Sunday May 19

7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. - Early Bird Walk with John Loegering and Sparky - Meet in the Fair Hills Lobby (Session Full)

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - Capnote Speaker:  Sparky Stensaas presents Birds Below Zero: How Boreal Birds Survive & Thrive in the Depths of Winter  - Fair Hills Pavilion

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Sessions

Become a Volunteer Polinator Ambassador

Presenters:  Elaine Evans and Elise Bernstein

Description:  Are you passionate about pollinators? Do you want to share that passion with others? Learn about how to become a Pollinator Ambassador as part of the University of Minnesota Bee Squad's volunteer program. Pollinator Ambassadors conduct pollinator-centric outreach by giving talks and attending educational events. In this session, presenters will review what the Pollinator Ambassador training process looks like, an overview of our Pollinator Toolkit, and other expectations for becoming a volunteer.  

Level of activity:  A little bit active

Audience Experience Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced

Presenter biographies:

Migration Stories

Presenter:  Margie Menzies

Description:  Minnesota has about 444 different species of birds, and almost 90% of them migrate! Why travel such distances? What are the things you must know to migrate? Does the whole population go at once? How do you learn the routes? It’s complicated business, and each species has its own fascinating story of how they get it done. We’ll get an update on the spring migration, explore the process and risks involved, and learn the migration stories of some familiar, and not so familiar Minnesota birds. We’ll start with a brief introduction indoors then head outside for exploration. 

Level of activity:  A little bit active

Audience Experience Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced

Presenter biography:  Margie Menzies is a lifelong naturalist, educator, and lover of birds, rocks and all things of the natural world. She spent years in the formal classroom as a science teacher but has abandoned the indoors for the great outdoor classroom. She the full-time year-round Education Director at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. She has a passion for birds and is a songbird bander at Hawk Ridge during fall migration as well as MAPS stations studying summer breeding. Learning is a lifelong pursuit and sharing the wonders of the natural world with people of all ages is Margie’s happy place. 

Igniting Curiosity: Tools and Techniques for New Educators

Presenters:  Ashley O'Neill Prado and Ellie Hechter

Description:  Are you interested in building more youth education skills? No matter your background or skill level, this workshop is for you! We will be covering education basics specifically oriented around non formal learning: structured learning that takes place outside of a formal classroom. We will cover youth development, behavior management, and inquiry-based education and provide interactive opportunities to practice your new skills. Come with questions and leave with tools to get you planning your next educational program.

Level of activity:  Inactive

Audience Experience Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Presenter biographies:  

Galls, Burls, and Brooms! Oh My!  (Session Full)

Presenter:  Sam Guida

Description:  "Galls, burls and brooms! Oh my! This workshop will focus on exploring the lilliputian world of galls, burls, witches brooms and non-metazoan plant diseases as well as the plants they grow on.

Galls (no relation to sea gulls) are little hidden insect homes inside plants. You've definitely seen some before, such as the ping-pong ball sized lumps on goldenrod. 

We will start with some basic ID skills before heading out for a hike, training our eyes to notice lumpy leaves and other plant deformities, perfecting our identification skills as we go!"

Level of activity:  Moderately active

Audience Experience Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced

Presenter biography:   Sam Guida (he/him) is currently working as the Facilities Director at Camp Olson YMCA in Longville, Minnesota. One day when wandering down the driveway, he noticed a funny bump on a willow tree. After some investigation, it turned out to be a gall caused by a tiny critter with a huge name; a willow beaked gall midge and Sam has been finding lumps on leaves, funny shaped flowers and spots on twigs ever since. He has also partnered with a number of organizations to host gall workshops including The Minnesota DNR, The Sax-Zim Bog, The KAXE Phenology Show. Sam also enjoys eating things he finds outside, cross country skiing, and power naps on the couch.

Letterboxing for Naturalists: Where Craft and Nature Can Meet

Presenter:  Barb Gecas

Description:   Discover Letterboxing, an activity that is akin to geo-caching. Follow written clues to find hidden boxes. The clues can contain natural and historical facts, as well as hints to the location of the box.  Each box holds a carved rubber stamp and a journal.  Use the stamp to record your find, and leave your "signature" behind by stamping your own stamp image into the box's journal. We will discuss ways to use letterboxing as a naturalist, how to write clues, how to carve a rubber stamp, and where to find materials and further information. We will carve personal stamps.  Then use your stamp to follow the hunt that will be set up at the conference site.  Materials will be provided.

Level of activity:  Moderately active

Audience Experience Level: Beginner

Presenter biography:  I have been privileged to live on the Gunflint Trail for most of my adult life.  When I am not involved in the daily tasks of running a small resort, you can find me out on the hiking trails observing all the wonderful sights around me. As a life-long crafter and artisan, I especially enjoy working with children, and introducing them to both nature and craft.

12:00 p.m. - Lunch 

12:30 p.m. - Awards ceremony and conference closing