Public Programs

The Prairie in the Fall

Photo by Scott Sharkey

Registration is required for events marked with an asterisk (*). Programs and events may be cancelled due to inclement weather. For more information, call 952-854-5900.  

  • Visitor Center Hours

    Please note: Offices and Visitor Centers are closed on Federal Holidays

    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center:  

    Current - Memorial Day: Tuesday - Sunday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.   

    After Memorial Day: 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

     

    Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center:

    Labor Day - Memorial Day: Tuesday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

    Memorial Day - Labor Day: Tuesday - Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

       

    • Winter Snowshoe Lending Program

      March 16, 2019: Snowshoe lending at our visitor centers has been suspended due to icy conditions and diminishing snow pack.

      Questions?  Call the Bloomington visitor center at 952-854-5900, or Rapids Lake education and visitor center at 952-361-4500

    • Outing: Bird Walks at Bass Ponds

      Multiple Dates:

      Saturday, March 16; Monday, March 18; Saturday, March 23; Sunday, March 31; Monday, April 1; Monday, April 29; Sunday, May 5; Saturday, June 1

      8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
      Bass Ponds Trails at the Long Meadow Lake Unit
      2501 86th Street East, Bloomington, MN 55425

      Join us for a bird walk at the Bass Ponds trails of the Long Meadow Lake unit of Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Learn about some of the 220 species that stop during their migration south! 

      Birders of all levels are welcome to join! Bring along binoculars, and a field guide if you have one. Please dress for the weather, as the walks will be outside for the duration.

      Meet at the Bass Ponds trailhead.

      Walks led by Refuge volunteer naturalist Craig Mandel

    • *Workshop: Bird Language

      Multiple dates: 

      Sunday, April 7; Sunday, May 5; Sunday, June 2; Sunday, July 7; Sunday, August 4

      9:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
      Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Classroom A
      3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN  

      Want to learn more about birds and their behavior?  Wonder what they're chirping about, or why they suddenly fall silent?  Join Volunteer Refuge Naturalists Jonathon Poppele and Donnie Phyllaier for this special workshop series to learn more!

      Workshops meet at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center indoors for discussion, and will head outside for observations and more learning.  Bring a notebook, pencils, and something to sit on outdoors.  Be sure to dress for the weather!

      Registration encouraged via http://www.mntracking.org, or via Facebook.

    • Speaker: Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter

      Multiple dates (see below):

      7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
      Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
      3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN  

      Join Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter (MRVAC) for their monthly speaker series.  Socialize over cookies and coffee from 7:00-7:30 in the classrooms, and presenters begin at 7:30 in the auditorium.  Visit https://mrvac.org/events/ for more information about birding outings and upcoming meetings and presentations.


      March 28 - Bird Migration with Jim Egge
      Past president of the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis, Jim will discuss bird migrations.  This subject has always been poorly misunderstood, but modern techniques of research have given us the tools to gather information about bird flights around the globe. This program will review recent studies and bird patterns to better understand populations in North and South America

      April 25 - Finding the World's Rarest Bird with Nick Minor
      The Stresemann's Bristlefront is one of the hardest to find birds in the world.  Nick will share the story of finding this rare bird, whose population might be just a single individual, and discuss how this bird may serve as an example of the need to protect Brazil's Atlantic Forest.  

      Please enter the building through the Administrative Doors on the west end of the building. 

    • Outing: Guided Snowshoe Hike

      Saturday, March 16, 2019


      11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
      Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center
      15866 Rapids Lake Rd., Carver, MN 55315 

      Join Refuge staff in participating in a habitat restoration event held at our Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center in Carver, MN.  Learn about the work being done on the Refuge, while dispersing native prairie wildflower and grass seeds near the visitor center.  Snowshoeing is encouraged, but will depend on snow conditions.  Snowshoes are available on site to borrow for this event.  For more information, email Erica Adams at Erica_Adams@fws.gov

    • Workshop: Project Learning Tree (PLT) Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood

      Saturday, March 23, 2019


      9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
      Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
      3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington 55425 

      Activities in this workshop allow children ages 3-6 gain valuable skills: observing, listening, identifying, classifying, making sensory comparisons, and communicating. Experience nature-based activities designed to help children ages 3-6 develop their cognitive, social, physical, and auditory skills. Participants will get a music CD and the PLT Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood book, which contains 11 thematic units consisting of: a main activity, music/movement, reading/writing, snack, art, outdoor play, math/manipulatives, woodworking, and family connections.

      Cost: $30, includes Environmental Activities for Early Childhood activity guide, music CD, 3 CEUs, Develop credits.

      For more information contact: Laura Duffey at 651/259-5263 or laura.duffey@state.mn.us

      Register - WORKSHOP FULL. Register to be put on a waiting list.

    • Workshop: Nature's Notebook training

      Multiple dates: Saturday, March 30 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.; Thursday, April 4 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m


      Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Classroom B
      3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington 55425

       Do you want to experience the Refuge in a new way?  Join the Nature's Notebook project!  There are two training opportunities to learn more about this great way to be engaged in observing nature at the Refuge throughout the seasons.  Looking at plants and animals with purpose using the Nature's Notebook smartphone app, you will discover so much more about the nature you see every day.  Your observations are recorded in a national science database that monitors specific species, and helps inform Refuge management decisions.

      Click here to learn more about this Refuge community science project.

      If interested in becoming a Nature's Notebook volunteer, please contact Biologist Nicole Menard at Nicole_Menard@fws.gov, or call 952-858-0716

    • Workshop: Landscape Photography

      Saturday, April 13

      9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

      Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Auditorium
      3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington 55425 

      Landscape photography can be very challenging, but with the right techniques you can capture some amazing images.  We will start off with a lecture providing some tips and techniques to help you capture the scenery around you, and then head outside for a hike to put what we've learned to use.

      Meet at 9:30 a.m. in the auditorium, and then we'll head over to Bass Ponds (2501 86th St. East, Bloomington 55425).  Bring a tripod, bug spray, and sunscreen, and dress for the weather

       

      This program is provided by Refuge volunteer, and professional photographer, Don Tredinnick.  Visit www.frozenhiker.com/about to learn more about Don.

    • Workshop: iNaturalist Training

      Saturday, April 13

       10:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.

      Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Classroom B
      3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington 55425 

      Join staff Biologist Nicole Menard for training on how to use the iNaturalist app in your outdoor explorations! We'll help you get ready to use iNaturalist to collect plant and animal observations on the Refuge and throughout the seven metro area counties over April 26-29 for the international City Nature Challenge!

      iNaturalist is a free observation platform that acts as place for people to record biodiversity observations, interact with other enthusiasts, and learn about organisms. It is easy for all skill levels to use! All you do is:

      1) Find Plants and Wildlife (or sign like tracks and scat).

      2) Take a Picture of What you Find.

      3) Share Your Observations and upload your findings through iNaturalist. (This is the part our training will focus on)

      Click here for more information on iNaturalist and to set up a user account.  Questions? Contact Nicole Menard at Nicole_Menard@fws.gov or 952-858-0716

    • City Nature Challenge on the Refuge

      Saturday, April 27
      10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
      Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
      3815 American Boulevard East, Bloomington, MN 55425

      Over April 26-29, more than 70 cities around the world will compete in the annual City Nature Challenge to prove that their area has the most nature and the most nature-loving residents - and we want the Twin Cities to win!

      Join us Saturday, April 27 to help us compete in the City Nature Challenge by using the iNaturalist app on the Refuge!  Drop in at the Bloomington Visitor Center between 10 a.m.-3 p.m. to get help record and identify all the cool things you see on Refuge trails to add to our Twin Cities records!

      All ages welcome!

      Click here for more information on iNaturalist and to set up a user account.  Questions? Contact Nicole Menard at Nicole_Menard@fws.gov or 952-858-0716

    • Outings: Bird Walk at Rapids Lake

       Sunday, April 28

      8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
      Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center

      15865 Rapids Lake Road, Carver, MN

      Join us for a bird walk at the Rapids Lake unit of Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Learn about some of the 220 species that stop during their migration! 

      Birders of all levels are welcome to join! Bring along binoculars, and a field guide if you have one. Please dress for the weather, as the walks will be outside for the duration.

      Meet at the visitor center parking lot.

      Walks led by Refuge volunteer naturalist Craig Mandel