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Plenty of activities coming up at Jeffers Petroglyphs

COMFREY -- A perplexing past makes for an exciting present at the Jeffers Petroglyphs. There are now more than 5,000 petroglyphs discovered on the Sioux Quartzite in Comfrey, and it's possible that some date back to over 7,000 years ago.

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A hand carving is shown at Jeffers Petroglyphs. (Special to The Globe)

COMFREY - A perplexing past makes for an exciting present at the Jeffers Petroglyphs. There are now more than 5,000 petroglyphs discovered on the Sioux Quartzite in Comfrey, and it’s possible that some date back to over 7,000 years ago.

 

“Visitors can take part in daily guided tours of the carvings,” said Pam Jensen, the site supervisor at Jeffers Petroglyphs. “Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends.”  

 

Tours are offered every day, except Tuesday.

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“We have a special event every Saturday,” Jensen stated, adding that these activities will be taking place throughout the summer and into September.

 

This Saturday, along with Aug. 19, Sept 2 and Sept. 16, “A New Look at the Carvings” will be available.

 

“Visitors can explore the rock face without shoes to see petroglyphs that are located away from the regular path,” Jensen explained. “They can explore on their own, but an interpreter will be available to answer questions and direct visitors to carvings.”

 

The celebration of the First Garden Harvest of Summer will take place Aug. 12.

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“One thousand years ago the people of Minnesota, Iowa and the Northern Plains were farmers as well as hunters, growing crops such as sweet corn,” Jensen said. “The ripening of the first sweet corn was a time of plenty that was celebrated with the green corn festival. (Visitors may) taste fire-roasted sweet corn, bean soup and other seasonal foods while learning about the people of the Great Plains Village period. Guests will also learn how New World farmers developed crops that changed the world.”

 

Prairie Plant Discovery Day is from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 26. Visitors will learn how American Indians used plants in their daily life, how prairie plants have adapted to endure the weather conditions and the diversity of plants that live on this prairie. A prairie hike will take place at 2 p.m. highlighting various grasses and wildflowers currently blooming.

 

Archaeology Day is scheduled for Sept 9.

 

“Visitors can participate in a simulated excavation similar to those done on actual sites,” Jensen said. “They’ll learn to use the tools and record information as archaeologists do. A ‘digging for artifacts’ excavation dig with an easier level of difficulty will be also available for kids ages 10 and under.”

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Photo enthusiasts are welcomed Sept. 23 for “Prairie Photography: A Natural View.” Visitors will have an opportunity to learn the art of photographing prairie plants with area photographer Shelley Olson. Attendees will explore landscape, close-up lighting techniques and learn about camera equipment.

 

Visitors are encouraged to bring a camera and enjoy the beauty of the prairie. The event will take place rain or shine.

 

Jensen describes the site as “a beautiful prairie with about 300 species of wildflowers, grasses and lichens.” For more information on any of the events, check out Jeffers Petroglyphs on the Minnesota Historical Society Website.

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