HASTINGS, Minn. - Winter has not yet agreed to relinquish its hold on the Midwest. The March 20 vernal equinox has come and gone, yet the forecast calls for snow and low temperatures. It’s not hard to picture the characters of Greek Mythology controlling the weather, as Demeter stalls spring while awaiting Persephone’s return from Hades and the Underworld.
Those who follow phenology, the study of cyclical and seasonal changes, probably found March 2018 to be an interesting comparison to past years. Like clockwork, certain species, including Peregrine Falcons, returned within 24 hours of their regular migration dates. The wild Bald Eagle pair, which nest at Carpenter Nature Center, began incubating this year’s eggs right on cue. Yet other species, such as Turkey Vultures, have only returned in small numbers and flycatchers, such as Eastern Phoebes, will likely be delayed this year. Last year by March 24, the phoebes had already staked their territories at CNC. This year’s low temperatures, snow cover, iced-over water bodies, and freezing evenings have delayed insect hatches. Any early migrants would have a difficult time surviving.
Oddly enough, this delayed spring is great news for those collecting maple sap, which requires evening temperatures to stay below freezing while daytime highs climb above 32 degrees. Everything in nature is an intricate and fascinating balance. As you make plans to enjoy the eventual spring weather, please add our upcoming programs and events to your calendar.
Space is limited at most programs, so please don't forget to RSVP by calling 651-437-4359.
April 7: MN Campus Bird Hike
Join expert birders on a morning hike around the nature center. Learn to identify birds by sight and sound. Field guides and binoculars available to use or bring your own. Minnesota Campus hikes are led by bird expert Kevin Smith. Program fee: $6 or free for “Friends of CNC”, Hastings Environmental Protectors, High School Students and St. Croix Valley Bird Club members. Please RSVP to 651-437-4359.
April 13: Preschool Story Time: Welcome Spring!
CNC’s Preschool Story Times are designed to introduce children ages 2 through 5 (with a parent or guardian), to nature in a fun and safe environment. We’ll listen to stories, spend some time outdoors, make an art or craft project, and meet live animals. We will be going outside for every program so be sure to dress appropriately for the weather. Please call to register. Space is limited and CNC’s story time programs usually sell out. Program fee: $5 per child or $3 for “Friends of CNC”; no charge for accompanying adult.
April 14: WI Campus Bird Hike
Join expert birders on a morning hike around the nature center. Learn to identify birds by sight and sound. Field guides and binoculars available to use or bring your own. Wisconsin Campus hikes are led by the St. Croix Valley Bird Club. Program fee: $6 or free for “Friends of CNC”, Hastings Environmental Protectors, High School Students and St. Croix Valley Bird Club members. Please RSVP to 651-437-4359.
April 18*: Wisconsin Campus Woodcock Walk
During early spring American Woodcocks perform a fascinating courtship ritual at dusk. Look and listen for their “sky dance” and mating calls during a guided night hike on our Wisconsin Campus, led by WI-DNR Wildlife Biologist, Missy Sparrow. Program Fee: $6 per person or $4 for “Friends of CNC/” Please call 651-437-4359 to register. * Please note that this program will take place on Wednesday night.
April 24: Volunteer Information Meeting
Interested in becoming more involved at Carpenter Nature Center? On April 24, at 7:00 p.m. we will be holding a volunteer information meeting, which will go over how your skills and interests can help CNC. For more information on becoming a volunteer, please visit here. Contact Alan@CarpenterNatureCenter.org or call 651-437-4359 to RSVP.
CNC’s Home School Programs are created to offer students in Home Schools an opportunity to meet other children, take part in environmental education programs, and enjoy the outdoors. In this program, students will explore plant and animal life in the CNC wetland. Please dress appropriately for the weather. Program Fee: $6 per student or $4 for “Friends of CNC.”
April 25: Adopt-a-Highway Clean-Up
Bring your favorite litter grabber and let’s show the litter bugs that we won’t take their garbage along the roadside anymore. Call us at 651-437-4359 to RSVP for this volunteer event.
April 27: Public Bird Banding Program
8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Have you ever wondered what bird banding is all about? Our bird banders welcome you to see songbirds up close and learn about the birds who share our ecosystem. Banding runs continuously for the full 3 ½ hours, but visitors may come and go at any time. Please call 651-437-4359 to RSVP so we know you are coming. Donations of bird seed or suet will be greatly appreciated in lieu of a program fee.
April 21: Hastings Area Birding Festival
8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Celebrate birds and conservation at the Hastings Area Earth Day Birding Festival. This is the fifth year the Hastings Environmental Protectors has teamed up with CNC for the Birding Festival. Participate in the Youth Birding Competition. Attend classes and demonstrations that introduce you to raptors, birding, and bird banding. Go on guided bird trips throughout the Hastings area. Event Fee: $5 or $15 with a box lunch. RSVPs required, so please call 651-437-4359 to let us know you are coming.
May 20: Apple Blossom Races
For more than 30 years, runners of all abilities have flocked to the St. Croix Valley to support CNC. What better way to welcome spring than a day at CNC running, walking and supporting environmental education. Offering a 2K Fun Run, 5K Run/Walk and 10K this family friendly race has a distance and speed for everyone. Visit the link above for more details.
CNC ON THE ROAD:
April 7: Cottage Grove Kids Fest
9:00 a.m.-noon at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena
Informational booth and “Animals of the St. Croix“ presentation at 9:30 a.m.
April 7: Woodbury Community Expo
10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at East Ridge High School
Raptor “Meet & Greet” booth and 1:00 p.m. raptor program
April 21: Cottage Grove Spring Business Showcase
10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena
Informational booth and FREE face-painting
April 22: St. Croix County Earth Day Celebration
Noon-4:00 pm. at YMCA Camp St. Croix Day Croix site
Information booth and FREE face painting
July 25: Joseph Jenkins Lecture Series: Nature’s Cutest Killer
7:00 p.m. at the Cable Natural History Museum in Cable, Wisconsin
CNC’s Executive Director speaking on Carpenter Nature Center’s Northern Saw-whet Owl research.