Events and Programs

If you have questions please email: To view archived program presentations, click

FREE Annual Family Nature Day – Saturday, June 3rd, 9 AM – 1 PM

Help us celebrate the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center and Sunfish Lake Park with nature fun and educational activities for all. Visit our staffed interpretive stations around the building on topics like honeybees, water quality and mammals. We will also have live animals with the Carpenter Nature Center and prizes for kids.



John Neitge Memorial Earth Day Activity- Adopt-a-Tree – still available!

Once again, the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center celebrated Earth Day by planting native species in Sunfish Lake Park. Last year’s Earth Day activities were planned and organized by John Neitge, who died in December of leukemia. John was a Board Member of Friends of Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park, organized the three activities for Earth Day 2022, led the Kite Flying and Spoon Carving events, and through his energy, willingness to help, and positive attitude “Excellent!” was an inspiration to all.

This year’s event was quite a success, and we still have a number of extra trees that were planted in the ground near the nature center to keep them growing. These will be moved to the forest this Summer or Fall, and are available for adoption.

Interested in adopting a tree? Email us at with name and address of the tree adopter. It’s a great opportunity for a child (or adult) to have their own tree! Register and Pre-pay $5 at or pay at the reception desk. We will have a webpage to track how the trees are doing.


The bees are back in the observation hive, the flowers are blooming, and we have an appropriate new book to enjoy on the stroll – “If You Love Honey” which explains how it all starts with the bees.

And remember, Honey Lovers Stick Together!



Our spring session has ended. Information on our fall session coming this summer.

Preregister to secure your spot at


Saturdays 10AM to Noon

Sundays Noon to 2PM

Free, drop in education activities for all ages

June 17/18- Spring Flowers

Drop in education and activities inside the building for all ages on seasonal themes.


Discussions on topics related to natural science, suitable for adults to mature middle-schoolers.

$10/person Pre-registration Required

Thursday, June 15 – 7-8 PM Water Works with Environmental Educator Denise Gerdes

Discover how oxygen in our over 15,000 freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams in Minnesota determines the health of our aquatic species. Learn how oxygen gets depleted, how this issue affects humans, and solutions to keep our waters healthy. Water is an important component for life. Minnesota has over 15,000 freshwater lakes, along with rivers, streams, springs and more. This information will help you understand how the amount of oxygen in these water bodies can determine the health of these water bodies, and consequently the health of fish and other organisms that live within them. In this lecture, we will determine how oxygen enters these water habitats, how it gets depleted, and how it affects the humans who live around these water sources. We will be using real scientific apparatus to make discoveries. Afterwards, we will discuss what solutions we can implement to keep our waters healthy. If you belong to a Lake Association, this program is for you. Bring your friends for an exciting evening of hands-on discovery.. Register at

$10/Per Person, Please register in advance as we need 5 people signed up in advance for the program to run.

Tuesday June 27th at 7:00 PM Bee Keeping Part 3 with Karen Voy

$10/Per Person, Register at

Mite Testing–Making it more accurate and easier.

Reading the Frame:  Are my bees healthy?

Keeping ahead of the nectar flow.

I am in three deeps!  Now what do I do?

July:  Harvest honey or go through August?

Watch out for that swarm!

Please register in advance as we need 5 people signed up in advance for the program to run.

Special Sunday Program

Sunday July 16, 9AM to 3PM, Tree Medicine and Spirituality with Paul Red Elk –

Register only with Paul Red Elk at, $90 until July 11, 2023, or $100 July 12th or later. Cancel for Refund before July 14th.

POSTER COMING SOON with more details.

About the presenter: Paul Red Elk, a traditional Lakota Medicine Man, has been collecting knowledge about Native American Tree Medicine (Indian Tree Medicine) for over 40 years. During these years, he has studied with over 40 elders of the upper midwest, including people from Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), Wisconsin Chippewa (preferred title), Menominee, Oneida, and Sac and Fox.

Building/Sunfish Lake Park Information:

Admission to Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park and to the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center are free of charge.   FREE events and programs are so marked.  Registration and  payment for most programs with fees is available on-line via Paypal, or contact the Event producer directly with the contact information shown.

FREE – Regular Buckthorn Removal Days – Second Saturdays at 9:30 AM 2023 Schedule:

April 15th, May 13th, June 10th,

Not July

August 12th, September 9th, October 14th, November 11th , December 9th

Please come and help remove this pesty plant. We have the loppers and gloves, bring your energy. Free fresh air and exercise. The Restoration of Sunfish Lake Park project has done initial clearing of 40 acres of buckthorn, and replanted oaks, and native grasses and forbs. For more details, visit “Buckthorn” tab above, or George is working out the plan for clearing the rest of the Park!!! – please contact George at 651-757-5610 for details.

FREE – Weekly Tai Chi class with Paul Ryberg –

The Tai Chi class will return in spring. Email Paul at for more information.

Free – Outdoor features to see:

Prairie Plant Specimen Walk – visit the individual plants and then go look for them on the prairie

Rain Garden – helps keep runoff from the lake

Messy Play Area – stepping stumps, a canoe-full of sand, and a very slow turtle ride

Benches for sitting and relaxing

Picnic tables

Air for your bike tires – fast, free, friendly self service! Just connect, pump, and ride!

When the temperature is above freezing, the outside water dispenser will be turned on -water your dog, or yourself.

FREE – Sunfish Lake Park Project on iNaturalist

Go to to view the observations in the Sunfish Lake Park Project, or take pictures and upload them to the Project.

FREE – Scavenger Hunt printouts available

If you are taking a nature walk and would like to print out a pictorial scavenger hunt, Christa has made some, feel free to download and print them, by clicking on the Activities to Download tab above. Or pick one up at the Reception Desk at the nature center.