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Families create tabletop pieces at Art in the Park event

Environmental educator Melissa Dupont (second from left) leads a group back to the Willow River State Park Nature Center after they’ve collected items to assemble. (RiverTown Multimedia photos by Mike Longaecker)1 / 3
Hudson resident LeeAnne Ehlers gathers up brush that she’ll later use in creating a table centerpiece during an Art in the Park event Sunday, Nov. 20, at Willow River State Park.2 / 3
Hudson residents Lisa and Garret Vogt create their centerpiece at Willow River State Park’s Nature Center.3 / 3

The outdoors came inside last weekend at Willow River State Park.

Sticks, leaves and other items scavenged from the park became part of table centerpieces during a Sunday afternoon event that drew about 15 people.

The Art in the Park event was led by UW-River Falls students Grace Sacher and Amber Rogers, who are working in partnership with the Friends of Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Park organization. Sacher, of Hudson, and Rogers, a Deerfield resident, are art education students at the university.

On Sunday, parents and children hauled in their bounty from a nearby park trail, then took to the Nature Center, where they began turning it into art. Sacher and Rogers provided chunks of logs that were used for bases, along with feathers and other crafts that participants could blend in with the outdoor brush.

Melissa Dupont, an environmental educator with the Friends group, said the Art in the Park program, which began last year, will continue on a monthly basis into 2017.

Dupont said the tentative plan for December’s Art in the Park event will involve participants making nature-based prints that will go onto holiday cards.

All Friends-based activities are free and open to the public, though users must pay to enter the park.

For more information about Friends activities, visit willowkinnifriends.org.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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