Noticing nature – spring change

This article was written by Emily Bowers, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Naturalist at North Mississippi Regional Park

This month we start to see the seasons change, which makes it a great time to get outdoors and keep an eye on the nature around us. Snow and ice will begin to thaw making more resources, such as flowing tree sap and open water for drinking, available to wildlife. Animal behaviors will transition with the warmer temperatures as well; some creatures like woodchucks, chipmunks and snakes might even be seen coming out from their winter burrows on sunny days. Look for animals and their tracks near water sources and foraging around trees. Get in the habit of going out for a walk on nice days to see what changes in nature and animal signs you notice. Chances are that the local animals in the community will also be taking advantage of the nicer weather!

Visit the Adventure Hub at Kroening Interpretive Center to borrow outdoor exploration activities and materials for free! Items available for check-out include snowshoes, trekking poles, fort building kits, outdoor art kits, and nature observation kits such as bird watching, animal tracking and stargazing. Adventure Hub operating hours are Wednesdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Thursdays 4-8 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sundays noon-4 p.m. Materials must stay within park boundaries and are only available for same day checkout and return. Select park recreation centers will also have materials to borrow; available hours and activities will vary depending on the site.

Get outside and into Nearby Nature, with self-directed, nature-based activities designed to enhance the experience of park goers of all ages while exploring parks. All Nearby Nature activities are free, and no materials or registration is necessary. Share experiences and photos through the hashtag #NearbyNatureMpls or send feedback to our email

Saturdays from 1-3 p.m. are Family Fundays at North Mississippi Park! Join us outside for active, nature fun in the park! Explore a different seasonal theme each week through self-directed scavenger hunts, nature walks, and interactive skills development such as bird watching or animal tracking. All ages and experience levels welcome to enjoy the outdoors while activating bodies and minds in discovery! Naturalist staff will be onsite to provide sanitized materials and introductory instruction for activities that will be self-directed by individual households.

Spring Break Day Camp for Nature Explorers at North Mississippi is March 29 -April 2! Get ready for outdoor adventures as we discover the wonders of the woods, prairie and riverfront. Develop your skills as a nature explorer while building forts, following animal signs and using tools to take a closer look at the wildlife in the park. We will spend as much time outside as possible in order to maintain safe social distancing during nature fun.

Kroening Interpretive Center March Outdoor Programs

  • Nature Playtime – Wednesdays from 9:30-10:30 a.m. $2. Ages 2-8 with an adult.
  • Winter Survival Challenge – Thursday 4th from 5-7:30 p.m. Free. All ages.
  • Bird Watching Beginner Basics – Saturday 6th from 9-10:30 a.m. Free. Ages 8+
  • New Moon Stargazing – Thursday 11th from 6:30-8 p.m. $3. Ages 8+
  • Noticing Nature Hike – Thursday 18th from 6-7 p.m. Free. Ages 8+
  • River Flyway Bird Watching – Friday 19th from 9-10:30 a.m. Free. Ages 18+
  • Mississippi River Eagles – Saturday 20th from 11 a.m.-noon. Free. Ages 8+
  • Moonlight Hike – Thursday 25th from 7-8 p.m. $3. Ages 8+
  • River Flyway Bird Watching – Friday 26th from 9-10:30 a.m. Free. Ages 18+

Registration is required; sign up for programs at Upon registration, participants agree to maintain social distance (6 feet) at all times and adhere to the current Minnesota state face covering mandate (Face covering exceptions may apply to certain MPRB activities).

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board program buildings remain closed to the public until further notice due to the impacts of COVID-19. The MPRB’s priority is the health and safety of our park visitors and our employees. Visit or sign up to receive email updates at by selecting “COVID-19” in the “News Updates” section.

Do you have a question about nature in your own backyard? Then send it our way by emailing and it could appear in a future article.