June 28: MRVAC Potluck & Red-headed Woodpecker Presentation

Please join us for a guided bird walk, a pot-luck picnic, and a great presentation. This event is open to anyone – members, friends, prospective members and fans of Red-headed Woodpeckers.

Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker, courtesy USFWS

5:30: Short guided bird walk

  • Bring your binoculars – some loaner pairs will be available and there should be a few spotting scopes there as well.

6:15: Annual pot-luck dinner

  • Please bring some food to share and your own plate, utensils and glass or cup as we are aiming for a waste-free evening.
  • MRVAC will supply drinks and cake.

7:00: Red-headed Woodpecker presentation

Thursday, June 28

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

May 24: Nature at Our Doorstep with Matt Schuth

Presented by Matt Schuth, MN Landscape Arboretum

Join us for Matt’s photos and stories. He has worked in various capacities at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum since 1982, managing maple syrup production, working on wetland projects with graduate students, helping to prepare and maintain research plots, setting up bluebird trails, wood duck houses, and osprey nests, and keeping track of bird, mammal, and butterfly sightings at the Arboretum.

He continues to write about the natural world for the Arboretum Magazine and to conduct nature walks and talks throughout the year. His book Nature at Our Doorstep was published in June 2017.

Thursday, May 24

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

April 26: Monitoring Minnesota Bats

by Melissa Boman – Minnesota Biological Survey, MN DNR

Little Brown Bat, Myotis lucifugus

Bats are an incredible mammal species that provide us with many ecological benefits. Learn about the different species of bats in Minnesota and how the deadly disease, White-nose Syndrome will impact bats in the state and across North America.

Bat survey specialist Melissa Boman will discuss ongoing monitoring conducted by the Minnesota Biological Survey and measures you can take to contribute to bat conservation.

Thursday, April 26

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

March 22: Minnesota’s Birds: What We Thought We Knew, What We Now Know, What We Still Don’t Know

by Bob Dunlap – Minnesota DNR, President of Minnesota Ornithologist’s Union

Great horned owl, Bubo virginianus

We’ve learned a few things about Minnesota’s birds since the turn of the century. Bob Dunlap, a zoologist with the MN Department of Natural Resources and current president of the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union, will guide us through some new insights and new frontiers for birding in Minnesota.

Thursday, March 22

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

February 22: Water Birds of the North Ottawa Impoundment, Grant County

by Christine Herwig – Minnesota DNR, Nongame Wildlife Program

Black-necked Stilt, Frank Schulenburg/Flickr Creative Commons

Christine Herwig, Regional Nongame Specialist for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Wildlife Program, will discuss waterbird use at North Ottawa Impoundment located in Grant County. This impoundment was created to reduce floods along the Red River but has a secondary benefit of providing habitat to birds. Christine will talk about the monitoring efforts and some of the rare and unusual species that have been observed.

Thursday, February 22

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

January 25: Penguins in the Antarctic

by Katy Shannon, Naturalist 

Gentoo Penguins, courtesy of audubon.org

During the winter of 2015 – 2016, when the Larsen 3 ice-shelf was still intact on the Antarctic Peninsula, my son and I had the adventure of a lifetime! We went on an expedition to the Falkland Islands, the South Georgia Islands, the Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. During the voyage we saw seven different types of penguins and many other birds and mammals. I am excited to share our sightings and experiences, and a little info about the region with you.

Thursday, January 25

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

Holiday Auction! Thursday, November 16

Get some of your holiday shopping done, have fun and raise money to support a variety of environmental education projects. Come and bid often, bid high and have fun doing it for our environmental education program!

If you can donate auction items or provide refreshments, thank you!!

Where: Our annual fundraising auction will be held at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center: 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington

When: Thursday November 16, 2017 at 5:30-9:00 pm

  • 5:30 pm  Drop off auction donations, check out the items on offer and enjoy  refreshments.
  • 6:45 – 8:15 pm  Live auction – Mark Lystig and Scott Clark team up again. If you attended in past years, you know they are not to be missed!
  • 8:15 – 8:55 pm check out and clean up

Why: Raise money for Refuge needs and other environmental education projects

Who: You and your friends. Please come to the Auction and buy something – we’ll have items in every price range.

  1. Make plans to drop off your contribution ahead of time. Coordinate with Anne: 952-936-0811(h), anne_hanley90@hotmail.com
  2. Please let Robin Kutz know if you can bring some snacks. Call her at 612-723-2632 or email robinkutz13@gmail.com
  3. If you need to bring your items on Thursday evening, please make every effort to deliver them between 5:30 and 6:15 pm so people can preview your items before the bidding starts.

To tempt you to attend, here are some Auction items we know about so far:

  • Vortex Raptor 8.5×32 Binoculars, retail value $99.99. Quality porro prisms; mid-size, wide angle design featuring waterproof, fog-proof construction and fully multi-coated optics -delivers a bright, crisp image with excellent color fidelity—even in low light conditions. This binocular can be easily adjusted to fit anyone.
  • Tripod for camera or scope
  • Monopod
  • Bird feeders: tube type, new
  • 2-volume boxed set of the 1966 Original Water Color Paintings of John James Audubon. It is in mint condition.
  • Bavarian Mints (Rita Baden)
  • Krumkake ($10 flat rate per dozen) (Cheri Fox)
  • Bread
  • Wine
  • Gift certificates
  • Ceramics
  • Ugandan basket (red, pine green, tan and brown with white accents)
  • Ugandan handcrafted 28” multi-strand beaded necklace (cinnamon and lime green colored)
  • Bird of your choice custom crossstitched on clothing or household item (sandhill crane, scissor tailed flycatcher, red bellied woodpecker, etc)
  • Bald Eagle plush toy 9” tall, Jaag brand

Give to the Max Day: November 16, 2017

‘Tis the season of giving, and as you plan your charitable donations for 2017, please consider donating to MRVAC. We’ve partnered with GiveMN.org to help make donations quick and easy: https://givemn.org/organization/Minnesota-River-Valley-Audubon-Chapter.

One of MRVAC’s main objectives is to teach children about the importance of getting outdoors, experiencing nature, and caring for wildlife and the environment. To achieve these goals, we provide birding curriculum materials to schools, provide funding to enable busing to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, and conduct and organize river cleanups in the community. We also provide funding to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to hire interns.

GiveMN links donors with organizations that are working to make Minnesota a better place. Its online giving website, GiveMN.org, enables charitable giving any time and any place, allowing people to donate with ease and enthusiasm. GiveMN brings innovation, energy and fresh ideas to Minnesota generosity.

GiveMN is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and an affiliate of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. Explore GiveMN.org today.

2017 Christmas Bird Count & Soup Supper: December 16-17

You are invited to join us for the 118th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). All levels of experience are welcome. Young birders with good eyes and ears are especially appreciated as an addition to a team of more experienced birders with good ID skills. Come help us count the birds!

Three counts are associated with MRVAC:

  • Bloomington CBC  – Saturday 12/16 – Contact: Bart Anderson 612-719- 6103, andersonbartlee@gmail.com.
  • Excelsior CBC  – Saturday 12/16 – Contacts: Howard Towle towle001@umn.edu.  *Call Howard no later than Dec 9 to participate
  • Cedar Creek Bog CBC  – Sunday 12/17 – Contact: Steve Weston at sweston2@comcast.net.

Potluck Soup Supper, Saturday, 12/16

On Saturday, 12/16, gather between 4:30 and 5 pm to help set up for a potluck soup supper  at the Diamond Lake Lutheran Church, 5760 Portland Ave 55417. Juice and coffee will be available from 5 to 5:30 and the meal begins at 5:30 pm. Please bring soup, veggies, fruit, bread or dessert. Please contact Robin at 612-723-2632 or robinkutz13@gmail.com if you have soupsupper questions. You are welcome at the supper whether you counted with the Bloomington CBC or not.

The Bloomington CBC  (Saturday, Dec. 16) is centered on the Black Dog Power Plant on the Minnesota River and includes parts of Bloomington, Burnsville, Richfield, Eagan, Apple Valley, and smaller parts of other cities. If you would like to help count in this area, contact Bart Anderson (see above).

The Excelsior CBC  (Saturday, Dec. 16) is centered on the intersection of Hwys 5 and 101 in Eden Prairie and includes parts of Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Chanhassen, Chaska and Shakopee. If you’d like to help count in the SW Metro area, please contact Howard Towle (see above) no later than December 9 as it is hard to rearrange the groups at the last minute.

Alternatively, you can participate in the Excelsior count by helping to cover a portion of Carver Park . Please contact Kirk Mona (the naturalist at the Lowry Nature Center) no later than December 9 if you would like to arrange to bird a specific portion of the park: Kirk Mona, Naturalist, Lowry Nature Center at 763-694-7650.

For the Cedar Creek Bog CBC  (Sunday 12/17) in northern Anoka and southern Isanti counties, please contact Steve Weston (see above). There are not expected to be many openings available to participate in this count.

October 26: The Greater Prairie Chicken

Presented by Greg Hoch, Minnesota DNR

For ten months of the year, the Greater Prairie Chicken’s drab colors allow it to disappear into the landscape. However, in April and May this grouse is one of the most outrageously flamboyant birds in North America. Competing with each other for the attention of females, males gather before dawn in an explosion of visual and audio displays – “booming from the mists of nowhere” as Aldo Leopold wrote decades ago. There is nothing else like it, and it came perilously close to being lost. Greg Hoch shows that we can ensure that this iconic bird flourishes once again.

Thursday, October 26

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail), The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.