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“Whitewater Rafting and Nature’s Lessons” coming up on Prairie Sportsman
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A photo of rapids on the Kettle River.

Download photo of Host Bret Amundson whitewater rafting on the Kettle River with Tony Vavricka.


GRANITE FALLS, Minn.Whitewater rafting on the Kettle River, Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center and Critical Habitat Plates will be featured on Prairie Sportsman. “Whitewater Rafting and Nature’s Lessons'' will air on Pioneer PBS Sunday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. For air dates and times on all Minnesota PBS stations, go to

Host Bret Amundson is whitewater rafting on the Kettle River with Tony Vavricka, owner of Hard Water Sports in Sandstone. The river runs through Banning State Park and features scenic rock outcrops, kettles and rapids including Mother’s Delight, Dragon’s Tooth, Blueberry Slide and Hell’s Gate. Vavricka leads rafting tours throughout the summer and also provides canoe and kayak rentals, wilderness outfitting and guided rock and ice climbing adventures. 

In the next segment, Prairie Sportsman is at the Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center that leads environmental education programs, retreats and events for 15,000 annual visitors. The former Northwoods Audubon Center changed its name in 2020 to better reflect its wide range of programs, including three-day residential programs for K-12 students, summer camps, day visits and adult workshops. With lodging and a dining hall that seats up to 200 people, the center also offers space for weddings, retreats and other events. When schools closed because of COVID-19, the center provided online learning space and after-school nature programs for area students. 

In the final segment, we learn about the Minnesota DNR’s Critical Habitat Plate program. Auto owners can purchase one of eight outdoor-themed license plates and contribute an additional $30 fee when renewing license tabs. The funds are matched by private donations and used for land acquisitions, habitat restoration and protecting nongame wildlife, which are species that are not hunted or fished. 

About Prairie Sportsman

Prairie Sportsman celebrates our love of the outdoors to hunt, fish and recreate, provided by our vast resources of lakes, rivers, trails and grasslands, and to promote environmental stewardship. 

Prairie Sportsman’s team includes Cindy Dorn, producer/writer; Bret Amundson, host/editor; and Dylan Curfman, editor/videographer. The 2021 season is made possible by funding from SafeBasements of Minnesota, Live Wide Open, Western Minnesota Prairie Waters and members of Pioneer PBS.

About Pioneer PBS

Established in 1966, Pioneer PBS is an award-winning, viewer-supported television station dedicated to sharing local stories of the region with the world.  For more information visit