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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.  

  • March and April Art Exhibit: Nancy Dardis

    Nancy Dardis Art Gallery

    Nancy Dardis' Pyrography Exhibit, which includes over 30 pieces of wood burning, will be available for viewing in the art gallery at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center between March 1-April 30. Additionally, Nancy will be conducting live demonstrations from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays, March 11, 25 and April 15.

    This Bloomington artist has been working in pyrography since 2000 and she works primarily on basswood. Her subjects are studies of wildlife in its natural habitat. The works in this particular exhibit range from owls, eagles and songbirds to deer, wolves and moose.

    In addition, Dardis enjoys doing pet portrait commissions from photographs. She works to capture that special spark or certain cock of the head that makes each pet special.

    Be sure to browse the gallery on your next visit to the refuge!

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Monday, March 27
    8:00 - 10:30 a.m.
    Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead  

    Join us for a bird watching trek at the Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead of the Long Meadow Lake Unit and learn about the birds that visit the refuge during their spring migration. During spring migration observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers, and other songbirds resting and feeding before they continue their northerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring along your binoculars, your favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.

    Led by Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

    You can reach Craig at (952) 240-7647 if you have any questions or need help finding the trailhead!

  • Poetry Corner

    Saturdays in April
    9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Hearth Room)

    Celebrate National Poetry Month with us! Every week, we will have a different type of poetry prompt and nature-related poetry books to browse. Stop by the refuge and try your hand at composing a haiku, acrostic, limerick or shape poem on our magnetic whiteboard.

  • Bird Language*

    Saturday, April 1
    9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Classroom A) 

    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. To register, visit: http://www.mntracking.org/. 

    Led by Jonathon Poppele and Donnie Phyillaier, Volunteer Refuge Naturalists 

  • Art Lecture and Demonstration

    Saturday, April 1
    10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

    Mary Pettis is a classically trained artist who works mostly from life, using the Alla Prima or Direct Method of oil painting. Her lifetime in art is a journey reflected in hundreds of originals and thousands of reproductions and etchings collected in nearly every state and several countries. In the mid-1990s Mary met Jim Wilcox, who introduced her to the “wet-in-wet” plein air approach, which led to “sheer fright and utter joy to paint directly, to strive towards putting the right color in the right place in one fell swoop!” Mary Pettis will discuss her history and life as an artist, along with giving a plein air style demonstration.

    Sponsored by Outdoor Painters of Minnesota

  • Wild Writers! Connecting to Nature through Poetry Workshop

    Saturday, April 1
    12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

    Spring is coming and so is National Poetry Month!  
    Just as a beautiful picture draws you in, poetry paints a picture with words. 

    Join Ranger Judy and the League of Minnesota Poets to creatively connect with nature using poetic forms and favorite words.  We will learn about composition and inspiration, construct group poems, share favorite poems and discuss resources to bring poetry and nature together. Nature inspires creativity and the Refuge provides ongoing opportunities to connect to nature through poetry. 
    FREE and open to all ages.

  • Story Hike: Sky Color

    Saturday, April 1
    Ranger-led Hike: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Self-guided Hike: 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Hillside Trail)

    April is a great month to get back outside! Join a ranger for an easy hike for little legs and read pages of Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds as you go! There will be a different story to read each week, giving you reasons to come time and time again. This trail is not stroller friendly, so please come prepared.

    While there is an afternoon ranger-led hike, the laminated story pages will be located throughout the loop and available for you to explore at your own pace from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.!

  • Paint Out: Outdoor Painters of Minnesota

    Saturday, April 1
    1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Indoors and Outdoors)

    Outdoor Painters of Minnesota will be painting in and around the visitor center. They invite you to come by, ask questions and watch them paint in plein air, or open air, style!

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Sunday, April 2
    8:00 - 10:30 a.m.  
    Bass Ponds  

    Join us for a bird watching trek at the Bass Ponds Trailhead of the Long Meadow Lake Unit and learn about the birds that visit the refuge during their spring migration. During spring migration observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers, and other songbirds resting and feeding before they continue their northerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring along your binoculars, your favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.

    Led by Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist 

    You can reach Craig at (952) 240-7647 if you have any questions or need help finding the trailhead!

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Monday, April 3
    8:00 - 10:30 a.m.
    Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead 

    Join us for a bird watching trek at the Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead of the Long Meadow Lake Unit and learn about the birds that visit the refuge during their spring migration. During spring migration observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers, and other songbirds resting and feeding before they continue their northerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring along your binoculars, your favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.

    Led by Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist 

    You can reach Craig at (952) 240-7647 if you have any questions or need help finding the trailhead!

  • Story Hike: One Duck Stuck

    Saturday, April 8
    Ranger-led Hike: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Self-guided Hikes: 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Hillside Trail)

    April is a great month to get back outside! Join a ranger for an easy hike for little legs and read pages of One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root as you go! There will be a different story to read each week, giving you reasons to come time and time again. This trail is not stroller friendly, so please come prepared.

    While there is an afternoon ranger-led hike, the laminated story pages will be located throughout the loop and available for you to explore at your own pace from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.!

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Monday, April 10
    8:00 - 10:30 a.m.
    Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead 

    Join us for a bird watching trek at the Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead of the Long Meadow Lake Unit and learn about the birds that visit the refuge during their spring migration. During spring migration observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers, and other songbirds resting and feeding before they continue their northerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring along your binoculars, your favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.

    Led by Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist 

    You can reach Craig at (952) 240-7647 if you have any questions or need help finding the trailhead!

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Tuesday, April 11
    8:00 - 10:30 a.m.  
    Rapids Lake Unit

    Join us for a bird watching trek at the Rapids Lake Unit and learn about the birds that visit the refuge during their spring migration. During spring migration observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers, and other songbirds resting and feeding before they continue their northerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring along your binoculars, your favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.

    Led by Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

    You can reach Craig at (952) 240-7647 if you have any questions or need help finding the Rapids Lake Visitor Center!

  • Sky Dance*

    Tuesday, April 11
    7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Clif Fen Trailhead of the Black Dog Preserve Unit

    Late March and April are special times of ritual for American Woodcock. Meet us at Clif Fen Trailhead Kiosk by the soccer fields and come along on a journey to observe their unforgettable aerial displays as twilight takes hold of the refuge. There is nothing like it! Space is very limited and reservations are required. Cameras are not allowed during this program and red flashlights will be provided. Please wear sturdy footwear and dark, quiet clothing to avoid disturbing the birds. To register call Judy Geck at 952-858-0731 or email minnesotavalleyrefuge@gmail.com.

    Led by Judy Geck, Refuge Ranger

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Saturday, April 15
    8:00 - 10:30 a.m.
    Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead 

    Join us for a bird watching trek at the Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead of the Long Meadow Lake Unit and learn about the birds that visit the refuge during their spring migration. During spring migration observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers, and other songbirds resting and feeding before they continue their northerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring along your binoculars, your favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.

    Led by Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist 

    You can reach Craig at (952) 240-7647 if you have any questions or need help finding the trailhead!

  • Wood Burning Demonstration

    Saturday, April 15
    9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

    Nancy Dardis, our exhibitor in the art gallery for March and April, is conducting a live wood burning demonstration in the visitor center. Stop by and see what she's working on! 

  • Story Hike: Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet

    Saturday, April 15
    Ranger-led Hike: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Self-guided Hikes: 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Hillside Trail)

    April is a great month to get back outside! Join a ranger for an easy hike for little legs and read pages of Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet by Joe Rossi as you go! There will be a different story to read each week, giving you reasons to come time and time again. This trail is not stroller friendly, so please come prepared.

    While there is an afternoon ranger-led hike, the laminated story pages will be located throughout the loop and available for you to explore at your own pace from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.!

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Monday, April 17
    8:00 - 10:30 a.m.
    Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead 

    Join us for a bird watching trek at the Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead of the Long Meadow Lake Unit and learn about the birds that visit the refuge during their spring migration. During spring migration observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers, and other songbirds resting and feeding before they continue their northerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring along your binoculars, your favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.

    Led by Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist 

    You can reach Craig at (952) 240-7647 if you have any questions or need help finding the trailhead!

  • Sky Dance*

    Tuesday, April 18
    7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Clif Fen Trailhead of the Black Dog Preserve Unit

    Late March and April are special times of ritual for American Woodcock. Meet us at Clif Fen Trailhead Kiosk by the soccer fields and come along on a journey to observe their unforgettable aerial displays as twilight takes hold of the refuge. There is nothing like it! Space is very limited and reservations are required. Cameras are not allowed during this program and red flashlights will be provided. Please wear sturdy footwear and dark, quiet clothing to avoid disturbing the birds. To register call Judy Geck at 952-858-0731 or email minnesotavalleyrefuge@gmail.com.

    Led by Judy Geck, Refuge Ranger

  • Earth Day Clean Up!

    Saturday, April 22
    8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

    Celebrate Earth Day by participating in our Annual Earth Day Clean-Up at Minnesota Valley. Bring the family and help us pick up trash at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center.  Your assistance improves wildlife habitat so get connected to nature on Earth Day! Supplies and equipment provided. Dress for the weather.

     

  • Story Hike: One Dog Canoe

    Saturday, April 22
    Ranger-led Hike: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Self-guided Hikes: 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Hillside Trail)

    April is a great month to get back outside! Join a ranger for an easy hike for little legs and read pages of One Dog Canoe by Mary Casanova as you go! There will be a different story to read each week, giving you reasons to come time and time again. This trail is not stroller friendly, so please come prepared.

    While there is an afternoon ranger-led hike, the laminated story pages will be located throughout the loop and available for you to explore at your own pace from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.!

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Monday, April 24
    8:00 - 10:30 a.m.  
    Rapids Lake Unit

    Join us for a bird watching trek at the Rapids Lake Unit and learn about the birds that visit the refuge during their spring migration. During spring migration observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers, and other songbirds resting and feeding before they continue their northerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring along your binoculars, your favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.

    Led by Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist 

    You can reach Craig at (952) 240-7647 if you have any questions or need help finding the Rapids Lake Visitor Center!

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Saturday, April 29
    8:00 - 10:30 a.m.
    Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead 

    Join us for a bird watching trek at the Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead of the Long Meadow Lake Unit and learn about the birds that visit the refuge during their spring migration. During spring migration observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers, and other songbirds resting and feeding before they continue their northerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring along your binoculars, your favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.

    Led by Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist 

    You can reach Craig at (952) 240-7647 if you have any questions or need help finding the trailhead!

  • Story Hike: Turtle Splash

    Saturday, April 29
    Ranger-led Hike: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Self-guided Hikes: 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Hillside Trail)

    April is a great month to get back outside! Join a ranger for an easy hike for little legs and read pages of Turtle Splash by Cathryn Falwell as you go! There will be a different story to read each week, giving you reasons to come time and time again. This trail is not stroller friendly, so please come prepared.

    While there is an afternoon ranger-led hike, the laminated story pages will be located throughout the loop and available for you to explore at your own pace from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.!

  • Spring Flowers Photo Hike and Lecture

    Saturday, May 6
    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

    May is an interesting time in Minnesota for flowers. Before the trees leaf out, there are a number of spring ephemerals that bloom. These last only a couple of weeks before they are gone! Our goal will be to try and locate some of these flowers and try a number of different techniques for capturing them.

    We will begin in the classroom with a presentation on flower photography that will help you get some of those "wow" photos. Who knows, you may even get a great shot to share with Mom on Mother's Day! Some of the topics to be covered are:

    -5 types of flower photography
    -Challenges
    -Tips and tricks
    -Locations for photographing flowers

    After the class, we will go out and photograph some of the flowers around the refuge. Please bring bug spray, sturdy footwear, and long pants (we are in prime tick season).

    Led by Don Tredinnick and Peter Berman, Volunteer Refuge Volunteers

  • Bird Language*

    Saturday, June 3
    9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Classroom A) 

    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. To register, visit: http://www.mntracking.org/. 

    Led by Jonathon Poppele and Donnie Phyillaier, Volunteer Refuge Naturalists 

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2017
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