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Fort Phil Kearny Visitor Center opened Monday

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Fort Phil Kearny interpretive center officially opened for the summer season on June 17. There is still construction work on-going on the new addition, which will be open next summer. Sharie Shada, site superintendent, talked about the upcoming season.

Although most the exhibits will not be available for viewing until the addition is finished, there is a diorama of the fort on display, and a video room where guests can watch the introduction video and will be used for indoor presentations.

The outdoor fort area is open during daylight hours 365 days a year and visitors can walk around the grounds and read the interpretive signs.

The fort will hold several events throughout the summer season.

The first event will be a birding walk beginning at 9 a.m. Join Bighorn Audubon JoAnne Puckett, and State Parks Ranger Katie Singleton for a bird walk adventure beginning at the Fort.

Attendees will visit a variety of bird habitats on state land. “This is our first organized bird walk at Fort Phil.” Puckett said. “It will be a pleasant walk seeing various bird habitats.”

She talked about the different bird species one is likely to see on the hike, including Bobolinks, a species that travels over 12,000 miles round trip to this summer breeding ground. “Several were observed today, along with a not-so-common Willow Flycatcher. Four Sandhill Cranes flew overhead, and a Loggerhead Shrike was in the neighborhood. Hermit Thrushes are nesting there. There is also great habitat for various warblers and sparrows. Dickcisselshave been seen in this area, and we will be on the lookout for them on Friday! The weather should be great.” Puckett added.

The walk is over easy terrain and it is about a mile round trip. Binoculars will be available, and a bird checklist and educational information will be provided.

On Saturday, June 22 starting at 8:30 p.m. there will be a Strawberry Moon Night Hike. Many of the Native American tribes, including the Dakota and Lakota people, named the June full moon the “Strawberry Moon” as it was the time when wild strawberries ripen.

Katie Singleton says that the night walk will be a naturalist program, discussing things like animal adaptations and our senses at night, and those joining the event will walk down to the creek.

State Park fees of $4 for adults apply. Children 17 and under free.



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