Veterinarian Katie Baratto

Veterinarian Katie Baratto readies a barred owl for release at Ripple River Gallery’s annual open house. The event is a benefit for the Wild and Free Animal Rehabilitation Program.

Ripple River Gallery’s 21st annual fall open house, set for Saturday, Sept. 25 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., will be a celebration of the season. Meet artists, create a bird portrait, take a walk in the woods, learn about natural dying and have refreshments – all while learning more about the Wild & Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Program in Garrison.

Featured exhibit is “A Journey Through Trees,” pastel paintings by Denise Bunkert, who will be on hand to talk about her work.

At noon and again at 2 p.m. join Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer Elizabeth Carls for a guided walk in the woods. Participants will learn to identify several species of native trees and plants, and perhaps spot some birds along the way. Closed-toe shoes and long pants are advised. Throughout the day Carls will also demonstrate dying with native plants. A dye pot will be brewing throughout the day and examples of dyed fibers will be on display.

Fellow artists will be on hand throughout the day to help you create your own mixed media bird portrait collage.

Volunteers with Wild & Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Program in Garrison, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about wildlife and habitat will be on hand to talk about the program.

Veterinarian Dr. Debbie Eskedahl heads the volunteer-based program, which provides food, shelter, medical and surgical care to orphaned or injured wildlife under permits from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Donations for Wild & Free will be accepted.  

Wild & Free functions completely on charitable donations, fundraising and the generosity of its members.

A highlight of the afternoon is the release of recovered birds that are ready to fly. In past years owls and several species of hawks have been released. Names will be drawn throughout the day to see who gets to do the actual release, which takes place around 1 p.m.

Ripple River Gallery is 5 miles south of Deerwood on Hwy. 6, then 3 miles east of Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge on Co. Rd.14 to Partridge Ave.; or south of Aitkin on Hwy. 169 to Bennettville, then 3.2 miles west on Co. Rd. 11 to Partridge Ave.

For more information call 218-678-2575 or e-mail:

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