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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.  

  • Art Exhibition: Paying Attention by Debbie Koenigs

    Saturday, September 2 - October 31
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Art Gallery

    After a career in marketing and retail management, Debbie realized her passion lies in understanding and interpreting all things nature. Currently, Debbie is a Park Ranger at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Her career change facilitated a renewed interest in photography, as she is endlessly curious, but often not quick enough to identify species in real time.

    Debbie sees herself as more of a documentarian than an artist. Paying attention to th details in nature brings her to an increased level of consciousness of the world around her. She is especially inspired by our public lands, from city parks along the Mississippi River to the grandeur of our National Wildlife Refuges and National Parks. Debbie is a native of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

  • Meeting Monarchs

    September 9th through October 7th
    Drop-in during regular Visitor Center hours:
    Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center: Tuesday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center: Tuesday - Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    Join refuge staff and Journey North in tracking the monarch migration this year. Begin your adventure at the front desk for equipment and some brief instruction. Then explore the surrounding prairie with net in hand. Afterward take in a monarch video or craft your own “make and take” monarch souvenir. Before you leave, create a monarch to add to our simulated Oyamel roosting tree.

  • National Public Lands Day

    Saturday, September 24
    Watch our website for details.

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Saturday, September 24
    8:00 -10:30 a.m.
    Bass Ponds
    Join us for a bird walk and learn about the birds that visit the Refuge during their fall migration. With a variety of habitats at the different Refuge units you will want to explore them all. During the fall migration period the Refuge offers the opportunity to observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers and sparrows. All are stopping at the Refuge to rest and feed before they continue their southerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome on these walks. Bring along your binoculars, favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.
    Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

  • Beginning Archery

    Saturday, September 24
    10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
    Aim for a rewarding and challenging morning by learning and practicing basic bow and arrow skills using compound bows and traditional targets. With step-by-step instruction followed by target practice you can become an archer, too. Time permitting, we will test our skills with some archery games including Pokémon, tic-tac-toe, and pop-the-balloon! For ages 8 and up, this is an ideal family activity. Equipment provided.

  • CANCELLED - Paddle with Ranger Judy: Color Cruise

    CANCELLED

    Saturday, September 24
    1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
    Long Meadow Lake Unit/Lyndale to Fort Snelling State Park

    Put-In at Lyndale/Russell A. Sorensen Landing
    11135 Lyndale Ave. South, Bloomington, MN 55420
    I-35W, East on 106th St., South on Lyndale Ave.

    Take-Out at Picnic Island, Fort Snelling State Park (*State Park Sticker required)
    I-494/Hwy 5, N to Post Rd, follow signs to park

    Join Ranger Judy for a paddle-with-a-view on the Minnesota River. On this guided excursion we’ll explore the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge from the water and discover some of the best wildlife habitat and scenery around! Provide your own canoe or kayak, equipment, and PFD. A shuttle will be provided at the start. Meet at the Lyndale Avenue landing. Basic paddling skills are required.
    To register, contact Judy Geck at judy_geck@fws.gov or 952-858-0731.

  • Call of the Wild Film Festival

    Sunday, September 25
    3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

    Voyage of the Lonely Turtle
    Join us on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. for films featuring our favorite wildlife and their unique behaviors, habitat needs, and special adaptations. You will also discover how a variety of community partners work together to protect natural resources and manage habitat for wildlife. Recommended for all ages.

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Tuesday, September 27
    8:00 -10:30 a.m.
    Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center
    Join us for a bird walk and learn about the birds that visit the Refuge during their fall migration. With a variety of habitats at the different Refuge units you will want to explore them all. During the fall migration period the Refuge offers the opportunity to observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers and sparrows. All are stopping at the Refuge to rest and feed before they continue their southerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome on these walks. Bring along your binoculars, favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.
    Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

  • Bird Language

    Saturday, October 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/
    Donnie Phyillaier, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Sunday, October 2
    8:00 -10:30 a.m.
    Bass Ponds
    Join us for a bird walk and learn about the birds that visit the Refuge during their fall migration. With a variety of habitats at the different Refuge units you will want to explore them all. During the fall migration period the Refuge offers the opportunity to observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers and sparrows. All are stopping at the Refuge to rest and feed before they continue their southerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome on these walks. Bring along your binoculars, favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.
    Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

  • Call of the Wild Film Festival

    Sunday, October 2
    3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

    The Unknown World
    Join us on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. for films featuring our favorite wildlife and their unique behaviors, habitat needs, and special adaptations. You will also discover how a variety of community partners work together to protect natural resources and manage habitat for wildlife. Recommended for all ages.

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Tuesday, October 4
    8:00 -10:30 a.m.
    Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center
    Join us for a bird walk and learn about the birds that visit the Refuge during their fall migration. With a variety of habitats at the different Refuge units you will want to explore them all. During the fall migration period the Refuge offers the opportunity to observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers and sparrows. All are stopping at the Refuge to rest and feed before they continue their southerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome on these walks. Bring along your binoculars, favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.
    Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

  • 40th Anniversary Celebration!

    Saturday, October 8
    8:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m.
    The refuge is marking its 40th anniversary with a public celebration! The day-long celebration will feature events throughout the refuge and includes hands-on, family-friendly activities such as birding, fishing, hiking and more. Come and celebrate this urban oasis for animal and nature lovers alike, and learn more about one of Minnesota’s best-kept secrets! 

    Click here for more information!

  • Call of the Wild Film Festival

    Sunday, October 9
    3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

    Crane Song
    Join us on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. for films featuring our favorite wildlife and their unique behaviors, habitat needs, and special adaptations. You will also discover how a variety of community partners work together to protect natural resources and manage habitat for wildlife. Recommended for all ages.

  • National Wildlife Refuge Week

    October 9-15

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Monday, October 10
    8:00 -10:30 a.m.
    Bass Ponds
    Join us for a bird walk and learn about the birds that visit the Refuge during their fall migration. With a variety of habitats at the different Refuge units you will want to explore them all. During the fall migration period the Refuge offers the opportunity to observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers and sparrows. All are stopping at the Refuge to rest and feed before they continue their southerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome on these walks. Bring along your binoculars, favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.
    Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Saturday, October 15
    8:00 -10:30 a.m.
    Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center
    Join us for a bird walk and learn about the birds that visit the Refuge during their fall migration. With a variety of habitats at the different Refuge units you will want to explore them all. During the fall migration period the Refuge offers the opportunity to observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers and sparrows. All are stopping at the Refuge to rest and feed before they continue their southerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome on these walks. Bring along your binoculars, favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.
    Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

  • Fall Photo Hike

    Saturday, October 15
    8:30 - 10:30 a.m.
    Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center
    Fall colors should be peaking as we get into October. The Rapids Lake unit has some fantastic tree lined river views, remnants of an old farm, and lots of bursting milkweed. Of all the units on the refuge, this is my favorite for fall photography. Bring lenses for both macro photography as well as landscape photography.
    Don Treddinick, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

  • Call of the Wild Film Festival

    Sunday, October 16
    3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

    River Revival: Working Together to Save the Minnesota River
    Join us on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. for films featuring our favorite wildlife and their unique behaviors, habitat needs, and special adaptations. You will also discover how a variety of community partners work together to protect natural resources and manage habitat for wildlife. Recommended for all ages.

  • Beginning Archery

    Friday, October 21
    10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
    Looking for something to do over MEA? Aim for a rewarding and challenging morning by learning basic archery skills using compound bows and traditional targets. With step-by-step instruction followed by target practice you can become an archer, too! Time permitting, we will test our skills with some archery games including Pokemon, tic-tac-toe, and pop-the-balloon! For ages 8 and up, this is an ideal FREE family activity. Equipment provided.

  • Call of the Wild Film Festival

    Sunday, October 23
    3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

    A Murder of Crows
    Join us on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. for films featuring our favorite wildlife and their unique behaviors, habitat needs, and special adaptations. You will also discover how a variety of community partners work together to protect natural resources and manage habitat for wildlife. Recommended for all ages.

  • Bird Watching Trek

    Saturday, October 29
    8:00 -10:30 a.m.
    Bass Ponds
    Join us for a bird walk and learn about the birds that visit the Refuge during their fall migration. With a variety of habitats at the different Refuge units you will want to explore them all. During the fall migration period the Refuge offers the opportunity to observe a mix of waterfowl, raptors, warblers and sparrows. All are stopping at the Refuge to rest and feed before they continue their southerly migration. Birders of all skill levels are welcome on these walks. Bring along your binoculars, favorite field guide, and dress appropriately for the weather.
    Craig Mandel, Volunteer Refuge Naturalist

  • Celebrate Bat Week!

    Saturday, October 29
    9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
    Come join us to learn more about our furry flying friends! Although we may not always see them, bats are hard at work each night- eating tons of insects, pollinating flowers, and spreading seeds that grow new plants and trees. Bats are often considered to be scary and creepy but they are actually fascinating and vital to the health of our environment and economy. Participants can learn more about bats (and why they need our help now more than ever) and build a bat house to be used by bats to raise their pups. Other activities include bat presentations, bat arts and crafts, bat games, and bat face painting.

  • Call of the Wild Film Festival

    Sunday, October 29
    3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

    Strange Creatures of the Night
    Join us on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. for films featuring our favorite wildlife and their unique behaviors, habitat needs, and special adaptations. You will also discover how a variety of community partners work together to protect natural resources and manage habitat for wildlife. Recommended for all ages.

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2016
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