Welcome to our walk-up table – on Saturday Mornings 9-Noon you can get a scavenger hunt sheet, a trail map, and other information, or check out kid’s binoculars, magnifying glass, bug-catcher, clipboard, etc…

The Friends of Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park are excited about the result of our latest cooperation with the Washington County Library! Andrew, Rebecca, Teresa and Olivia from the Library (left to right in pic) installed story boards on our holders. You may visit any time the Park is open, walk the trail around the nature center, and read the story “Dog’s Colorful Day” by Emma Dodd. The story is suitable for early grades, up to and including grandparents of all ages. A Librarian will be reading a story every second Friday morning at 10 AM beginning June 10th through August. Visit the calendar tab for dates, and Programs/Events tab for more detail.

On the other side of the holders we have placed the illustrated version of Emy’s Guide to the Animals of Sunfish Lake Park. You may not have heard, but Emy is the Director of Animal Communications at the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center, and she has a quirky way of telling a story. Follow this link to read it.

The bees are doing well. Three volunteers have started a beekeeping program by setting up an apiary, and an observation hive in the nature center, where visitors can watch the bees make wax, honey, and more bees this summer! Check out the apiary building activity on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmWuwBJQjDQ . A new exhibit “A Bee’s Life” is under construction. Soon the bees will be “on view” for visitors. Thanks Paul, Bob, and Craig!

We are looking forward to being able to serve our Community with indoor events again, once the threat of COVID is gone.

Activities to Download

We are offering free downloads of nature-based activities – click on “Activities to Download” in the tabs above. These activities include illustrated nature Scavenger Hunt sheets, Nature Journal pages, Word Find Puzzles at different levels of difficulty, other Games, and Trail Guide information.

Or Think Spring and plan for a DO IT YOURSELF POLLINATOR GARDEN– attract and nourish pollinators. Click here to find links to various websites that provide help in setting up a pollinator garden on your own property – small or large!

More information about native plant gardening is found on the DIY links tab above.

Or Start a Nature Observation diary. This activity is called “Phenology” Open this link to view an example phenology journal by Chad Kaddatz. https://simplebooklet.com/acentralminnesotanaturejournal?fbclid=IwAR2rjBFZUHP98q4wwQDeB_XmMimB5weKtjT7o2XG4H1Bz-QgCX5oLMf9HqE#page=0

We now have a flagpole where you may fly the United States flag in honor of a veteran or first responder. Installation was arranged by Matthew Bohlig as an Eagle Scout project. Please click on “Flagpole Reservations” tab for information on how to reserve this location.

The Nature Center will be opening in June

A Board decision was made on May 12th to begin opening the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center for public visits about June 1st, when reception volunteers are available. If you, or you and a friend, enjoy talking with people and providing information, and would like to help, please email info@sminc-lake-elmo.org

Watch this site for the latest news.

Volunteers are tending the Rain Garden, Prairie Plant Specimen Planters, and Monarch Waystation so they will be in full glory in the early Summer.

We have made great progress in upgrading our interior exhibits, and can’t wait to re-open so you can see and experience them.

We have done the Fall 2020 nesting survey of the birdhouse trail, and found much more nesting activity this year. To see the illustrated report of the 2019 Birdhouse Nesting Survey, click on this link:  SMINC Birdhouse survey 11-29-19 w pics    For further information on the birdhouse project, click on the Exhibits, Trail Guides and Science Projects tab above.

For volunteer opportunities, go to the Volunteer or Intern page.

The Friends of Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park rely on donations to operate the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center as a community resource within our Mission.  Please click on the “How to Donate” page and help us if you can.