Every Saturday afternoon in April at 1 PM you can meet a park ranger at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center in Empire (just off M-72) for a fun and educational nature walk. You’ll get a brief introduction to the topic and then follow the car caravan a short distance to where the walk will begin. Here are the topics:
April 4- The Great Melt Down –The melting of the winter snowpack provides an opportunity to travel back in time and investigate the melting of the great continental glaciers. Scientists have called Sleeping Bear Dunes, “The most complete record of glacial history preserved in the National Park Service.” Let the sands, rocks, and topography reveal the very foundation of the Lakeshore.
April 11 – Wonderful Waterfowl – Some birds have been here all winter and some are just returning, but all are wonderful! Spend some time viewing the Lakeshore’s ducks, geese, and swans. Learn their names and habits. If you have binoculars, bring them along, but the Lakeshore will also have pairs to loan.
April 18– A Hidden Treat –Just as wildflowers and wildlife emerge after tough Northern Michigan winters, so too did the early settlers. Discover a hidden 1880s farm and appreciate the hardships and life of farming settlers.
April 25- National Junior Ranger Day! – Special morning and afternoon activities for everyone to earn their Junior Ranger badge. Details on this and other National Park Week celebration events will be announced separately.
Participants need only purchase the park entrance pass or have an annual pass to join in the fun. Reservations are not required, but are suggested for groups. Please call 231-326-5134, extension 328, for details.
Photo: Ranger Peg Burman identifies migratory birds in the park (courtesy National Park Service)