Ice Cream, Raptors and History – Saturday at Minneopa State Park

Ice Cream, Raptors and History – Saturday at Minneopa State Park 

By Joe Steck – Mankato Times 

William Seppman, standing in front of Seppman Mill ca. 1890.  Photo from Wikipedia

William Seppman, standing in front of Seppman Mill ca. 1890. Photo from Wikipedia

The Friends of Minneopa State Park brought enticed a large group of people to Minneopa State Park to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Seppman’s Mill.  The group served ice cream, brought in raptures from the Raptor Center and had local historian Bryce Stenzel do a characterization of the mill’s namesake Lewis Seppman. 

Lewis Speemann, an immigrant from Germany had a dream of building a mill.  That mill was completed in 1864 and the Friends of Minneopa wanted to celebrate that the structure is still here. 

Scott Kudelka standing next to the model of the mill made by Ken Sander in 1974.

Scott Kudelka standing next to the model of the mill made by Ken Sander in 1974.

“Seppmann had never run a mill.  He had constructed some stone mills but had no idea about running a windmill,” said Minneopa area Naturalist Scott Kudelka “He had the knowledge and the foresight to just build it. 

The Friends of Minneopa State Park has the goal of promoting the park. 

“We teamed up with the Blue Earth County Historical Society to show how the mill worked,” said Tim Pulis, president of Friends of Minneopa State Park “We do numerous activities throughout the year.  During the fall, in the end of September we have a fall festival where we give hay rides out in the prairie and have different events in association with that.” 

Painting, Minneopa State Park, Friends of Minneopa State Park, Minnesota Rapture Center, Emma Richtman, Al Waggie, Tim Pulis, Scott Kudelka, Bryce Stenzel, History, Nature, Blue Earth County, activity, volunteer, community, Mankato TImes

The group also has a candle light ski hike event in the park with Luminaries lit all the way down to the Minnesota River.  They also put out a quarterly news letter to all of the members with information on what is going on in the park and detailing historical and natural history. 

“We also have an Annual Photo contest, where people submit 8” x 10” photo’s of the park,” Said Pulis “The top photos are displayed at the Blue Earth County Library for the entire month of December.” 

The group commissioned local artist Al Waggie to do a painting celebrating the 150th anniversary of Seppman’s Mill which can be purchased for $50.00 at the Blue Earth County Historical Society Heritage Center Gift

The juvenile bald eagle is less than 1 year old and has a 6' wing span.

The juvenile bald eagle is less than 1 year old and has a 6′ wing span.

Emma Richtman from the Minnesota Raptor Center entertained and educated the audiences with a male bald eagle, female Great Horned Owl, female Peregrine Falcon and a male American Kestrel Falcon to entertain the audience. 

Richtman, who put on two shows on Saturday, started working at the Raptor Center in 2006 while majoring in wildlife management at the University of Minnesota. 

“I started as a volunteer while going to the University of Minnesota College,” said Richtman “A friend recommended that I volunteer at the Raptor center and I worked on the education crew in the afternoons.” 

An audience member was dressed up as an owl to highlight the unique differences between owls and other birds.

An audience member was dressed up as an owl to highlight the unique differences between owls and other birds.

There is a reason that the birds are brought around to show the public. 

“Our mission is to educate people about the world that we share with these amazing birds,” said Richtman “Hopefully through education we can inspire people to live their lives to positively impact these birds and further allow them to be on this planet.” 

The Raptor Center rehabilitates injured wild raptures, helping around 600 to 800 raptures a year and releasing about half of them back into the wild. 

Emma Richtman with the real Great Horned Owl.

Emma Richtman with the real Great Horned Owl.

“We couldn’t do events like this without the friends of Minneopa” Kudelka said 

The shows were paid for by the Friends of Minneopa State Park. 

Historian Bryce Stenzel as Lewis Seppman.

Historian Bryce Stenzel as Lewis Seppman.

Thank you to everyone who was involved with the entertainment and education this weekend.  Your hard work and dedication of highlighting one of south central Minnesota is why we are the shining star of the Midwest. 

To learn more about the Friends of Minneopa State Park, visit their web page at Minneopa.org

 

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