Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro will host its 23rd annual fall banquet fundraiser, Banquet on the Bluff, on Saturday, October 12. The event raises funds that support Eagle Bluff’s year-round outdoor environmental education programming. Eagle Bluff serves more than 16,000 students, adults and families every year, providing outdoor-focused experiences that empower people to care for the earth and each other.
For many children, Eagle Bluff offers the rare opportunity to experience nature and the environment first-hand while supplementing their classroom learning in history, language arts, and the sciences. The Eagle Bluff curriculum adheres to the state of Minnesota academic standards and reinforces STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) objectives. Attendees of Banquet on the Bluff will be making these transformative experiences happen for children with their generous support.
“We offer students the chance to self-discover the natural sciences hands-on,” Eagle Bluff Executive Director John Torgrimson said. “Imagine learning geology by studying our karst region first-hand, or calculating the velocity of arrows while shooting archery, or navigating the night sky by studying constellations.”
This year Eagle Bluff welcomes Murt Boyum from the Lanesboro Sales Commission as the evening’s featured auctioneer. Guitarist Kerry Klungtvedt will serenade guests while they enjoy an exquisite main course of beef top sirloin medallions, garlic herb mashed potatoes with mushroom sauce, and seasoned tri-colored carrots followed by a dessert of poached pears and cranberries. Vegan and gluten-free meal options will be available. Doors open with beer, wine and appetizers at 5:00pm.
Fun and entertainment will round out the evening as guests try their hand at various drawings, a game of heads-or-tails, and bidding on many unique auction items. The following is just a taste of what the auctions have to offer:
- Half-day Guided Drift Boat Tour
- Custom Eagle Bluff High Ropes Experience
- Bluff Country Airplane Tour
- Rustic Cabin Getaway Weekend
- Overnight Hunting Experience on Private Land
- Community-Supported Fishery Share
The event is Saturday, October 12, 2019 at the Eagle Bluff Dining Hall on their campus in Lanesboro. Tickets can be reserved online at eaglebluffmn.org/banquet or by calling 507-467-2437. Ticket packages range from $60, which includes dinner and drinks, to a Patron package of $100 (valued at $140) which includes dinner, drinks, a drawing ticket package, and specialty Eagle Bluff recycled ChicoBag. The evening is presented by F & M Community Bank.
Located five miles northwest of Lanesboro, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is empowering people to care for the earth and each other.
Rebecca Wangen Kahn of Plainview, Minn., stands next to her brand new kayak she won in a recent contest.
On June 30, 2019, Visit Bluff Country Magazine conducted the second prize giveaway drawing of the summer, which was a brand new kayak. As the magazine celebrates 34 years as the premier tourism publication of Historic Bluff Country (a.k.a. The Driftless Area), they will be conducting prize giveaways each month from May through September. Prizes include kayaks, a Grizzly cooler, and a Green Mountain Grill (with WiFi).
Nikki van den Heever of Cresco, Iowa, won the first kayak drawing on May 31, 2019.
The next drawing for a brand new kayak will be July 31, 2019. Please to go www.visitbluffcountry.com/thebest to enter this drawing.
Photo by Jason Sethre
Have you ever been interested in the lives of owls? The International Festival of Owls in Houston is the place to be! There will be speakers that will come with live owls and teach you about their feeding habits, habitat, nesting, and more. The International Festival of Owls will run from March 1-3, 2019, and there will be activities taking place all three days.
At the festival, some events will include: programs, art, fun things for the kids, and different projects that you can do with your family. Artists will come and create things dedicated to owls. Experts will come to teach you about the owls. All food and crafts will be related to owls in some way. There will be breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the event. Come enjoy the show, and the owls!
For more information, visit https://www.festivalofowls.com.
Saturday, September 15, 9:30 – 4:00 at the Houston Community Center in Houston, Minn.
Just like it is important to look both ways before crossing a busy street, when you live in the bluffs of southeast Minnesota it is important to know rattlesnake safety and what to do if an issue arises. The Rattlesnake Jubilee is an event designed to increase education and decrease fear around snakes, especially timber rattlesnakes.
For instance, did you know that only 1 person every 5-6 years dies from a timber rattlesnake bite in the United States, while dogs kill roughly 20-30 people _per year_ and lightning kills an average of 49 people _per year_ in the U.S?
Dr. Dan Keyler, an international expert in venomous snakebites and rattlesnake researcher, will be the featured speaker. He will discuss the life history and habitat of timber rattlesnakes as well as what to do if bitten. Local resident Marty Ambuehl will share his story of what it was like to be bitten by a rattlesnake several years ago. Stephen Winter will give a presentation about the volunteer rattlesnake responder program in the region, so you know you have someone to call if a rattlesnake shows up in a location that poses a safety concern.
Jim Gerholdt will be giving two live snake presentations, so you can learn to identify timber rattlesnakes as well as the local non-venomous snakes. Pre-registration is required for a very special field trip to view wild rattlesnakes on private property with Minnesota DNR personnel and other experts. Throw in people selling books, snake-themed cookies and snacks, T-shirts; free snake crafts for kids, and it will be a very fun and educational event for all ages.
Cost to attend the event is $7 for adults, $4 for ages 4-15, and free for ages 3 and under and members of the Friends of the Houston Nature Center. The field trip by bus is $15/person if registered by Sept. 7, $20 after that date, and is limited to only 20 participants.
For more information or to register for the field trip, visit www.houstonnaturecenter.com. Sponsored by the Friends of the Houston Nature Center and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
By Hannah Wingert
While walking around Harmony recently, you may have noticed some new signs up around town. They’re part of the Harmony Historical Society’s new walking tour and were unveiled on June 16 at a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Some of the members of the Historical Society had seen historical walking tour signs in other towns, including Decorah and thought it would be a great idea for Harmony as well. Harmony resident Vicky Tribon heard about a $10,000 grant available through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, or SMIF, and brought it to the attention of the Historical Society. Tribon helped with the grant process and in early 2017, the grant was approved. The grant terms stated that the project must be done by September 1, 2017, but the street and sidewalks of Main Street in Harmony were under construction during the summer of 2017 so they were unable to meet that deadline. “The SMIF people were so gracious,” Historical Society secretary Mary Lou Zombory expressed. “They extended it (the deadline).”
The project took well over a year to complete and included extensive research into the history of Harmony. “We were blessed with ladies from the town years ago who documented everything with journals, newspaper clippings, pictures, and more,” Zombory said. Former Harmony resident Ida Johnson kept detailed journals of everyday life in Harmony, which were very useful for the Society members as they researched information for the walking tour signs.
Historical Society Members Sharen Storhoff, Marv Wicks, Ralph Beastrom, and Mary Lou Zombory along with other individuals worked hard to curate the information for the signs. “It was hard picking which things would go on the signs, but we had to narrow it down,” Zombory said. After the information for each sign was decided on, Zelda Productions of Decorah, Iowa, took care of the graphic design. Ten signs in total were created. Nine of those were 2’ x 3’ sloped signs that were placed strategically at locations in Harmony where the history portrayed on that sign could be visualized. A larger 12’ x 2’ sign showcasing the timeline of the City of Harmony from 1848-2017 was installed at the visitor’s center where the walking tour begins.
“The main thing is that we don’t want the history to be lost,” Zombory said. “We need to keep the history alive.” Although the project was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun for those who worked on it as they learned more about the history of Harmony.
Members of the Historical Society visited the Decorah historical walking tour several times during the span of the project to get tips and ideas for the Harmony project. Harmony has the distinction of being the first town in Minnesota to create its own historical walking tour. That meant that MnDot had to figure what policies and procedures to set up for signage placed on a MnDot right of way. Those policies and procedures can then be applied to future similar projects in other Minnesota cities.
When spring came and it was time to install the signs, the society ran into some more delays with unexpected snowstorms through April. Once the weather finally improved enough to pour the concrete pads, members of the Lions Club helped to install the signs around Harmony. When the signs were up, they were left covered, waiting to be unveiled at the June 16 ribbon cutting.
The day of the ribbon cutting was a beautiful day, albeit hot, and was well-attended. Among the speakers were Representative Greg Davids and Harmony Mayor Steve Donney. “I would like to thank Cliff Johannessen and the whole historical society for putting this project together,” Donney said.
“HAHS (Harmony Area Historical Society) is continuing with efforts to restore the history of Harmony,” Society president Cliff Johannessen said. Their next project is the restoration of the grain elevator that sits beside the visitor’s center.
Walking tour maps can be picked up at the Harmony Visitor’s Center and other select locations around town.