiing $$$
12 PM to 1:30 PM, Ages 6+ ($15/person; $22 ages 6-12 with ski rental; $26 ages 13+ with ski rental) A fun lesson for kids and adults together. Learn the basics of putting on equipment, falling down/getting up, diagonal stride and stopping. Registration: Register at www.ThreeRiversParks.org
Hyland Lake Park Reserve, Bloomington

2/20 Hike, Click, Send
1–3:30 Take Hike, Take a Picture, Send a Postcard! Starting February 7 and every weekend during February, visitors can send their photo on a postcard to someone special. Here’s how it works: Check out a camera at the park office (or use your own). Hike to Hidden Falls and take a picture, keep going for a longer hike if you like. When you return, staff will take your picture (or use one from your hike), print it and attach it to a postcard backing. You will address the postcard with a brief note to someone special, maybe even a Valentine. Be sure to bring the address! We will drop it in Monday’s mail. Your picture postcard can be printed between 1 and 3:30 p.m. in the Visitor Center.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

2/20 Outdoors Women: Intro to Snow Shoeing
1–3 PM Designed for women to learn alongside other women, this program will introduce participants to the basics of snow shoeing. All equipment will be provided. To sign up, email sara.holger@state.mn.us or call 507-932-3007 ext 226.
Whitewater State Park

2/20 Snowshoe 101
1–2:30 PM Discover the quiet enjoyment of this low-impact sport. Begin in the Visitor Center Theater for a brief history and basic instructions. Then join the naturalist for a gentle hike to the CCC Camp looking for signs of wildlife and winter wonders. Bring your own snowshoes or borrow a pair from the park. There are a limited number of adult and children’s snowshoes, so please call the park office at 218-595-7100 to sign-up. *We do need 6 inches of snow on the ground to snowshoe, if there is a lack of snow, a winter walk will occur.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

2/20 Fly Tying Workshop
1–3 PM Come join the Friends of Camden for a fly tying workshop. Learn the basics of fly tying with vetran fly fisherman Jay Brown and take home your newly tied flies! This workshop will be limited to 12 particpants and will be meeting at the heated Group Camp shelter building. Call the park office to sign up (507) 865-4530. Tying equipment will be provided. A small fee may be charged to cover supplies.
Camden State Park

2/20 Snowshoeing
1–3 PM Explore the landscape by snowshoe. Use the park’s snowshoes or bring your own. Register at sara.holger@state.mn.us
White Water State Park

2/20 After the Birds Learned to Fly
1:30–3:30 PM In June 2015, as part of the Twin Cities Urban Bird Festival, PlaceBase Productions and refuge volunteers performed Birdwatching Theatre on the paths of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The performers visited four flocks of Refuge birds and observed their behavior through the eyes and imagination of an eight year old birdwatcher. Over the course of this theatrical journey audiences explored the history of the refuge, the history of the South Loop Community in Bloomington, and the lives and behaviors of over 25 of the Refuge’s feathered residents. Prepare for laughter, music, dancing, and luxurious costumes in this original, jaw-dropping, community-driven performance available on film in the comfort of our auditorium
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (Bloomington Education and Visitor Center Auditorium)

2/20 Owl Hooting Snowshoe Hike
3–6 PM Explore North Country Trail at Dusk (125 Miles).
Itasca State Park (meet at the North Country Trail Head at the South Entrance Itasca State Park; along Highway 71)

2/20 Winter Digital Photography
4 PM to 5 PM Learn some tips and tricks about shooting photos.
Flandrau State Park (meet at the playground at the Beach House in the Day-Use Area)

2/20 Candlight Hike —Volunteer Opportunity!
4:30–6:30 PM Light lanterns, help guests park; or 6–8 PM welcome and direct guests to event. Stay to enjoy event! If you are interested in volunteering with set-up, lighting or take-down of candles please call the park as well (320)852-7471.
Lake Carlos State Park

2/20 Candlelight Ski
5–7 PM Join us for a luminaire-lit ski through the pines!
Zippel Bay State Park (meet at the Residence, located just behind the contact station)

2/20 Candlielight Ski and Snowshoe
5:30–8:30 PM Ski approximately one mile through forest and prairie by the light of luminaries. Or, snowshoe around an luminary lit trail from the Visitor Center and loop around the beach area. Bring your own skis. Snowshoes will be available for $6.00 rental for the evening. Join us in the great room at the Visitor Center afterwards for refreshments and goodies. For event updates due to weather or more info call (218) 754-2200.
Lake Bronson State Park

2/20 Soup and Sandwich Sampling
5:30–6:30 PM Join the Douglas Lodge staff and cast your vote for your favorite soup and sandwich samples. Help choose the next flavors for the upcoming summer season at the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Cafe!
Itasca State Park (Inside the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center)

2/20 Itasca’s Lantern Lit/Candlelight Snowshoe and Ski Event
5:30–8 PM Come out and ski or snowshoe by the light of the moon and the kerosene lanterns along the trail. Trail follows the Many Lakes Road (South Entrance). Classic ski, skate ski or snowshoe at your own pace along the lantern lit route during this drop-in program. For added fun, bring along your s’mores fixings or hot dogs for cooking at the campfire or stop in and warm up at the Jacob V. Stick around to cast your vote on best soup (see event details below)!
Itasca State Park (meet at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center)

2/20 Candlelight Hike –Final of the season!
6–9 PM Hit the trails, where you will be guided by the full moon and candle luminaries. Then come warm up by the wood stove or enjoy snacks and refreshments in the Lakeview warming shelter.
Lake Carlos State Park

2/20 Gooseberry Candlelight Event
6–8:30 PM Create a unique park memory by discovering Gooseberry Falls by candlelight. Ski, snowshoe or hike trails lit by candlelight under a starry sky. Beginner and intermediate trails available. Warm up by the fire and enjoy a hot drink. If you are interested in volunteering with set-up or lighting of candles please call the park at (218) 595-7100.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

2/20 Candlelight Event / Celebrate Winter at the Park
6–8:30 PM The 1 mile trial around Cataract Lake will be groomed and lit for skiers, snowshoers, and hikers. Snowshoes will also be available for your use if you would like to try them. Participants over the age of 16 who will be on skis will need a Minnesota Ski Pass. You can purchase a day pass at the office for $6 or an annual pass for $20. Hikers and snowshoers do not need a ski pass. The Friends of Maplewood will have chili, hot drinks, and a bonfire starting at 5:00 PM, with the 150 candles lit at 6:00. Come out and enjoy a winter evening at Maplewood State Park
Maplewood State Park

2/20 Candlelight Ski
6–9 PM (1+ mile) In case of no snow, a hike will be held in lieu of the ski. In case of severe weather conditions, the event will be cancelled. For more information, call Beaver Creek Valley State Park, 507-724-2107.
Beaver Creek Valley State Park

2/20 Candlelight Ski, Snowshoe or Hike
6 PM to 9 PM Enjoy skiing by the light of the moon, with candle luminaries to help guide the way. Two separate ski routes and a snowshoeing route are prepared for this popular annual event. Refreshments will be served and a shuttle bus will run continuously between the trail center and the interpretive center. Ski rental is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Live music to follow (see event below). In case of poor ski and snowshoe trail conditions the event will be held as a candlelight walk, with a 2 mile and a 1/2-mile hiking trail. This event is co-sponsored with the Natural Resource Club of Central Lake College.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

2/20 Itasca’s Music Under the Pines: Lori Goulet Reich
6:30 PM to 8 PM Warm up by the fireplace in the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center and join Lori Goulet Reich, a Lake Itasca transplant from the suburbs of Minneapolis. Lori performs a variety of music best described as acoustic folk and alt-country flavored music. She also has played in various bands both classic rock and country, so come enjoy a variety of well-known tunes.
Itasca State Park

2/20 Music at the Park
7–9 PM Live music will be provided by Hans Blix and the Weapons Inspectors. This Brainerd-based musical group will play old-time fiddle tunes, Irish and folk music.

2/20 Full Moon Snowshoe Hike
7–8 PM (1+ miles) Go stomping through the snow and woods at Minneopa State Park (waterfalls side) by light of the moon only! Snowshoes can be rented at Minneopa State Park by calling 507-389-5464 or stopping off at the office. If there isn’t enough snow it will become a hike.
Minneopa State Park (meet at the waterfalls area)

 

* * * * * 2/21 2016 * * * * * *

02/21/16 Snowshoeing 101 – PROGRAM FULL
1–2:30 PM
Fort Snelling State Park

02/21/16 Family Snowshoeing with Hot Cocoa  $$$
1–2:30 PM Ages 4+ ($6) Explore snow banks, search for animal tracks and warm up with cocoa afterwards. Equipment provided. Reservations required. French Regional Park, Plymouth

02/21/16 Take a Hike, Take a Picture, Send a Postcard
1–3:30 PM heck out a camera at the park office (or use your own). Hike to Hidden Falls and take a picture, keep going for a longer hike if you like. When you return, staff will take your picture (or use one from your hike), print it and attach it to a postcard backing. You will address the postcard with a brief note to someone special, maybe even a Valentine. Be sure to bring the address! We will drop it in Monday’s mail.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

02/21/16 Women’s Snowshoeing $$$
3-4:30 PM Ages 8+ ($5) Explore this Minnesota winter sport with a guided hike through scenic parks. Equipment provided. Register at www.ThreeRiversParks.org
French Regional Park, Plymouth

2/21 Full “Suckerfish Moon” Snowshoe Hike
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM Snowshoe by the light of the full moon. February is known as the Sucker Fish moon in Native American culture. Learn about Ojibwe storytelling during a short indoor presentation before being led outside on snowshoes under the tranquility of the full moon. Child and adult snowshoes are available. Program space is limited. Please call ahead to register. 218-384-4610 x. 229.
Jay Cooke State Park (meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

 

* * * * * * 02/21 2016 * * * * * *

02/22/16 Full Moon cannapopa wi Snowshoe
6:30–8 PM The Dakota and Lakota called the full February moon cannapopa wi, or the moon when the trees crack because of the cold. Travel on snowshoe under this full moon reflected on snowy ground as we discover the reason for the phases of the moon and we are tied to it emotionally and physically. Snowshoes are available for borrow. Call or email to reserve yours today. Program will be canceled if temperatures are below zero WITH WINDCHILL. In that case it will be rescheduled for the following day. Dress appropriately for conditions. Program will take place as a hike if snow depths aren’t sufficient.
Sibley State Park

 

* * * * * * 02/22 2016 * * * * * *

2/22 Bird Watching Trek
8:00–10:00 AM Join us for a winter season bird walk. Trumpeter Swans, a mix of Ducs, Rough-legged Hawks, Bald Eagles and Northern Shrikes are a few of the species that have overwintered on the Refuge. Bring along your binoculars, favorite field guide and dress appropriately for the weather as we search for these and other overwintering species of birds on the Refuge.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (meet at the Bass Ponds)

* * * * * * 02/24 2016 * * * * * *

02/24/16 Wednesday Trail Walks
1–2:30 PM Discover the natural outdoors along a park trail. Call 651-231-6968.
Gateway State Trail (Meet at the trail parking at Jamaca and Jeffrey Ave)

 

* * * * * * 02/25 2016 * * * * * *

02/25/16 Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee meeting
10 AM–3 PM The AIS Advisory Committee was appointed by DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr in December 2012 to help the DNR maintain strong relationships with AIS stakeholders. Advice and recommendations from the 16-member committee, and four ex-officio members, is used to help guide the department’s activities. Committee members bring a range of personal and professional experience to the discussion about how to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals in our lakes, rivers, and wetlands.
Great River Regional Library (1300 West St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN 56301)

02/25/16 Snowshoe for Fun
1–2:30 PM Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in winter! Explore Lake Bemidji State Park at this special time of year, because it won’t last much longer! Snowshoe for Fun will meet every other Thursday, with each trip visiting a new area of the park and increasing in challenge. Come once or come all four times! Please call ahead to reserve snowshoes (modern or traditional; free of charge) or bring your own. Call (218) 308-2300.
Lake Bemidji State Park (Meet at the park office)

02/25/16 Public Meeting: Proposed “No Wake” Restriction on Middle Lake
7–9:30 PM The slow/no wake restriction is being proposed for the following reasons:
• To protect the existing aquatic plant community from the physical disturbances associated with motorized boat traffic.
• To enhance waterfowl habitat and use.
• To increase public safety within a Sibley State Park canoe-friendly area used as a practice route for people heading to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA).
Sibley State Park Interpretive Center

 

* * * * * * 02/27 2016 * * * * * *

02/27/16 PLT “Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood” workshop $$$
8 AM–11:30 AM ($75) More info. Contact Deb Colling at 651-464-8777 or by email at deb@pla-inc.org.
Forest Hills United Methodist Church, Forest Lake

2/27 Bird Watching Trek
8:00–10:00 AM Join us for a winter season bird walk. Trumpeter Swans, a mix of Ducs, Rough-legged Hawks, Bald Eagles and Northern Shrikes are a few of the species that have overwintered on the Refuge. Bring along your binoculars, favorite field guide and dress appropriately for the weather as we search for these and other overwintering species of birds on the Refuge.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (Wilkie Unit)

02/27/16 PLT K-8 Activity Workshp
9–3 PM (For K-8 educators) Get in-depth, hands-on activities from Project Learning Tree to use with your K-8 students. Your students will love engaging in activities that use trees, forests, and the outdoors as window to the world.  Lessons in the book cover language arts, math, science, social studies, and art. The book also covers a wide variety of topics that appeal to learners in grades K-8, such as: making sensory observations, poet-TREE, ecology, trees and forest products, field studies, mapping, decision-making, American Indian story-telling, renewable energy, and more. Instructors from the Audubon Center of the North Woods will lead. Cost: FREE! Includes PLT book, lunch, 5 CEUs To register, call or email Laura Duffey laura.duffey@state.mn.us, 651-259-5263, with your name, email, phone number, school/organization you teach, grades you teach, and any dietary restrictions you may have for lunch. Preview the PLT K-8 Activity Guide. Come early or stay late to hike the quiet trails of the north woods. Bring your snowshoes!
Audubon Ctr of the North Woods, Sandstone, Minnesota

02/27/16 – 02/28/16 Snowmobile Checkpoint – Trail Center Open House
9–4 PM Come and enjoy Minnesota’s snowmobile trails in the four corners of the state during the month of February! Four state parks, one each weekend of the month, will be hosting a warming house that will celebrate our diverse trail system. Stop in for refreshments and take a “selfie” photo that will capture you as you explore our winter. It’s a great way to kick off the year and celebrate the Minnesota state parks and trails 125th anniversary!

February 6-7 Sibley State Park
February 13-14 Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
February 20-21 Bear Head Lake State Park
February 27-28 Maplewood State Park

Maplewood State Park

2/27 Plant Walkabout: The Winter Perspective $$$
9:30 AM–noon ($41 members/$55 non-members, includes Arboretum admission) Jim Calkins, a landscape and production horticulturist, is the Research Information Director at the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association as well as a former University of Minnesota instructor. When you purchase plants, especially perennials, garden center staff always assure you that they will add “winter interest” – dogwood stems will turn red, grasses will produce gorgeous seeds…. But how do you know whether such plants will actually enhance the view from your kitchen window or just disappear under yet another snowdrift? Come take a walk with Jim, who will guide you around the Arboretum in winter and show you exactly what your woody and herbaceous, flowering and fruiting plants will look like once they’ve lost their leaves and blossoms. Jim will also explain what steps you can take during the growing season to help them look their best in winter. Dress for the weather! Sign Up Here.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (meet 2nd floor Classroom in the Snyder Visitor Center)

2/27 The Power of Balance: Stone Sculptures for Your Garden $$$
9:30 AM–Noon ($42 member/$55 non-­member, includes Arboretum admission) Get balanced! Dazzle your friends with a new skill that looks like magic, but is closer to meditation or art. Sign Up.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

02/27/16 Snowshoe Saturdays
10–Noon Join us each Saturday 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.
Whitewater State Park

02/27/16 Winter Birding for Beginners
1–2 PM Birding is an enjoyable and challenging hobby, especially with fewer birds during the cold season. Join the naturalist for this winter birding hike and learn about the basic techniques of bird identification. Binoculars and bird guides will be available. Program will start inside the Visitor Center, registration is required. Call 612-725-2724 to register.
Fort Snelling State Park

02/27/16 Snowshoeing into the Past
1–2:30 PM Have an indoor look at ancient artifacts, then join archaeologists on a snowshoe trek to locations where they found evidence of a village from the 1600s and a campsite dating to over 3,000 years ago. Snowshoes and an introductory snowshoeing lesson are provided. Registration is required and is limited to the first 25 people. To register, call 320-532-3269 and leave your name, phone number and number of people attending. Meet at the interpretive center.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

02/27/16 Take a Hike, Take a Picture, Send a Postcard
1–3:30 PM Send a Postcard to someone special in February and log some miles toward fitness!
Starting February 7 and every weekend during February, visitors can send their photo on a postcard to someone special. Here’s how it works: Check out a camera at the park office (or use your own). Hike to Hidden Falls and take a picture, keep going for a longer hike if you like. When you return, staff will take your picture (or use one from your hike), print it and attach it to a postcard backing. You will address the postcard with a brief note to someone special, maybe even a Valentine. Be sure to bring the address! We will drop it in Monday’s mail.
Your picture postcard can be printed between 1 and 3:30 p.m. in the Visitor Center.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

2/27 Family Snowshoe Hike
1:00–2:30 PM Discover a fun new way to explore outside in winter! We will learn a bit about snowshoes, then strap them on and wind our way down into the river valley, looking for animal tracks as we go. Recommended for families with children ages 8 and up. Snowshoes are provided at no cost.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (Bloomington Education and Visitor Center and Hillside Trail)

2/27 Battle for Bats: Surviving White-Nose Syndrome
2:30–3:30 PM Bats are captivating animals and are also a vital part of our ecosystem. Learn how beneficial bats are as pollinators and insect eaters, and discover how scientists are working together to stop a deadly disease, White-Nose Syndrome, from spreading and killing these valuable mammals. Find out how to protect and enhance bat habitat in your own community by installing a bat house.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

02/27/16 Candlelight Ski
5:30–8:30 PM Experience the park by candlelight as you ski through the forest and view the river from above. The course (approximately one mile) will take you through the north end of this historic park. Hot drinks and snacks will be available in the picnic shelter. Bring your own skis.
Old Mill State Park (Meet at the picnic shelter)

02/27/16 Winter Stories and Night Sky Telescope Viewing
7–9 PM Join William O’Brien State Park for a “stellar” evening of stories and stars. Professional storyteller, Dwight Wilcox, will mesmerize you with stories of the night sky. Then with amateur astronomer, Kenny Bahmer, we will head outdoors to view some night sky objects through a telescope. Make and learn how to use a Star Wheel to find the night sky constellations and finish up the night roasting marshmallows around the fire. A fun night in the park you do not want to miss!
William O’Brien State Park

 

* * * * * * 02/28 2016 * * * * * *

02/28/16 All About Bluebirds
1–2 PM Bluebirds are one of Minnesota’s most admired song birds, yet many people have never seen one. Learn about the life history of bluebirds and how you can help restore their populations. Program will be inside the Visitor Center.
Fort Snelling State Park

02/28/16 Take a Hike, Take a Picture, Send a Postcard
1–3:30 PM
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

02/29/16 – 04/29/16 Bowfishing – 2016 early season – south of Hwy 210 only on lakes and on Minnesota, Mississippi or St. Croix rivers, from boats only.

Upcoming . . .

3/2 Wednesday Trail Walks 1-2:30 PM Get outside and discover whatever natural happenings we can see along the trail. 651-231-6968. Meet at the trail head in Stillwater.  Brown’s Creek State Trail

5/4 and 5/5 Aldo Leopold Weekend, Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

5/5 Second Annual Northland FAT Bike Rally, Info

5/19 Orienteering Saturday, 12 pm, Lake Maria State Park, Monticello, MN. 90 minute Score-O on skis, snowshoes, or foot. Check in by 11:30 AM, mass start at 12 PM. Preregister online (optional).

Other things to do: The Duluth Zephyr Excursion Train Ride or Music & Pizza Train Ride at North Shore Scenic Railroad (Up to 55% Off now on Groupon)

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Photo credit: Featured image of skiers copyright Ingrid Remak, used with permission from Bearskin Lodge. “Skiers on the Central Gunflint Trail System, near Flour Lake. Photo from Ingrid Remak, City of Lakes.”