Public Programs

In response to CDC and local guidance for COVID-19, indoor programs and events have been suspended and postponed. Many online or virtual programs are planned. Per federal guidance, masks are required for all visitors on federal grounds when social distancing is not possible, and within federal buildings.  For more information, call 952-854-5900 or visit   


Click on the titles below to links for additional details

Family Programs

 Forest Bathing

  • Saturday, October 9, 2021
  • Time: 12:30-2:30pm
  • Location: Hillside Trail-3815 American Blvd. E, Bloomington, MN 55425
  • Registration Link:
 Join volunteer naturalist Judy Geck for a two-hour forest bath — an experience that will help bring you into the present moment, de-stress and relax. Prepare for 2 hours outdoors and slow walking. Dress for the weather and bring water.


Bird Walks 


 Explore some of the best Refuge units for bird watching during the fall season. We will spend time on these walks searching for birds only seen on the Refuge during migration.

Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring binoculars, your favorite field guide and dress appropriately for the weather.

Led by Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist. Reservations are not required.

Speaker Series

Artist Presentations from the Confluence Gallery

A Common Thread: Virtual Artist Talk with Naomi Hart

 Wednesday, October 13 at 6:30 p.m.


Join us for a live online discussion with the artist, Naomi Hart as she discusses her latest exhibition, A Common Thread, on display virtually at Minnesota Valley NWR's Confluence Gallery.  Please visit for a link to the Virtual Artist Talk, via Zoom.

For more information, a Virtual Tour, and the Exhibition Catalog please visit the gallery website at

Artist exhibitions and presentations are provided through a collaboration with Artistry and the Minnesota Valley Refuge FriendsVisit the Confluence Gallery webpage for details about this partnership, current exhibitions, and public programming.


Audubon Speaker Series

Hosted in collaboration with Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter (MRVAC). To receive updates and links for virtual presentations, please visit to view or subscribe to their newsletters.


Audubon Speaker Series: Biodiversity & Research in the Sax-Zim Bog
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Time: 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Virtual
Link: A link will be added closer to the meeting date.

While research at the Sax-Zim Bog includes surveying Golden-winged Warblers, Owls, and supporting organizations or individuals studying specific species in the Bog, it can also include documenting biodiversity by citizen scientists through organized surveys such as our BioBlitz and Christmas Bird Counts or reports on iNaturalist. We will the different surveying and research projects happening in the Sax-Zim Bog and share some of the interesting and exciting results.

    Minnesota Valley Refuge Friends

    • Please check back for upcoming dates and times


    Visitor Center Special Exhibits

    Confluence Art Gallery at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

    • September 13 - November 5: Naomi Hart, "A Common Thread"
    • November 15 - December 31: Ellen Sandbeck, "As Long as the River Shall Run"
    Due to COVID-19, Confluence Gallery is currently available by virtual showing only. Click the link above for more exhibition information.

      Hunting and Fishing 

      Long Meadow Lake and Bloomington Ferry Units are includes in a special archery deer hunt for 2021.

      Hunts are scheduled to occur September 28- October 1, 2021, October 27-29, 2021, and December 1-3, 2021.

      Areas of the refuge impacted will include the Long Meadow Lake and Bloomington Ferry Units where archery deer hunting is allowed. Within the refuge this hunt is archery only.

      Visitor Impacts
      We encourage all trail users to take steps to be proactive about their safety. We recommend all visitors wear bright orange or pink during hunting seasons, and require pets to be leashed at all times. Off trail travel is prohibited unless you are actively hunting in legal seasons.

      Hunters are not permitted to shoot on, from, across, or within 100 feet of any road, parking area, or designated trail.

      For more information about hunting on the refuge, you can visit our hunting website at: