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.

September 28: Spark Birds + 50th Anniversary

Presented by Al Batt – Author, Humorist & Birder

If you have heard Al before, you know you are going to be in for a treat. If you haven’t heard Al speak, plan to be here. What in the world is a spark bird? What is your spark bird? Why is it your spark bird? Can you trade spark birds with your friends? Al Batt will endeavor to answer your spark bird questions.

Besides Al Batt as the speaker – a treat in itself – there will be cake and some other taste treats to celebrate MRVAC’s 50th Anniversary.

There will also be a photographer, so wear something photogenic and/or bird-related.

Thursday, September 28

  • 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.

SPECIAL EVENT – MRVAC Day at Cedar Creek on July 8th

Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), Dave Menke, USFWS
On July 8. 9:30 – noon, you will have a unique opportunity to get a “back-stage” look at the Red-Headed Woodpecker Recover Project and the many nesting RHWP at Cedar Creek. 

As part of MRVAC’s 50th Anniversary we are sponsoring a MRVAC Day at Cedar Creek. We will start the day with a short presentation about the RHWP Recovery Project’s new initiative to track the migratory path of the these little-studied birds and then we will have a guided walk into the closed nesting area. 

If you are interested in joining us please send an email to gburnes@comcast.net. There is no charge, though any donations would be appreciated to help support MRVAC’s on-going work.

We have limited space and will send out more information as we get closer to July 8th.

May 25: The Rarest Birds of North America

Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Presented Bob Russell, USFWS, Retired

We’ll take a look at the rarest bird species of North America from the never-photographed Semper’s Warbler, to the controversial claims that the Lord God bird – the Ivory-billed Woodpecker – still exists. Updates on Whooping Cranes, Kirtland’s Warbler, and the continuing search for the Eskimo Curlew will be discussed. An in-depth review of the history of the Carolina Parakeet with some information on records since 1950 (!!) will highlight this program.

Thursday, May 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.

June 22: MRVAC 50th Anniversary Picnic

MVNWR Bloomington Visitor Center

Join us as we celebrate MRVAC’s 50 year anniversary!

We plan on “changing up” our annual membership picnic for our 50th Anniversary. Join us on June 22nd at the Minnesota River Valley Refuge. Here is the agenda:

  • At 5:30pm MRVAC will sponsor a guided bird-walk
  • At 6:15pm we will have our annual pot-luck dinner. Please bring something to share, MRVAC will be supply drinks and cake.
  • At 7:00pm we will move to the auditorium for the evening’s presentation by Neil Wingert. Neil’s around-the-world birding trip garnered many pictures and stories; he has agreed to share some of the best ones with us.

It should be a fun evening. Please come, and bring family and friends.

A Global Big Year by Neil Wingert

The WingertsNeil Wingert promised his wife they would go south and west for the winter after he retired at the end of 2015. They both got more than he had imagined. Neil will present photos and highlights from his 2016 Big Year which found him in 9 countries: New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Turkey, Germany, Spain, Bolivia, Ecuador and the USA. If you can’t attend this program, all his sightings and photos were entered into eBird.

March 23: Changing the Future for Endangered Species

Piping Plover. Matt Poole, courtesy USFWS

Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) is a global network of conservation professionals headquartered in Minnesota, dedicated to saving threatened species by increasing the effectiveness of conservation efforts worldwide.

Dr. Onnie Byers, Chair, IUCN SSC Conservation, will discuss mammals from the coastal scrublands of Tasmania, amphibians from a unique gorge in Tanzania, birds from the forests of Japan, and plants from the rocky caves of Bermuda –stories that illustrate ways in which our commitment to science, collaboration and neutral facilitation has helped improve the status of threatened species in the wild by helping the people already working to conserve a species come to agreement on what needs to be done to succeed.

Thursday, February 23

  • 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.