Weekend Nature Activities: Dec 3–7

Well we finally got that snow, and everyone seems pretty excited about it. MN Nature supports your enthusiasm! Check out your photos we’re raving about on Tumblr. Keep the action goin’ — get out there!

Cross-country ski—–any time!
1–2-Go! Explore ski locations:
Where to rent.

Don't let the waning light stop you from having fun in the snow! Several parks have lights for night skiing. (photo Three Rivers Park District)
Don’t let the waning light stop you from having fun in the snow! Several parks have lights for night skiing. (photo Three Rivers Park District)

This Week . . .

Thurs, Dec 3
Holiday Crafts from the Mississippi: Sand Candles and Straw Ornaments
10 AM– Noon Brighten your holiday with a candle cast from river sand and ornaments made from prairie grasses. Refreshments provided.
Carl Kroening Interpretive Center

Dec 3
Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee Meeting
10 AM to 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.
MNDoT Headquarters & Training Center (3725 12th St N, St. Cloud, MN 56301)

Dec 3
Lil’ Park PEEPS – Bird Explorers
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM ages 2–5 years old (Children must attend with an adult). Preschool environmental education program. Explore all about birds. If the weather cooperates we’ll head outside at the end to feed the birds and watch our bird feeders.
Jay Cooke State Park (River Inn Interpretive Center)

Note: On the first Thursday of each month Lil’ PEEPS explore a topic through songs, stories, hands-on activities and outdoor exploration. Start indoors then sometimes spend part of the time outdoors exploring. Wear appropriate clothing for staying warm and dry. In case of severe weather we will substitute indoor activities for any of the planned outdoor portion. Any specialized equipment and supplies needed for the program will be provided free of charge. No fee; However, all vehicles entering a MN State Park need a vehicle permit (daily $5, annual $25 – can be purchased upon arrival). More info: 218-384-4610 x227 or email kris.hiller@state.mn.us

Dec 3
Make a Gingerbread House $$$
Start a family tradition and build a gingerbread house out of crackers and candy. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Reservations required by the Monday prior, by phone only; call 763.559.6700. $7/house.
Carl Kroening Interpretive Center

Dec 3
Elk Management Plan Revisions —Public Meeting
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM Public input meeting on elk management plan revisions. Learn more.
New Brighton Community Center (400 10th St. NW, New Brighton, MN)

Dec 3
Proposed Muskie Management —Public Meeting
7 PM to 9 PM DNR is seeking public input to help determine if Fairmont Chain should be stocked with low-densities of muskellunge in 2016. The meeting will include an informational presentation, and opportunities to submit written comments. More info.
Martin County Library (110 North Park, Fairmont, MN)

Dec 4
Date Night! Crampon to Me – Snowshoeing and Clay Weaving $$$
6–9 PM Reservations required. $25/couple. Bring your date (or BFF) for an evening of “Clay ‘n’ Play.” Explore a different natural-based project theme and outdoor activity each month, ending each evening by the fireside. Recreation activities subject to change depending on weather.
Silverwood Park (2500 County Rd E, St. Anthony, MN 55421)

Weekend . . .


Saturday, Dec 5
Winter Riverwalk
Start your morning on a guided hike along the Mississippi! Explore different topics monthly. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
Carl Kroening Interpretive Center

Dec 5
Woodworking with Nature: Holiday Gifts
9:30 AM to 11:30 AM Woodworking with nature is “rooted” in the trees. Trees are marvelous in many ways, from the colors some produce in the fall to the fruits others give us. But have you ever taken a look at all of the things you use every day that come from trees? We will take a look at this and the many other wonders of trees, while putting your creative and craftsmanship skills to work. This is a “make and take” program, so participants will leave with one or more projects they can use as decorations in their own home or give away as holiday gifts. Projects will vary from a couple types of ornaments to natural wood candle holders, so there will be something that interests you regardless of your age. Children must be accompanied by an adult and the cost is $5.00 per person. Participants are required to pre-register by Monday, November 30th and the program is limited to 15 people. More info./register, call: 320-852-7200
Glendalough State Park

Dec 5
Junior Naturalist Hike
10 AM to 11 AM Find out how Lake Maria’s animals are preparing for winter. You’ll also learn about some of their special adaptations for the cold days ahead. Register by calling Lake Maria at 763-878-2325.
Lake Maria State Park

Dec 5
Winter Geocaching
10 AM to 12 PM Enjoy the winter scenery while participating in a high-tech treasure hunt! After a short indoor presentation, we’ll venture out into the park to find a hidden cache. If there is enough snow, we will snowshoe out to the cache. Bring your own snowshoes or use the park’s.
Whitewater State Park

Dec 5
Winter Camping – Everything You Need To Know!
10 AM to 11:30 AM Don’t let cold weather stop you from traveling outdoors for half the year. Learning how to camp comfortably in the winter will allow you to see a whole new world. Please join Bear Paulsen, General Manager of Northstar Canoes, for a morning of learning about how to stay warm in the cold. He’ll cover clothing, safety and the all- important how to sleep comfortably through the long winter night. He’ll discuss how to choose a campsite, shelter options and winter travel from backpacking to pulling a sled through the BWCA.
William O’Brien State Park

Map of State Parks with year-round camping.


Dec 5
Winter Geocaching Challenge
11 AM to 2 PM Get out and explore the park with a winter geocaching adventure. Be the first to try this multi-cache filled with tasks. Beginners to experts welcome. Stop in the Visitor Center Theater to begin your exploration. GPS units are available. This geocache will only be available during the winter season (December – March).
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Dec 5
Survivor! Wildlife Adaptations
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Discover a variety of techniques that Minnesota animals use to cope with harsh winter conditions. Participants will hike in search of signs showing how refuge wildlife hibernate, migrate or deal with the cold in order to survive. Weather permitting, we will hike on snowshoes. This program will be both indoors and outdoors.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

Dec 5
The Coming of Winter
1 PM to 2 PM The days are short and the temperatures are cold, but we still have a few days before we call it Winter. To all wildlife, winter is already here, as we put on thick jackets, animals fatten up and grow longer fur. Come out to Fort Snelling State Park and find out what will Winter bring. We will be starting at the Visitor Center.
Fort Snelling State Park

Dec 5
Nature Tech: Digiscoping
1:00–3:00 p.m. Join NPS Ranger Sharon Stiteler to learn about apps for your smartphone that can enhance your experience outdoors. There are apps that will help you identify birds, butterflies and mammals as well as help you choose the best place to look for them. We’ll even cover photography using your phone and a spotting scope. Bring your phones and unlock some of the secret powers your phone carries to give you a great day outdoors. The program will start with a brief presentation then move along to testing out photography at the feeders. If you have a spotting scope, bring it along.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

Dec 5–6
43rd Annual Folkways of the Holidays $$$
10 AM–4 PM $8 ages 18-64, $5 ages 2-17 and 65+, Children under 2 free
ENTERTAINMENT SCHEDULE——December 5: Sacred Harp, Curtis and Loretta; December 6: Barnett Family Singers Discover the holiday traditions of 19th century Minnesotans. Watch folk art performances, ride a horse-drawn trolley, and tour homes with culturally distinct decorations and crafts. Perfect for scouts working on cultural and heritage badge requirements. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult. Dress for the weather. Last admission at 3 PM.
The Landing (2187 Highway 101 East, Shakopee, MN 55379)

Dec 5
Pet Gifts $$$
1:30–3:30 PM $6 Make dog biscuits, catnip pillows, and stamped cards for pet lovers. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult. Reservations required.
Learn more about where this event is being held
Lowry Nature Center



Sunday, Dec 6
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)

Dec 6
Animal Tracks
1 PM to 2 PM KIDS! Winter with snow on the ground is the best time to see which animals are still active. Bring your parents and guardians to Fort Snelling State Park and join the Naturalist on this animal track program and learn about the animals that lives here also get to make a cool animal track on plaster. Program will start inside the Visitor Center, registration is required. Call 612-725-2724 to register.
Fort Snelling State Park

Dec 6
Free Family Fun Days: Sleepy Salamanders
Drop in anytime! Explore a different topic each week through hands-on activities that everyone can enjoy at their own pace. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
Carl Kroening Interpretive Center

Dec 6
American Eagle
3:00–4:00 p.m. Once on the brink of extinction, the bald eagle is one of America’s triumphant comeback stories. Riveting high definition footage captures this iconic bird’s daily struggle for survival in the wild.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

Dec 6
Snowshoe Hike $$$
3:00–4:30 PM $5 Search on snowshoes for animal tracks and listen for their sounds. Enjoy hot cider or cocoa after. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult. Equipment provided. Reservations required. *20% discount for groups of four or more.
Learn more about where this event is being held
Lowry Nature Center


Upcoming . . .

Dec 8
Winter Dark Yoga $$$
7–8:15 PM $12 (or buy 5 get 1 free) Renew while practicing yoga with instructor Laura Craig. Link breath with movement through a series of poses. Build awareness, concentration and strength by deepening the connection of mind and body. Call 763.694.7707 to register.
Silverwood Park

Dec 12
Wreath-making 101 $$$
1–3 pm. If you’ve never made your own evergreen wreath, here’s an opportunity to learn how–and take yours home! Balsam, pine, and cedar boughs, wreath forms, wire, and even a red ribbon will be supplied, along with a demonstration and easy instructions. Bring your own decorations if you’d like to customize your wreath even more. Two sessions will be held this year on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 10 am to noon and again from 1 to 3 pm. The materials fee is $8.50; maximum 20 people per session. Registration required–please call the park at 218-308-2300 by December 1 to sign up.
Lake Bemidji State Park

Dec 13
Cross-country Ski Lessons: Ski-skating I – Basics $$$
9:30 AM–11 AM $25 (Ski rental $15) Learn beginning ski-skating techniques, including efficient edging, gliding and control. Prior classic skiing experience recommended. Otherwise, a private lesson is encouraged. Reservations required.
Elm Creek Park Reserve

Dec 18
Wild Rice Cook-Off!
1 pm. 20 contestants will bake or cook a dish or dessert with White Earth’s wild rice flour. All contestants will receive 5 lbs of wild rice flour to work with.  To compete, email carlene.hisgun@whiteearth-nsn.gov or call 218-983-3285 x5907 by Dec 9th.
White Earth RTC Cafeteria


March 15–16
MN Shade Tree Short Course
Register now for the annual MN Shade Tree Short Course, a two-day educational event open to all with an interest in forestry and trees.

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