Weekend Nature Activities: Aug. 7–9

It’s still summer! Enjoy the warm nights with all the fabulous nocturnal Minnesota critters: Dragonflies, racoons, bats, loons, wolves, deer, owls and others. AND the Perseid Meteor is back! What?! You just have to stay up late to see that!  *Events FREE unless otherwise mentioned


08/07/15 ———FRIDAY———

Minnesota Dragonfly Gathering
9–Noon, Every summer the Minnesota Dragonfly Society holds a weekend-long dragonfly and damselfly immersion and this year it will be held at Tettegouche State Park. Come for a day or camp with the group at the Tettegouche State Park Group Camp for the whole weekend. Beginners are very welcome at this event!
Different regions of the park will be surveyed, every day, in an attempt to create a list of the dragonflies and damselflies of the park. Northeastern Minnesota is home to many boreal dragonfly species that are not found elsewhere in the state. Register via email to the park naturalist.
Tettegouche State Park

Dragonfly Itinerary for Tettegouchce State Park

Friday, August 7th
9 am – Sign up and Park Welcome
9:30 – Quick Intro to Dragonflies, Etc.
Weekend strategy, habitats, mapping, etc.
10 am – In the field all day, various locations in the park – bring lunch
4 pm – return
7:00 pm – Art in the Park opening event

Saturday, August 8th
9 am – strategy session, assign park regions and group leaders.
In the field
6 pm – travel to Camp 61 in Beaver Bay for supper

Sunday, August 9th
9 am – field work
Noon – final recap and data coordination

Throughout the weekend there will be drop-in stations at the Visitor Center with activities for children and live specimens on display.

Junior Naturalists: Up Close with Insects
10:30–11 AM Kids! Join us for a hoppin’ good time! You’ll get the buzzzz on what makes insects so special, then fly out the door to hunt for insects yourself! You’re sure to bug out over what you discover! Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.
Jay Cooke State Park

I Can Fish! Kid’s Fishing Fridays
10:30–Noon Kids, bring an adult with you and learn the new skill of fishing. Suitable for ages 6–12. An adult must accompany children. Bring your own fishing pole or use one provided (limited number). Poles are available on first come first serve basis. Artificial bait provided. Non-Minnesota residents will need a fishing license.
Itasca State Park (Meet at the Itasca Fishing Pier, below Douglas Lodge)

2015-04-16 19.22.35
Fishing is a life-long adventure!

Nature Time at the Beach
1–2 PM Meet at the beach each weekday til Labor Day to learn about nature at Whitewater State Park. Each day will be a different activity.
Whitewater State Park

I Can Fish: Shoreline Fridays
1–3 PM Learn all about fishing: identifying, casting, equipment and more. Then take your new skills and spend a little time with us fishing along the shore of the river. Equipment, bait, and instruction provided. MN residents do not need a fishing license.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Headwaters History Hike
1:30–2 PM Learn about fun facts of the Mississippi Headwaters during this short naturalist-led walk to the Headwaters of the Mississippi River.
Itasca State Park (Meet at the compass rose under the porch of the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center)

Nature Quick Stop
1–2:30 PM Visit the naturalist down by the Lake Andrew Beach to see some nature artifacts at a quick stop nature table.
Sibley State Park

Furs, Tracks, & Fun Facts
2–3 PM Badgers, White-tailed deer, beaver, skunks and raccoons all live in Afton State Park. Stop to see and touch some furs. You can also guess which track belongs to which animal. Then make your own animal track to take home! While you are at it leanr some fun facts about these animals.
Afton State Park (naturalist tent in the picnic area nearest the parking lots)

CCC History Hike
2–3 PM The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) allowed for many of the MN State Parks to come into existence. Gooseberry was one of those parks that was birthed with the influence of the CCC. Join a Naturalist on a hike to explore the remains of the rich past that tell the story of these incredible young men.
Gooseberry Falls State Park (Meet at the art column outside the visitor center)

Jr. Naturalist: Critter Creations!
2–3 PM Come learn how to identify trees as we explore some of different trees in the park. Then get your imagination flowing as we create animal critters using leaf art.
Itasca State Park (Meet by the Museum Amphitheater, below Wegmann’s Store; If raining, in the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center classroom)

Junior SNA Naturalist: Mounds of Mystery
2–4 PM Young scientists, ages 10-14, are welcome to participate in the Junior Scientific and Natural Areas Naturalist program each week. Topics and activities are designed to explore native prairies and introduce families to SNA sites located near Buffalo River State Park.On this afternoon hike, we will explore the mysterious wintering mounds of the Canadian Toad and learn why amphibians are essential to the health of the prairie. Confirm your interest in attending by calling the park office at (218) 498-2124. Dress for tall grass, wood ticks and uneven ground and bring plenty of water.
Buffalo River State Park (Nature Center)

I Can Fish! Fishing Friday – PROGRAM FULL
Fort Snelling State Park

2:30-4 PM Turtles are one of the most common types of reptiles in Minnesota. They have all kinds of cool adaptations that help them survive out in the Minnesota wilderness. The naturalist will be roaming around the campgrounds to show you some of the wonders of turtles. If the naturalist is walking by, wave them over to learn about turtles. A MN state Park vehicle permit is required to attend this event, and can be purchased at the park for $5/day or $25 for an annual permit.

Lake Carlos State Park

Teeny Tiny Tadpoles —Investigation Station
3–4 PM Get an up-close look at the young amphibians dwelling in the park’s potholes during this ongoing station. Discover just who they will turn into and where they hide at the park.
Interstate State Park (Find us near the visitor center)

I Can Fish: Rum River
3–5 PM Let’s go fishing! Join us as we learn all about fishing: identifying species, casting and more. We provide the bait, poles and instructors.Then, take your skills and fish with us from the bank of the Rum River. Minnesota residents do not need a fishing license for this activity. We will walk a short distance, fish until 4:30, then finish up back at the interpretive center by 5 p.m.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park (Meet at the interpretive center)

4–5 PM Minnesota summers are oft filled with the sounds of buzzing mosquitoes, these annoying bugs that can ruin the fun of being outdoors. The sight of dragonflies swooping through the air is a welcome one because they eat pesky mosquitoes. That’s right! Dragonflies EAT mosquitoes! We will talk about how these insects have been around a long, long, long time and the typical dragonfly lifecycle. To find some of the dragonflies living in the park there will be a hike around the wetland to see if we can capture some with the use of nets. Meet at the Group Campground on the campground side of the Park.
Minneopa State Park

Majestic Monarchs
6–7 PM A timely presentation, as monarchs are on the brink of being officially listed as an Endangered Species, a step many believe is long overdue. Orange, black and white, the monarch brings smiles to the faces of all who catch a glimpse of them. These insects are incredible and you can discover why during this program. We will take a walk to look for eggs and caterpillars and see if we can spot the monarchs. You will receive tips on how to attract monarchs to your garden and receive a seed packet of native wildflowers to plant at home.
Afton State Park (visitor center)

Geology of the Minnesota River Valley
7–8 PM How was the Minnesota River Valley formed? This is an interesting story featuring glaciers, the formation of a glacial lake and the bursting of a dam-like structure and a wall of water pushing across what is now southern Minnesota. We will take a hike at Minneopa State Park to get a better view of what happened here thousands of years ago and some of the different rock formations. Part of the geological story at Minneopa of course has to do with the creek?s gorge and falls. Meet at the Group Campground on the campground side of the park.
Minneopa State Park

Live Eagle Program
7–8 PM Want to see a live bald eagle up close? Tonight you can! Bring your camera. Staff from the National Eagle Center in Wabasha will be at Whitewater to share with us the tremendous comeback story of our national bird. With a live eagle they will introduce the bald eagle?s life history and why the Mississippi River and the Blufflands are so important to the eagle?s survival.
Whitewater State Park

Animal Legends —Campfire
7:30–8 PM Gather around for an evening of animal legends. Hear the legend of Sky Woman and the creation of earth on the turtles back, how fisher brought summer to the people and more.
Itasca State Park (Meet in the picnic grounds at the Museum Amphitheater located below Wegmann’s Store Ruins; If raining, in the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center classroom)

Plants of the Northshore
7:30–8:30 PM Plants of all varieties are found in the park, but each has areas they prefer. Come take a walk with a naturalist near the shores of Lake Superior to look at some of the unique plants along this trail. We will look at those that are edible (including the famous gooseberry), have medicinal uses, and some that are useful in other ways. Be prepared to walk over rocky terrain. Meet at Lakeview Lodge.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Building Bridges: Swinging for 90 Years
8–9 PM Visitors to the park have been laughing, screeching and silently holding their breath as they have crossed the iconic Swinging Bridge for more than 90 years. And for all that time we have been building new bridges as it occasionally loses its battle with nature. Join us as we share the stories of the Swinging Bridges rise and fall through photos, blueprints and rarely seen video of its early years.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Bat Chat
8 PM Bats are amazing animals! Discover some of their incredible abilities and which species are at home at Wild River State Park. Find out about the White Nose Syndrome that is killing bats and its threat to Minnesota.
Wild River State Park

Astronomy Night
8:30–10:30 PM Come explore the “Universe in the Park” by looking at the night sky with a naturalist. Bring your own binocs or use the park’s. Join the astronomers from the University of Minnesota as they share their knowledge of astronomy/astrophysics and set up telescopes to view the night sky. Followed by a car caravan (try to share rides with fellow campers) to a viewing location 1 mile east of the park.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

Night Hike for “National Lighthouse Day”
8:30–9:30 PM Lighthouses have served as beacons in the dark for ships for centuries, but creatures of the night have their own natural night serving beacons. Join the naturalist for a hike up Day Hill to discover how animals and insects survive the night time darkness. Hike travels up steep, rocky hills. Flashlights or headlamps and hiking shoes recommended. The hike will end at the top of the hill so plan on navigating down at your own pace. A paved trail is available on your way down.
Hike starts at the Campground Bath house.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Mike Lynch Minnesota Starwatch Party
9–10:30 PM Make the stars your old friends as we watch the great celestial show in the skies over Lake Shetek State Park. We’ll start this night of stars, constellations, planets, star clusters, galaxies and nebulae with an orientation followed by quality time under the heavens. Get to know constellations like the Big Bear, Cygnus the Swan, Scorpius the Scorpion, and some the great stories behind them. We’ll also use large reflecting telescopes, including two giant 20-inch reflectors that are among the biggest mobile telescopes in Minnesota for close-up views of Saturn, star clusters and other wonders in our summer skies. We’ll also keep an eye out for meteors or “shooting stars” as the Perseid meteor shower is nearing its peak! Meet at the Lake Shetek State Park Wilderness Campground. Seating is limited so please bring lawn chairs, if you can.
Lake Shetek State Park

9–10 PM One of the most common animals in our park is notorious for mischief in the campgrounds. Meet at the amphitheater to find out why these furry balls of feistiness get into trouble, what physical characteristics make them so good at raiding campsites, and what activities these ?bad? creatures do that are actually good for the ecosystem.
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Mike Lynch Minnesota Starwatch Party
9–10:30 PM Make the stars your old friends as we watch the great celestial show in the skies over Camden State Park. We’ll start this night of stars, constellations, planets, star clusters, galaxies and nebulae with an orientation followed by quality time under the heavens. Get to know constellations like the Big Bear, Cygnus the Swan, Scorpius the Scorpion, and some the great stories behind them. We’ll also use large reflecting telescopes, including two giant 20 inch reflectors that are among the biggest mobile telescopes in Minnesota for close up views of Saturn, star clusters and other wonders in our summer skies. We’ll also keep an eye out for meteors or “shooting stars” as the Perseid meteor shower is nearing its peak! Meet at the Camden State Park Horseback Campground. Seating is limited so please bring lawn chairs or blankets, if you can.
Camden State Park




Birding Field Trip with Bob Janssen
7 AM–Noon Join expert birder and author of the new Birds of Minnesota State Parks book, Robert (Bob) Janssen, to explore Itasca State Park on a morning birding field trip. Prepare for a full morning of birding—bring your binocs, water, bug spray, hat and field guide. Wear sturdy shoes for walking on wooded trails. You will need a vehicle as we drive to various locations. Arrive 7–7:30 to join us for coffee and mini-muffins as we visit with author Bob prior to the start of the birding field trip.
NOT an early bird? Join Bob in the afternoon as he shares through photos and stories the hot spots to go birding in Minnesota’s state parks. There will be a question and answer period after the talk. If you would like an autographed copy of the book, stop by the Jacob V. Brower Gift Shop and purchase this new book. (see specific program posting for afternoon talk and book signing details.) Join us at Itasca State Park for a special birding day you don’t want to miss!
Itasca State Park

Additional Birding Events Later in the Day at Itasca State Park

1 p.m. to 1:45: Presentation/talk inside the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center classroom: Bring your birding questions as we join author and expert birder Bob Janssen for photos and stories about Minnesota birds and developing the book Birds of Minnesota State Parks. A short discussion will follow where you can ask those bird questions that have been pecking at you for years.
1:45-2:30 p.m.: book signing in the lobby of the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center: Bring your copy of the book Birds in Minnesota State Parks to the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center exhibit hall area where Bob will be autographing books. Books will be available for purchase in our park gift shops.

Birding for Beginners
8:30–10 AM Spend your morning with a naturalist on a two mile hike to view birds in the prairie and the floodplain forest. A limited number of fieid guides and binoculars are available for your use.
Afton State Park (Meet at the visitor center)

Becoming an Outdoors Family Weekend $$$
8/8–8/9 Activities include archery, fishing, rifle range, high ropes course, canoeing, and more. Optional Friday night stay available for $10/person and includes Saturday Brunch. Ages 6+ $90/person or $335 for a family of four and $85 for each additional person. 2015 Family Workshop Registration Brochure available at www.mndnr.gov/education/bow a few months prior to the workshop. Registration form will be up on the website closer to the event. For more info see www.eagle-bluff.org or call 507-467-2437 / 1-888-800-9558.
Eagle Bluff ELC, Lanesboro, MN

Guided Walk —Special SNA Outing
9 AM Join us for a two hour walk through one of the few remaining mesic tallgrass prairie remnants in eastern Minnesota. Experience what the early pioneers encountered when they first arrived in Dodge County as you move through the tall waving fields of big bluestem. Bring your cameras and field guides to capture the experience of moving through this tall grass prairie. Footwear appropriate for hiking is recommended. There are no maintained trails and this walk will be on uneven terrain. There are neither public restrooms nor access to drinking water on this site. The tour will be conducted rain or shine.  Visit Hythecker Prairie online for more information about this SNA.
Hythecker Prairie SNA

Fishing 101
9–10:30 AM Join us for a morning of fish identification, practice casting and shore fishing! A Park Vehicle Permit is required.
Fort Snelling State Park

Women’s Fishing 101
9–10:30 AM Demystify the mystery of fishing! Join us for a morning of fish identification, practice casting, and fishing! Equipment is provided. Registration required. Call 612-725-2724 to register.  This program is partnership with the Becoming An Outdoors Woman (BOW) program. The Women In the Parks series offers women an opportunity to learn new skills and explore nature in state parks.
Fort Snelling State Park

Guided Hike  —Special SNA Outing
9:30–11:30 AM Join us for a hike through Cherry Grove Blind Valley Scientific Natural Area, a place where snow melts on the coldest of winter days and where whirlpools and waterfalls form one day and are gone the next. We’ll observe and discuss dramatic sinkholes including a rare bedrock collapse sinkhole. Find out why this land is protected and learn of current restoration efforts. Meet at the amphitheater for an introduction and then follow the naturalist in your own vehicle to the SNA. Sturdy shoes are advised.
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

10–Noon Step into Minnesota’s Territorial past as you explore the ruins of South Forestville. This one hour interpretive hike will bring to life the people, streets, business and industries that helped a small settlement period village thrive in its early days. You will see the foundation ruins left behind as testimony to the presence of some of Minnesota’s early settlers over 150 years ago.
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park (Meet at the Picnic Shelter)

The Many Biomes of Kilen Woods
Every Saturday From July 18th to September 5th. Join Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer Nancy Warren for a hike over the prairie, through the woods, and to the river! Along the way you will discover the 3 unique habitats that meet at Kilen Woods State Park and create an amazing diversity of wildlife and nature. Meet at the Chalet. Hike is an easy 2 miles over mostly flat trails with a few slopes. For meeting time, exact location or more info contact Nancy Warren at (507) 662-6258.
Kilen Woods State Park

Alphabet in Nature Photo Safari
10–3 PM Alphabet in Nature Photo Safari-register at 10 am and be back by 3 pm. Sign up as an individual or team. You will need a digital camera and a great imagination. Participants will be asked to venture out in the park either Meadowbrook area of Bonanza and look for all 26 letters of the alphabet in the park. You must use your power of observation and imagination to find the Alphabet in Nature. When you have found all 26 or it is 3 pm, come back to the park office to show the Park Ranger. The team or individual with the most letters or first to have 26 will win a prize.
Big Stone Lake State Park

10 AM–2 PM Archery has been a popular sport and life skill for thousands of years. Stop in anytime between 10 and 2 to give this free activity a try. State-of-the-art archery equipment designed to fit all sizes will be provided. Beginners are welcome. This free activity is recommended for adults and children 8 and up. Stop in at the park office for directions to the archery site.
Zippel Bay State Park

I Can Fish!
10–Noon Let’s go fishing! Join us as we learn all about fishing – identifying species, casting, and more. We provide the bait, poles and instructors. Then, take your skills and fish with us on a fishing pier on the shore of Mille Lacs Lake. Minnesota residents do not need a fishing license for this activity. Meet at the public boat access parking lot.
Father Hennepin State Park

Veterans Conservation Corps History Walk
10–12:30 Stroll along Lake Andrew and into the past to the beginnings of Sibley State Park in 1935 when the Veteran’s Conservation Corps began construction on roads, trails and buildings of log and stone. We will be walking about a mile through the campground and ending at Cedar Hill.
Sibley State Park (Meet by the Nature Store on Lake Andrew)

CSI Wildlife: Owl Pellets
10 AM Owls provide great rodent control. There are even some that eat skunks! Become an owl scientist and find out what owls eat by dissecting your own owl pellet and checking out the bones left behind. You may just find a complete skeleton!
Wild River State Park

Tag a Monarch —Volunteer Opportunity
10–11 AM Learn about our amazing native butterflies. After a power point presentation, we will take a short hike to catch, tag and release monarch butterflies. You will be part of on-going research to study the migration of these incredible insects. If you have a butterfly net of your own, bring it along.
Whitewater State Park

Geocaching 101
10:30–Noon Join Andy McCracken, expert geocacher, and discover the fascinating challenge of geocaching and how you can use it to explore Minnesota State Parks’ hidden treasures. You will learn how to use a GPS unit, and then head out in the park to find some specially placed caches. Then try your hand at the new Wildflower geocaching program in MN State Parks! A limited number of GPS units will be available for this modern-day treasure hunt. So please call the park office to sign up.
William O’Brien State Park (Meet at the Visitor Center)

Jay Cooke State Park
10:30–11:30 AM Join us on this modern day treasure hunt as we search for centennial-themed caches with a GPS unit. After learning how to use a GPS unit and what geocaching is all about, you’ll explore the park with us for hidden caches. GPS units are available. Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.
Centennial Geocache

Camping at Kathio 1,500 B.C.
10:30–11:30 AM Step back in time as we look at artifacts and take a short walk to locations where archaeologists found evidence of a village from the 1600s and a “campsite” dating to over 3,000 years ago. Meet at the interpretive center.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Voyageurs of the Fur Trade
11–Noon Visit with a voyageur from the fur trade era and learn about what life was like as a voyageur! Explore the trade route and play some voyageur games during this family friendly program.
Savanna Portage State Park (Located at the playground in the Shumway Lake campground; near site 32 in the A loop).

Guided Bike Ride to Iona’s Beach SNA
11:30 AM–1:30 PM Meet a naturalist for a bike ride to Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area. This ride will travel on the Gitchi Gami Bike Trail for 2 miles starting at the Gooseberry Falls State Park Visitor Center and ending at Iona’s Beach for short guided hike and optional picnic at the nearby Twin Ports Water Access. Bike back at your leisure or with the naturalist.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Archery in the Park
Noon–2 PM Ever wanted to try archery? Join us at the South Picnic Grounds for an introductory program to learn the basic skills and safety information that will help you become comfortable using a bow. All equipment will be provided. Children must be age 8 or older and must be accompanied by an adult.
Whitewater State Park

Historic Quarry Hike
12:30–1:30 PM Discover the foundation of the city of Sandstone. Join the naturalist for a guided tour around a historic quarry site.
Banning State Park (Meeting location: Call (320) 384-6615 or send email to megan.johnsen@state.mn.us)

Cats of the Northwoods
1–2 PM Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty. Come see for yourself how you size up to some of the wild cats that call the Northshore home. Join a Naturalist to discover some interesting information on the secretive world of the park?s felines.
Gooseberry Falls State Park (Meet at lady slipper lodge)

Family Archery
1–3 PM Learn the basics of shooting safely and accurately with skilled instructors. Shoot at stationary targets and compete with your family in fun shooting games. All equipment provided. Ages 8+ $7/class Registration: For questions or to register call Three Rivers Park District at 763-559-6700 or www.ThreeRiversParks.org
Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake

Geocaching 101
1–3 PM Become part of the geo caching craze! Join us on August 8 at the visitor center as we offer a geocaching tutorial at the park. Participants will learn how to enter coordinates, set waypoints, and navigate using a GPS device. Participants will also search for geocaches hidden through out the park
Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Guided Walk —Special SNA Outing
1–4 This two hour walk will take us along an abandoned railroad right-of-way that offers a chance to see a mesic tallgrass prairie plant community that is a rarity in this agricultural landscape. Bring your cameras and field guides identify and document some of the species that once grew in the larger surrounding landscape. Footwear appropriate for hiking is recommended. There are no maintained trails and the hike will be on uneven terrain. There are neither public restrooms nor access to drinking water on this site. The tour will be conducted rain or shine. Visit Shooting Star Prairie online for more information about this SNA.
Shooting Star Prairie SNA

Animal Tracks & Signs
2–3 PM Animals of all sizes and shapes live around us and for the most part we only know this from the signs they leave behind. Tracks are usually the clue we pick up especially when there is fresh mud, wet dirt or snow. Other signs of an animal can be a feather, piece of fur, a bone, scat or even something as simple as a hole dug into the ground. We will take a hike to identify a wide range of animal signs and tracks along with the chance to make our own tracks. Please meet at the Picnic Shelter in the campground.
Fort Ridgely State Park

Animal Antics
2–3 PM Drop by and explore an animal topic or game! This informal activity is designed for all ages. Look for the naturalist’s cart by the swimming pond. In the event of rain, program will take place in the picnic shelter by the camp ground.
Buffalo River State Park

Outdoor Kids: Nets, Buckets, Bugs and More
2–3:30 Come and go at your leisure.  Kids of all ages come out and explore nature at your leisure and have fun at Itasca while hanging out at the swimming beach or playground. This program series allows kids to connect with nature through crafts and other hands-on activities. Topics vary with many of the programs focusing on life around the lake.
Itasca State Park (Meet by the Swim Beach/ Playground; at the south end of the picnic grounds on Lake Itasca)

Basic Compass Orientating
2–3:30 PM Come and go at your leisure. Kids of all ages come out and explore nature at your leisure and have fun at Itasca while hanging out at the swimming beach or playground. This program series allows kids to connect with nature through crafts and other hands-on activities. Topics vary with many of the programs focusing on life around the lake.
Lac Qui Parle State Park (Meet by the Swim Beach/ Playground; at the south end of the picnic grounds on Lake Itasca)

Wildlife Ecology
2–3 PM Discover the importance of wildlife ecology with Chris Cold. Chris works with the Wisconsin DNR and has many adventures with his job. His first-person stories and fascinating facts are sure to be enjoyed by everyone. He will bring with him a variety of live animals for this unique opportunity.
Wild River State Park

Wilderness Photography 101
2–3 PM Join a naturalist and learn how to capture wildlife and nature from the lens of your camera! Together we will talk about photography basics and then set out to explore and practice our new skills! Bring your own camera or smart phone, or borrow one of ours! Water bottle, hat, and sunscreen recommended. Remember to plan for tick presentation as well!
Sibley State Park (Meet inside the Interpretive Center)

Timeless Testament of Trees
3–4 PM Scenic State Park is teaming with the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center to bring fun, hands-on programs to the park for you, your friends and family to enjoy!
Scenic State Park

Peek into the Past
3–4 PM What did the park look like 50 years ago? How has it changed in a hundred years? What did park visitors look like? Discover the stories revealed in black and white photographs of days long past. You may be surprised to see how the park has changed over the years. This drop-in station takes about ten minutes to experience and is near the visitor center.
Interstate State Park

Geocaching 101
4–5 PM Join the naturalist for this high tech treasure hunt and learn the basics of this new worldwide recreational sport. GPS units are provided. There will be a chance to test out your GPS skill on a critter activity before going out to find the park geocache on your own. This program counts towards earning the Call of Wildflowers special edition program card. Limit of 20 people (must be 8 years of age and children must be accompanied by adult). Please sign up at the park office (prior reservation required). Meet at the upper picnic area next to the historic fort site.
Fort Ridgely State Park

Women’s Hunting Expo & How to Field Dress a Deer Seminar $$$
4–8 PM Join Dana Keller at A-1 Archery for this women only expo for those who hunt or would like to hunt. Manufacturers and reps will be present as well as a guest speaker. This event includes a field dressing demonstration! Cost: $40 Registration: Register with Dana Keller at danakeller@a1archerystore.com or 715-386-1217.
A-1 Archery, Hudson, WI

Snakes of the Blufflands
4–5 PM 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 a live snake program will be given. See a live fox snake. Bring a camera for a picture of your loved one touching a live snake!
Whitewater State Park

Story time: Rhoda’s Rock Hunt
5–5:30 PM Bring a comfy blanket to sit on and join us for a nature story! After the story we will look at cool rocks and make cairns by stacking rocks just like Rhoda!
Tettegouche State Park (Meets next to the campground shower building)

August Canada Goose Management Action
08/08/15 – 08/23/15 August Canada goose hunt, see regulations.
Intensive Harvest Zone

Wonderful Watersheds
6–7 PM Make a land-use decision and then make it rain on the EnviroScape watershed to see if your choice impacts the local water resources. Guest presenter Ryan Flemke, Frontenac State Park Intern, MNDNR
Frontenac State Park (Picnic Shelter)

Hunters of the Sky
7–8 PM The Audubon Center of the North Woods will use live hawks and owls to illustrate this special program about raptors of Minnesota. Meet at the council ring next to the interpretive center. In case of rain the program will be held inside the interpretive center.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Life of a Lumberjack
7–8 PM Join the naturalist as they share tales from the heyday of local logging. Learn lumberjack lingo, see several of their tools, and discover what a day in their life was like. Meet at the stone picnic shelter in the picnic grounds.
Interstate State Park

Wild Edibles
7–8 PM People eat wild edibles for a number of reasons including as a legitimate way of economizing their food costs, as an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and in rare situations they can be essential for survival. We will talk about some of the more recognizable plants growing in the area like the common dandelion which can be used in salads or even as a coffee-like beverage. Please meet at the Picnic Shelter in the campground.
Fort Ridgely State Park

Perseid Meteor Shower Party!
7 PM Join us for an out-of-this-world astronomical evening! Let’s party under the stars! Learn about the Perseid Meteor Shower. Make a constellation chart to take home, learn how dark skies benefit You, listen to some constellation stories around the fire, and learn how to find some of the constellations in the night sky. The University of Minnesota’s Universe in The Park program will bring out telescopes to view some spectacular evening delights! If it is cloudy, we will still have most of the activities. Bring your blanket or chaise lounge as we watch the night skies and wish upon some shooting stars!
William O’Brien State Park (Meet at the Visitor Center)

Awesomeness of Orienteering
7–8 PM Before there were Tom Tom’s and smart phones there was one little thing…The Compass! Come and discover how to use this timeless tool.
Sibley State Park (Meet at the Interpretive Center)

The Changing Shore
7:30–8:30 PM The climate of Minnesota is changing. Not only are we feeling the effects of warmer winters but we are seeing the change in the landscape. The North Shore is no exception. Join a naturalist as we discuss the changes that are coming our way and find out how the Gooseberry we know will be a completely different place for your grandkids.
Gooseberry Falls State Park (Meet at Lady Slipper Lodge)

The Secret Language of Animals, Nature Talk
7:30–8:30 PM Finding friendship, food, or fighting. Come discover the hidden language of animals as we explore their dances, wiggles, and struts.
Itasca State Park (Meet inside the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center Classroom)

Thomson Cemetery Hike
8–9 PM Join us on a hike out to the Thomson Cemetery and discover the history behind the first settlers who called this area home.
Jay Cooke State Park

Sunset Hike at Felton Prairie SNA
8–9:30 PM Enjoy a peaceful sunset overlooking the majestic tall grass prairie. Participants will learn about the history of Felton Prairie complex, hear a story or two, and watch the sun set. Bring a chair and your favorite friend. This program begins at the park office and travel off site to Felton Prairie, located 25 minutes from the park. Please call ahead to confirm your interest. Seats are available in the naturalist van but space is limited to first come first serve. Dress for tall grass and uneven ground. In the event of rain, program will be rescheduled.
Buffalo River State Park

The History of Jay Cooke State Park
8–9 PM Climb aboard on this trip through the past as we discover how the park got its start and who roamed this land long before us. Learn where to find traces of park history and other interesting things to do during your stay Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.
Jay Cooke State Park

Tales of Animal Folklore —Campfire
8 PM Ever wonder how the turtle got its mottled shell or how possum paid for smells? Gather up with your family and listen and learn about the animals of Wild River State Park like you haven’t heard before. You may even get the chance to help pick the stories that are told!
Wild River State Park

Perseid Meteor Shower
8:30 PM Experience meteor whiplash during the best meteor shower of the year! Members of the Hiawatha Valley Astronomical Society will provide telescopes, expertise and slides introducing our solar system, galaxy, and beyond! There will be a program rain or shine.
Whitewater State Park

Squirrels of Forestville
9–10 PM Did you know that Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park has 7 species of squirrels? At this all-ages slide show you will learn about the different species of squirrels, how to tell them apart, and where you might see squirrels in the park. Meet at the amphitheater.
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park





I Can Trout Fish
10 AM–Noon Join us at the South Picnic Area for some fishing fun! Equipment 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 September 6.
Whitewater State Park

Invasive Invaders
10–Noon Fort Snelling State Park is a place where water and people meet. Unfortunately it is also where a lot of invasive plants and animal species come to as well. Take a 40 minute nature hike and learn about invasive species and then spend time removing some invaders from the park! A limited number of work gloves is available, please bring a pair if you have some.
Fort Snelling State Park

Animal Tracks Scavenger Hunt
10–11 AM Animal signs are everywhere if you look closely. Bring the family out t solve animal track mysteries. You will learn how to use a GPS unit for find specially placed animal tracks. But we are not giving the identification of the animal track away. you must solve the riddles to figure out what animal made the tracks. Those that solve the mysteries correctly will get a prize! Meet at the visitor center.
Afton State Park

Geocaching 101
10–11:30 AM Have you ever wanted to try geocaching or wondered how to operate a GPS? If so, join the naturalist at the Visitor Center as they teach you about geocaching. We will provide the instruction and GPS units to use. Come experience the thrill of finding a cache during this 1 to 1.5 hour program! Children must be accompanied by an adult. We have a variety of courses for you to try, so even if you have done some geocaching before, come on out to try one of them. They vary from an easy kids style course to a couple of harder multi cache courses that require more skill. A MN state Park vehicle permit is required to attend this event, and can be purchased at the park for $5/day or $25 for an annual permit.
Lake Carlos State Park

Frogs: Facts & Folklore
10:30–11 A brief talk about frogs and toads seen and heard at Kathio will be followed by a nature film about frogs around the world. Meet at the interpretive center. (40 minutes)
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Stories in Stone
10:30–11:30 AM Jay Cooke State Park has been shaped by many natural events over time. Join us on this geology walk along the river as we discover the stories left behind in the stone.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Wild Side Woodpecker Walk
11–Noon Ever wonder anything about woodpeckers? Come wander through the woods and discover some of their weird and wonderful adaptations that make them successful as we hunt for signs that they leave behind.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Toad-ally Frogs
11 AM Hop inside the Visitor Center between 11am-1pm. We will discover cool facts about our amphibious friends and even test our frog calling skills. Bring all your froggy questions and join us for a ribbiting good time.
Wild River State Park

Junior Park Naturalist: Animal Track Down
1–2 PM Join a naturalist to discover the identity of some common animals at Gooseberry based off their tracks. Made a track flip book to help you identify the tracks in the future and be on your way to becoming a Junior Park Naturalist.
Gooseberry Falls State Park (Meet at the Art column outside the visitor center. Kids age 5 and up are welcome. Keep looking for the tracks.)

Junior Naturalists: River Animals
1–2 PM Be our guest on an aquatic adventure as we discover the life of the river during this children’s program. Learn about the amazing adaptations of beavers, otters, insects and other river critters. Take home a fish printing craft made during the program. Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.
Jay Cooke State Park

Lake Plants by Canoe
1–3 PM Take a closer look at the common plants and weeds that grow in Snelling Lake. We’ll explore by canoe. Program starts with paddling basics. Equipment provided. Registration required. Call 612-725-2724 to register.
Fort Snelling State Park

Turtle Crossing
1–2:30 PM Come meet Shelby the turtle and visit with a Naturalist to explore the natural history and behavior of turtles found in the Mille Lacs area. In case of rain this program will be cancelled. Look for the Naturalist Table in the Beach Area from 1- 2:30pm.
Father Hennepin State Park

Historic CCC Buildings Walk
1:30–2 PM Learn about the ‘boys’ that built Forest Inn, Old Timer’s Cabin and more. Come for the walk as we talk about the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) on this walking tour of buildings around the Douglas Lodge area, ending at the CCC Old Timer’s Cabin.
Itasca State Park (Meet outside Forest Inn, across from Douglas Lodge)

Old Timer’s Cabin, Open Tour
2–3:30 p.m. Held at the Old Timer’s Cabin, located along the boardwalk below Douglas Lodge. Only 4 (massive) logs tall, learn more about this Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed building. The Naturalist staff will have the cabin open for you to tour at your leisure.
Itasca State Park

Jr. Naturalist: Feather Fun
2–3 PM Come and explore the wonders of birds and their feathers! Learn about birds, the only animals that have feathers, what creates the colors in feathers, and create your own bird craft!
Itasca State Park

Mineral Mix-Up
3–4 PM What makes up a rock? How many minerals are out there and how do you tell them apart? Join the naturalist for simple experiments that will reveal these answers and more. This drop-in program takes about ten minutes to complete. Find us near the visitor center.
Interstate State Park

Going Out on a Limb: Tree ID Hike
4–5 PM Join us on a tree identification hike to explore the beautiful trees of Jay Cooke State Park! Learn how to identify different trees and discover the unique history and uses behind these tall treasures of the forest.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive center)

Itasca’s Music Under the Pines: Hog Rooster
7–8:30 PM Bring your blanket or lawn chair and come out for an evening of entertainment outside Forest Inn with the duo, Hog Rooster. Jacob and Owen Mahon started playing together in 2012, and they both have a passion for listening, writing, learning and playing music. Their music collection includes harmonic acoustic rock and folk with original songs covering classic, alternative and folk rock. Jacob is one year older than Owen and plays guitar, mandolin, ukulele, and piano.He has been writing songs since 2011 and continues to write. Owen plays bass, trumpet and sings harmony on many songs.
Itasca State Park, Meet outside Forest Inn (inside Forest Inn if raining)

Wise Old Owls
7:30–8:30 PM Discover the mysteries of the Northwoods Owls through an exciting interactive hour long program with a naturalist. We will explore what makes an owl unique as well as whooo you might hear out in the woods! Meet at Lady Slipper Lodge.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

On a Dark and Starry Night
8–9 PM Join us to explore the various constellations of the night sky! Discover how to find and recognize different stars in the sky and learn the legends and myths behind them.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)





And for those with an extended weekend, lucky you!

Fitness Walk
8:30–9 AM Need some Monday motivation? Start your week out on the right (and left) foot as you grab some pals and head outside. Join the park naturalist as we quickly learn about the social and health benefits of walking outside. We will then take a 30 minute social/wellness walk in Itasca State Park. Walk routes and health notes will vary each week. Notes: wear sturdy shoes for walking. Don’t forget your water bottle, insect spray, sunscreen and sunglasses or a hat.
Itasca State Park (Meet at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center Front Doors)

Grandparents and Grandkids Week!
08/10/15 – 08/14/15 …10 AM–4 PM Reserve a campsite or come for a day visit, this week is just for you with weekday activities that explore insects, animal superheroes, birds, scavenger hunts and more. The naturalist will provide the supplies and activities for family fun in the outdoors. See the individual program schedules for details.
Interstate State Park

N is for Nature’s Music —Little Explorers (Ages 3–6)
10–11 AM Through stories, activities, and a craft, our smallest visitors learn about a new letter of nature’s alphabet each week. This engaging program is specially designed for children ages 3-6 and their adults. This week, use your senses to explore the sounds in nature. Join the fun at the visitor center each Monday at 10 AM from June 8 to Aug. 24 (with the exception of July 6).
Interstate State Park

Nature Time at the Beach
1–2 PM Each weekday til Labor Day to learn about nature at Whitewater State Park. Each day will be a different activity.
Whitewater State Park (Meet at the beach)

Make and Take Tricky Track Puzzles
2–3 PM Little Explorers (Ages 3–6)
Interstate State Park

Knapweed Pull —Volunteer Opportunity
6–8 PM Join us for an evening of pulling (and bagging) spotted knapweed at this beautiful metro fen. The event will be led by Mike Lynch, SNA volunteer, and Larissa Mottl, Central Region SNA Program Coordinator. No advance sign-up is necessary, but please contact us if you have a large group.  We will provide gloves and supplies for bagging the knapweed, and insect repellent. We’ll be working along dry, upland foot paths within this wetland SNA. Bring water and dress for working outdoors (sturdy shoes, long pants, tall socks to tuck in your pant legs). Contact Larissa by 4 pm on August 10 to ask if the event has been postponed due to weather. We’ve set aside Wed, August 12 as a rain date. Same time, same place.
Blaine Preserve SNA

Batty ’bout Bats
7 PM Join us in search for these “creatures of the night” and learn their special adaptations and abilities. The evening includes games, songs, activities, and the chance to see the bats begin their nightly search for food. Please use the back (winter) entrance and meet by the Alaska Shaft. The program is held outside, so dress appropriately.
Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park


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