County Parks present last summer programs

Washington County Parks wraps up its summer program next weekend with several family events.
On Aug. 30, Washington County Parks hosts a Minnesota Starwatch party from 8:15 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. The party is hosted by WCCO-AM Meteorologist Mike Lynch, presents a program on constellations such as The Big Bear, Cygnus the Swan, Scorpius the Scorpion and their great stories.
Participants can view constellations, planets, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae and more using large reflecting telescopes. Two are 20-inch reflectors, among the biggest mobile telescopes in Minnesota. Also, a new astronomical camera-telescope system for viewing of the more distant parts of the universe will be available for use. User-friendly star maps and constellation charts will be on hand for participants’ use.
Lynch has hosted Starwatch parties and taught astronomy classes for more than 40 years. He also writes a weekly stargazing column for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and is the author of the book “Mike Lynch’s Minnesota Star Watch.”
If the sky is cloudy on the night of the Minnesota Starwatch party, visitors get a Mike Lynch “Cloud Check” for a future Minnesota Starwatch Party. No registration is required. Participants are free to bring lawn chairs, blankets, snacks and bug spray for a more enjoyable experience.
On Aug. 31, Warner Nature Center presents a 9 a.m. program on mammals at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. The hour-long program will be in the amphitheater. There will also be the last two evening campfire programs Aug. 31.
James Gerholdt of Remarkable Reptiles presents a 7 p.m. program on reptiles at Lake Elmo Park Reserve amphitheater. The reptile program features all five groups of reptiles living today. Live reptiles and artifacts will be used in the program to enhance the experience.
Entomologist Dr. Bruce Giebink, “the Bug Guy,” presents a 7 p.m. program on at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. The Bug Show is unique and hands-on, and it features a wide assortment of living and preserved insects, including live spiders, scorpions, millipedes and more.
All listed programs are free, but participants must purchase a $5 daily or $25 annual park permit. Lake Elmo Park Reserve is at the intersection of County roads 19 and 10, one mile north of Interstate 94. St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park is along the St. Croix River on County Road 21, between County roads 76 and 78, in Denmark Township. For more information visit www.co.washington.mn.us/parks.

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