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Thursday, December 18th, 2014
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Even kids put the “International” in the Festival of Owls


Fri, Feb 14th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

By Karla Bloem

When the Friends of the Houston Nature Center started the Owl Festival way back in 2003, it was simply called the Festival of Owls. Then in 2007 they added the World Owl Hall of Fame and people began flying to Houston from all over the country and world. But still people who stopped by the Houston Nature Center thought it was “cute” that they did an owl festival. They simply didn’t have a clue as to the scope of the Festival.

So eventually, after much discussion, the name was changed to the INTERNATIONAL Festival of Owls. That got the people to stand up and take notice! (Unfortunately it turned some people off too, since they didn’t think it was for local people anymore—but it still most certainly is!!!)

With a name like “International Festival of Owls”, there are some pretty big expectations to live up to. How do they do it?

The World Owl Hall of Fame is the big, showy way they manage the “international” part of the name. There are judges in four different countries and awards are presented to people (and owls) from around the world. Thanks to generous sponsors, the festival has been able to pay travel expenses for many of the winners to attend the festival and speak in recent years.

Little old Houston, Minn. has had speakers from Canada, Jamaica, Norway, the Netherlands, England, Germany, Kenya, South Africa, Nepal, and Taiwan. Not to mention Massachusetts, Alaska, Montana, Oregon, Virginia, and elsewhere in the USA.

But the festival is always working for more international participation. Their owl coloring contest this year received entries from all over the U.S., Canada, Ireland, England, Malta, Indonesia, and Australia (actually there were five or six entries from Australia). In previous years there have also been entries from Spain and the Philippines.

Since their amateur photography contest is digital, they are able to get submissions from around the world too. This year there are entries from all over the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Estonia. In previous years there have also been entries from Italy and the Netherlands.

I think, through my role as festival coordinator, the international part of the Festival is part of what makes it extra special. Not only are people learning about owls, but they are also seeing owls through the eyes of other cultures and learning about those cultures. .....
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The National Trapper’s Association brings their biggest trapping and outdoor expo to Escanaba, Mich.

Fri, Feb 7th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

Trappers and their families from across the U.S. and Canada are putting in for vacation days for July 24-27, 2014 to attend the NTA Expo in Escanaba, Mich. at the U.P. State Fairgrounds. This will be one of the biggest outdoor events ever held in Mi ..... 
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Fillmore County survives arctic cold, polar vortex moves out

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Jan 10th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

For the first time in 17 years, all Minnesota public schools were ordered closed by Governor Mark Dayton on Monday, January 6 due to dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills. The last Minnesota governor to close public schools statewide was Arn ..... 
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Preston’s Candlelight Ski & Chili Cook-off

Fri, Jan 10th, 2014
Posted in Preston The Great Outdoors

Let it snow - just in time for Preston’s annual Candlelight Ski & Chili Cook-Off event! Bundle up and come on down to the Trailhead Inn office on Saturday evening, January 18 to ski on the trail and to test-taste some wonderful chili contest entri ..... 
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DNR launches habitat restoration projects at two southeast SNAs

Fri, Jan 10th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will conduct habitat restoration projects involving tree removal and other work this winter on two state nature preserves in the southeast corner of the state. At Mound Prairie Scientific and Natural A ..... 
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Minnesota Encourages Customers to Make Winter Safety Checks as we Prepare for Below Zero Temperatures

Mon, Jan 6th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

Rosemount, MN – As weather reports indicate another round of below zero temperatures is expected, Minnesota Energy Resource encourages residents to put ‘safety first’ and offers the following information to ensure customers stay safe and war ..... 
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The National Trout Center, an investment in our future

Thu, Jan 2nd, 2014
Posted in Preston The Great Outdoors

The New Year celebrates the fifth operating year of the National Trout Center (NTC) in Preston, Minn. Conceived in 2009 by the Preston Economic Development Authority as a regional economic development engine, the NTC showcases the extraordinary land ..... 
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CD based youth snowmobile safety class

Thu, Dec 26th, 2013
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

The CD Based youth snowmobile safety training class is an introductory class designed primarily for the snowmobile rider with little to no experience in snowmobile operation. Students obtain and study the safety information on the interactive CD a ..... 
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Tips for staying safe on the roads over the holidays

Thu, Dec 26th, 2013
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

The holidays are a time of good cheer, but they can also be a time for battling traffic and inclement weather all the way to the homes of your loved ones. Staying safe should be a top priority for all travelers, so Better Business Bureau of Minnesota ..... 
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