Weekend Nature Activities: Dec 25–29

———————SATURDAY———————

Dec 26
Winter Nature Hike
1 PM to 3 PM Explore Fort Snelling State Park’s winter wonderland with a park naturalist. We’ll look for animal tracks and signs, talk about the history of the area, and take in the sights of a winter flood plain forest.
Fort Snelling State Park

Dec 26
Moonlit Owl Prowl
6:30 PM to 8 PM We often hear them calling in the dark of night, but most of us are unfamiliar with the elusive creatures known as owls. After a presentation to learn about the owls in our area, we will go “prowling” under the full moon for owls in the park. If there is enough snow, we will be snowshoeing. Bring your own snowshoes or use the park’s.
Whitewater State Park

———————SUNDAY———————

Dec 27
Meet the Falcons
10 AM Jackie Fallon of the Midwest Peregrine Society will be at Tettegouche State Park on Sunday, December 27th from 10-noon to tell us about peregrine falcons and to introduce us to live peregrine falcons, and other raptors, that she cares for.
Tettegouche State Park (Visitor center)

Upcoming . . .

Tuesday, December 29
Winter Wonderland Family Fun Day
10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Celebrate the season during winter break! Family-friendly activities are tailored to introduce you and your family to a whole new way of enjoying winter! For outdoor activities, wear warm clothing in layers, including waterproof pants and boots. Inside, cozy up to the fireplace and enjoy reading winter books and watching fun nature films or challenge your family to a scavenger hunt! No registration required; snowshoes are provided at no cost.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

Dec 29
Snow Princess Adventure
1 PM to 2:30 PM The park is a frozen wonderland at this time of year and we invite adventurers ages 6-10 and their adults to enjoy it during a special program. Make a one-of-a-kind crown with the naturalist and explore the power of snow and ice as we hunt for snowflakes, make ice castles, and build snowmen. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Costumes are welcome as long as they fit over or under winter layers and boots. We’ll start indoors at the visitor center and then head outside for our adventure. Pre-register, email: jenni.webster@state.mn.us
Wild River State Park

Wednesday, December 30
Family Snowshoe Hike
10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. 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.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center and Hillside Trail

Dec 30
The Scoop on Snowflakes
1 PM to 2 PM Discover just how cool snowflakes really are by learning about the science behind those tiny ice crystals! After taking a close look at them, you will make a snowflake to take home that will last all year-long. Geared for kids ages 7 and up.
Jay Cooke State Park (This program is mostly indoors at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Wednesday, December 30
Film: After the Birds Taught Me to Fly
2:00–3:30 p.m. 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.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

Saturday, January 2
Bird Language
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Join us as we gather on the slopes of the Minnesota River Valley to explore what the birds are telling us about our surroundings. We will split the time between the classroom and outdoors. Bring a notebook, pencils, and something to sit on outdoors. Register.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Classroom A)

Saturday, January 2
Winter Photography Lecture and Photo Hike
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Taking photos in the winter can be a real challenge. Our cameras like to make the snow look a dingy grey, and all of the people in the shots come out very dark. Despite all of this, wither offers some amazing benefits to photographers. We can access areas that are normally inaccessible. In addition, with proper preparation we can capture some amazing images. During this session, we will cover:

1. How to set your camera for winter shooting.
2. Winter shooting techniques.
3. Winter shooting locations.
4. How to stay warm.
5. How to protect your gear.

After the lecture, we will go out and practice along the trails of the refuge.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)