Outdoors

Tallgrass Prairie BioBlitz: July 17, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Lac qui Parle State Park & Wildlife Management Area, suggested donation of $25 per person or $50 for a family, camping is available. The Land Stewardship Project along with the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program, will be surveying tallgrass prairie to learn about the prairie and all that lives there; plants, insects, birds, animals, geology, water, soil, etc. No experience needed. Register by noon July 12 to get into the lunch count at cureriver.formstack.com/forms/tgpbb_registration_2021. For more information, email Peg@cureriver.org or call 320-269-2984.

Sibley State Park: A vehicle permit is required to enter the park and is available online. Sibley State Park is west of New London just off U.S. Highway 71. Construction projects include renovation of the amphitheater near the Interpretive Center and a new trail connecting Sibley State Park to the Glacial Lakes State Trail, which requires closing of the Mt. Tom Trail this summer. The beach store is open. For more information, visit the state Department of Natural Resources website at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Special events this summer include:

  • NorthStar Trail Travelers Walking: July 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., more information at nstt.org.

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Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: Trails at the rural Spicer center may be used during daylight hours at no cost. A bathroom with composting toilets is open by the pavilion. Pets should be on a leash. All equipment rentals (fat-tire bikes, kayaks, canoes) will be handled on a reservation basis, made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve equipment for the weekend, please call by noon Friday.

Special events this summer include:

  • NorthStar Trail Travelers Walking: July 18, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., more information at nstt.org.

Gardening

Dykstras: Bill and Helene Dykstra will have their garden open from noon until dark daily until frost. Freewill donations for Guatemala will be accepted. Take Kandiyohi County Road 5 south of Roseland for one mile, go east on 210th Avenue and turn south on 37th Street.

Horticulture Night: July 29, 4 to 8 p.m. display garden, University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 State Hwy. 329 in Morris. Planning for a safe 2021 in-person event that follows COVID-19 safety protocols all while taking in the beauty of the Horticulture Display Garden. Social distancing and facemasks required for those who are not fully vaccinated. Registration will be required upon admittance.

Presentations and demonstrations will be spread out throughout the garden, allowing participants to freely go from one station to another. There will be no set start and end time for these demonstrations. This allows for social distancing. We encourage participants to ask questions at the stations that are of interest to them, while going through the various stations at their own comfort level.

Stations include herb gardening, tomatoes, 50 years of annual flowers, rain gardens, orchids, landscape design and protecting pollinators with integrated pest management.

All tours will be self-guided to avoid crowding together. Maps and brochures will be available to guide you.

Bring your own seating (i.e. camping chair) since there will be no bleachers. There will be no tents (again, to avoid crowding together) so bring your own umbrella or shade if you desire.

Other activities include a self-guided annual flower tour, food and vendor booths, cow milking demonstration and cheese sampling from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and West Central Research and Outreach Center farm animals will be available for an up-close look at what they eat, how they grow and what they produce for us.

Check the website wcroc.cfans.umn.edu/events/hort-night for updates, especially prior to coming to the event.

Farming

SMSU Agronomy Field Day: July 14, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Jon Knochenmus Center for Innovation and Southwest Minnesota State University Agronomy Field Trials Farm site, north edge of Marshall, free. RSVP for lunch by July 12 to Linda.Baun@smsu.edu. The third annual day will include lunch, tours and presentations highlighting SMSU faculty, students, field trials and related projects. Plot tours will follow the presentations, and partners will share research goals for 2021.

Minnesota’s Aquaculture Industry: July 14, noon to 1 p.m., free. Register online at www.auri.org/webinar-wednesday. The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute monthly webinars explore different aspects of the food and ag sectors in Minnesota — from resources for food entrepreneurs to innovations in co-products and biobased energy. This webinar will focus on a 2020 consumer research study that examined the potential for strengthening Minnesota’s food fish aquaculture industry.

Partners in Ag Innovation Conference: July 29, MinnWest Technology Campus, free for ag producers and agribusiness professionals. The MinnWest Technology Campus and the Kandiyohi County & City of Willmar Economic Development Commission are joining forces to co-host the conference. The theme is “From Survive to Thrive.” As we think about this year’s conference, we are still emerging from the fast-track of change and unexpected events brought on over the past year but we are feeling hopeful and ready to emerge on the other side. Through this difficult period, comes a time for transformation and growth. Let us take what we learn from 2020 and learn to not just survive…but thrive. A hybrid format is planned. See partnersinag.com for more.

Pork Quality Assurance Plus and Transport Quality Assurance: July 22, free, by the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Pork Board at the AmericInn in Marshall. Advance registration required, call Minnesota Pork Board at 1-800-537-7675 or email colleen@mnpork.com. PQA Plus and TQA are part of the industry-aligned We Care responsible pork initiative which establishes ethical principles for pork producers to produce safe food, protect and promote animal well-being, protect public health, safeguard natural resources, provide a safe work environment and contribute to a better quality of life in their communities.

Organic Dairy Day: Aug. 5, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 State Hwy. 329 in Morris. Take a pasture walk with us as we explore raising calves with cows in pasture, summer forages and dehorning options for calves. For more information, contact Brad Heins via email at hein0106@umn.edu.

Manure Composting Workshop: Aug. 11, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., free, West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 State Hwy. 329 in Morris. Learn about manure composting through educational sessions, demonstrations, hands-on activities and discussions with an expert panel. Topics include site selection, composting process, turning and temperature, understanding analysis, economics, regulations, land application. For more information contact Chryseis Modderman via email at cmodderm@umn.edu.