Squire House Gardens, at 3390 St. Croix Trail S. Afton, is hosting its annual Spring Art Show from March 9-22. Opening reception will be from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 9.

"This year's Art Show features exceptional local painters exploring and revealing their personal and sensitive vision of our Minnesota landscape, our beloved gardens and the creatures with whom we share this land," said Martin Stern, owner of the gift shop and nursery.

The paintings, which include large and small pieces at affordable prices, will be on display. Participating artists include: James Wilcox Dimmers, showcasing recent works in acrylic; Richard Meacock, landscapes in oil that highlight color and light; Deb Kirkeeide, impressionist oils of floral and fauna; Catherine Hearding, watercolor landscapes and still life; and Susan Steging Cook, contemporary realist compositions in fine oil.

For more information, call 651-436-8080 or visit squirehousegardens.com.

marine on St. Croix

Bluebirds to be focus of state park program

A program on the eastern bluebird will be presented by Julie Osterbauer at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at the Visitor center of William O'Brien State Park, 16821 O'Brien Trail North, Marine on St. Croix.

Osterbauer will offer advice on how you can bring bluebirds back to your back yard and how you can establish your own bluebird trail. Construction plans to build your own bluebird nest box will be available after the program. The Friends Group of William O'Brien State Park will also be selling bluebird nest box kits. The kits are $17.50 a piece and members will be on hand to help you assemble your bluebird nest box. Bring a hammer if you are going to build a nest box. There are a limited number of kits available, so please call the park to reserve your kit.

For more information, call 651-433-0500.

Denmark township

Nature Center hosts Maple syrup program

Two programs on making syrup will be offered from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10 and Sunday, March 24, at the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, 12805 St Croix Trail S., Hastings.

The first program is part of Natural Challenges Series. At both events, participants will hike to the "sugarbush" to tap maple trees, witness the process of turning sap into syrup and sample the finished product.

This program will start indoors, but be prepared to hike in the spring snow and mud. Call the CNC office at 651-437-4359 to reserve your spot. Program fee: $6 per person per program or $4 for "Friends of CNC" and children under 10 or $20 maximum per family per program unless otherwise noted.


Dirty Shorts band to perform concert

The Dirty Shorts Brass Band will perform their signature New Orleans-style brass band, jazz, swing, rock 'n' roll, blues and Dixieland music at a concert at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 3, at the Woodbury Central Park Amphitheater, 8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury.

Based in the Twin Cities, these nine men have been entertaining and amusing Midwest audiences for several years, performing in all venues from bars to street dances. With a wide variety of standards and pop tunes, the Dirty Shorts Brass Band brings a refreshing brand of irreverence, wit and enthusiasm to the New Orleans tradition.

Raptors on display at Central Park

Birds of prey from the University of Minnesota Raptor center will take center stage during a free program from 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, March 13, at the Woodbury Central Park Amphitheater, 8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury.

Raptors and staff from the center travel around Minnesota and the United States, providing a unique educational experience. The program will be packed with information that is both educational and entertaining. The program will include a raptor education specialist, several raptors and a variety of hands-on props and activities that make it a complete educational experience.

Jim Anderson