Needle in a basket
By STU MERRY
Summer activities were officially kicked off at the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge this past Saturday.
While the cold, cloudy and windy conditions forced some activities to be held inside, enthusiasm couldn’t be contained.
At one end of the spacious visitor center north of Coleharbor, a group of women worked intently creating a pine needle basket. At the other end, youth and adults watched a "DUCKumentary" about wood ducks, followed by a hands-on project, building a wood duck nest box.
Earlier in the day, at meeting rooms throughout the visitors center, activities included a shorebird decoy carving class and diamond willow walking stick making.
Pine needle basket making is a tedious, yet rewarding experience. Lauraine Ehley, Bismarck, and Jackie Schmeichel, Baldwin, were two of the women who took in the class.
Ehley, who is a native North Dakotan, but who lived in Florida for a time, is familiar with the needles used.
"They fall like manna from Heaven," she said. "They fall from the trees. What an awesome commodity … it’s something we can do something with."