October 25: Wildlife on the Edge – Conservation in New Zealand

Presented by Jordana Whyte: Trustee, New Zealand Sea Lion Trust 

Sea Lions, courtesy of New Zealand Sea Lion Trust (Facebook)

New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most unique and endangered wildlife. After relocating several years ago, “Kiwi-sotan” Jordana Whyte threw herself into conservation in her new hometown of Dunedin, known as the Wildlife Capital of New Zealand, on the South Island. She will share some of her conservation experiences and the treasured native species found on the edge of the world, including the rare Yellow-Eyed Penguin.

Thursday, October 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.

September 27: How to find the rare and unexpected birds

Presented by Ben Douglas, http://bigdouglas.blogspot.com

Black-throated blue warbler, Ben Douglas

In 2017, Ben Douglas found 243 species in Washington County, including 3 first and second county records. He will share stories that draw upon previous experience including his 2018 State Park Big Year where he visited all 73 State Parks and Recreation Areas in just 7 months. Ben will explain his process for maximizing his county and year list, finding rarities and show you how you can transform the way you birdwatch. Also, he will share the equipment he uses to easily document his finds. 

Thursday, September 27

  • 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.

Help raise educational funds! What could you donate?

Betsy Magee sets up in the Visitor Center (2017).

Holiday Auction: November 15, 2018

Please think about what donations you could collect for the fundraising auction Thursday November 15 – or if you can join our auction team. 

We could especially use a few larger items like a boat trip, use of a cabin, a homemade dinner or a special adventure. 

Please email the committee with your ideas or let us know in advance, ideally by October 1 if possible, about your contributions so we can mention them in our publicity: 

Meetings Resume in September

The next general MRVAC meeting with a speaker will be on September 27, 2018. Steve Weston, MRVAC Vice President and the speaker coordinator promises a great lineup for the upcoming program year, but can’t yet reveal any specifics. Plan to join us at the Bloomington Visitor Center of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. 

In the meantime, if you need a project, think about local habitat improvements. Could you add some (more) native plants and trees in your yard? Perhaps volunteer with your city, the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge or Great River Greening on some habitat project. 

August 18: Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah

Birds, Butterflies & Blooms

Produced by Henderson Feathers

9 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!

  • Bender Park: 200 N. Third Street
  • Minnesota New Country School (MNCS): 210 Main Street
  • Garden: Corner of 4th Street & Oak Street

9:00 am – noon: Hummingbird Banding in the garden

9:30 am – 10:30 am: Garden Tour – Master gardener Sarah Malchow

9:30 am: Painting with Lana Beck…$15 fee (2 hour Session)
(Limited Class Size of 12, please pre-register at 507-665-6570 to save a spot!)

10:45 am – 11:30 am: David Rice, Gardener/Instructor (MNCS Speaker)

12:30 pm: Painting with Lana Beck…$15 fee (2 hour Session)
(Limited Class Size of 12, please pre-register at 507-665-6570 to save a spot!)

1:00 pm – 1:45 pm: Donald Mitchell, Master Gardener (MNCS Speaker)

1:45 pm – 2:30 pm: Garden Tour – Master gardener Jackie Smith

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm: Al Batt, Author & Humorist (MNCS Speaker)
Educational Displays: MN River Valley Audubon Chapter
Monarchs – MN Ext. Blue Earth County, Cody Sievert – Bees & More!

4:00 pm: Drawing for Raffle Prizes! Need not be present to win!

9:00 am – 4:00 pm: Children’s Activities – MNCS Library
Includes Coloring Contest / Cash Prizes!!!
Lillipop Clown, Face Painting & More!
Hummingbird Mall Vendors… Food… Raffle Prizes!!!

FREE Fun for the Whole Family!

Volunteer to Lead/Co-lead Bird Walks

Would you be willing to share a favorite birding spot with other MRVAC members? Birding by bike or canoe might be fun! Pick your favorite park or trail, somewhere close by or further afield, and then contact me, Cheri Fox, about adding an outing to next year’s field trip schedule. We’d love to have a few more field trip leaders. I can be reached by phone at 612-590-1261 or cherifoxj@gmail.com.

If you have been thinking about leading a walk but are a little unsure about it, you may set up a field trip with a co-leader. You need not be an expert, you just need to be welcoming to your participants and have some experience with the trip location. For example, it’s very helpful if you have birded there before, know the park features (restrooms, optional trails back to the parking lot) – and where at least a few birds are likely to be found. 

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.