What we're about

Photo of Old Cedar Avenue bridge by Mike Richards. Used with permission.

This Meetup group provides free events and activities centered around the Big 6 wildlife-dependent recreational uses for visitors of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge - hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education and interpretation.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is composed of 14,000 acres that stretch 70 miles along the Minnesota River from Fort Snelling in Bloomington to Henderson and includes a 10,000-acre, 14-county Wetland Management District. Since its founding in 1976 by motivated residents, all activities and events at the Refuge have remained free and open to everyone. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is one of 14 National Priority Urban Refuges within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. With more than 46 miles of trails and two visitor centers, the Refuge is unique in its urban setting that is tucked within the shadows of the Mall of America and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, as well as within walking distance of the metro area's light rail system. The Refuge provides its 3.5 million neighbors in the Twin Cities, as well as visitors from around the world, with opportunities to connect with nature, participate in a variety of outdoor recreational activities, and improve habitat for resident and migrating wildlife. Plan your visit to Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge by visiting https://www.fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley/.

This group is sponsored by Minnesota Valley Refuge Friends, a mostly volunteer group supporting the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge through volunteering, fundraising and advocacy. To more, sign up for our newsletter and become a member at our website, https://www.mnvalleyrefugefriends.org/ .

Upcoming events (4)

Night at the Refuge: Birds and the Night Sky *Register on Google Form*

Let's put the birds to bed! We'll watch and listen for bird activity with Paul Bogard & Joanna Eckles as night falls, test our senses, and learn about night migration and light pollution at the MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a wild and truly remote landscape yet it winds through one of the most bustling areas in the whole state - just across from MSP airport along the 494 strip - providing critical breeding and stopover habitat for a huge variety of bird species!

Registration Required: Free and open to all, register on this Google form.

Activity level: Easy (stand, stroll close to visitor center, come early to hike!)

Meet Us: Meet on the terrace behind the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington, MN 55425) to explore birds and the night!

What to Bring: Binoculars, a chair if you wish - we'll stand and talk while we watch and listen

Accessibility: 3/5 Birdability rating. Restrooms and a water fountain are available inside the visitor center. Accessible parking is available.

Rain Plan: Event is rain or shine. If we cannot be outside, we'll meet in the visitor center for a discussion of birds, night, lights and migration.

Your Hosts: Paul Bogard is a Professor of English and Environmental Studies at Hamline University, a night sky expert, and the author of numerous illuminating books on the night sky including The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light and the new children's picture book What If Night? Joanna Eckles has worked with or on behalf of birds her entire career - for the Minnesota Zoo, Audubon, The Raptor Center, and now for the American Bird Conservancy. Joanna and Paul have collaborated on educational events and articles about birds & the night and are excited to see what a Night at the Refuge brings.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to providing access to this event for all participants. Please direct all requests for sign language interpreting services, closed captioning or other accommodation needs to [masked] by close of business on Friday, May 6.

5
Family Pond Insect Survey *Register on SignUp*

Needs a location

Registration Required: https://signup.com/go/osNtLZB

Program Description: Come explore the exciting world of aquatic insects! Become scientists and use nets, microscopes, and field guides to investigate what critters are hiding in the waters of the Bass Ponds. Learn how important insects are to the health of ponds and their ecosystems. All pond sampling supplies will be provided by the refuge.

What to Bring: This program is held entirely outdoors, please dress appropriately for the weather. A cancellation notice will be sent via email to registered participants in the event of lightning or severe storms. Participants can bring a picnic lunch as long as trash is packed out. We will bring tarps to sit on; a camping chair or blanket is optional.

Meet Us: Park at the lower Bass Ponds trailhead. A staff member will be waiting at the upper parking lot until 11 a.m. to let you through the gate. After 11 a.m. park in the upper lot and walk to the lower trailhead. This program is capped at 20 participants. Registration required.
2501 E 86th St, Bloomington, MN 55425

Accessibility: From the lower parking lot, we will walk 0.1 miles on a flat natural surface path to the sampling location. The remainder of the program will involve sitting or walking small distances. Restrooms are available at the lower trailhead. Depending on seasonal trail conditions, natural surface paths may not be suitable for strollers or wheelchairs.

For questions about these programs, please contact us at [masked] or[masked]. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to providing access to this event for all participants. Please direct all requests for sign language interpreting services, closed captioning, or other accommodation needs to [masked] by close of business on Saturday, May 7.

Audubon Speaker Series: A Birder's Guide to Minnesota

Needs a location

Kim Eckert, one of Minnesota's preeminent birders, will give a sneak preview of the fifth edition of A Birder's Guide to Minnesota. The publication is a county-by-county guide of 1,400+ birding locations, along with an annotated list of all 447 Minnesota species with numerous identification tips. It includes a list of references and resources, a directory of birding contacts for each county, and regular online updates with corrections and additions maintained.

Kim served for over 30 years on the MOU Records Committee since its inception in the 1970s and in 1996 he initiated the Minnesota Birding Weekends and Weeks program of tours throughout Minnesota and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada, which is now in its 37th season.

This monthly program is facilitated by MRVAC.

A link will be released closer to the event date. To receive a link, please visit MRVAC.org and subscribe to their newsletters.

Bird Language *Registration Required on SignUp*

Needs a location

Program Description: Want to learn more about birds and their behavior? Wonder what they're chirping about, or why they suddenly fall silent? Join us as we gather on the slopes of the Minnesota River Valley to explore what the birds are telling us about our surroundings.

Registration Information: registration on SignUp.com is required https://signup.com/go/yMqwGPN

Activity level: Easy-active, we will walk slowly and make frequent stops.

Meet Us: Meet inside the Bloomington Visitor Center. Enter through the main doors. This program is capped at 15 participants. Registration required.

What to Bring: Notebook, pencils, and something waterproof to sit on outdoors. This program is held primarily outdoors, please dress appropriately for the weather. A cancellation notice will be sent via email to registered participants in the event of lightning or severe storms.

Accessibility: Restrooms and a water fountain are available inside the visitor center. This program will meet and end inside the visitor center. Accessible parking is available. We will walk a short distance from the center to the river valley bluff, where we will potentially navigate steep slopes and stairs, however wheelchair accessible options are available for this program.

Program Leader: This program is led by Volunteer Naturalist Donnie Phyillaier. Donnie has been leading bird language and wildlife tracking programs on the refuge for more than two decades. For questions about these programs, please contact us at [masked] or[masked].

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to providing access to this event for all participants. Please direct all requests for sign language interpreting services, closed captioning or other accommodation needs to [masked] by close of business on Sunday, May 22.

Past events (363)

Bird Language *Registration Required on SignUp*

Needs a location

Photos (211)