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May Headwaters Science Center News

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Spring PWLC Environmental Education News

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PWLC Environmental Education News
Spring 2015

Contents:
1. PWLC News
2. PWLC Events
3. Other Resources
4. Housekeeping

1. PWLC News
Spring on the Prairie
We are enjoying a lengthy spring this year! Many birds have returned from their winter homes including all four swallow species, American coots, and clay-colored sparrows; and bobolinks are not far behind! Pussy willows are leafing out. The pasque flowers have bloomed and we are waiting to see the second prairie bloomer, golden alexanders, anytime now. We anxiously await our first goslings. Our most recent field investigations include bird surveys, watershed mapping, frog calling surveys, searches for wonder, and bird investigations. How is spring progressing at your school yard, park, or prairie?

Booking Your Visits to the PWLC
Please remember to contact Terrie Eidal to book your dates for field trips to the PWLC. She can be reached by phone at 218-998-4481 or via email at terrie_eidal@fws.gov. Please do not reply to this message to make bookings. Thanks!

Welcome, Sue McDonald!
We are pleased to welcome our new visitor services manager to the PWLC, Sue McDonald. Sue grew up in MN and has worked all around the country for the National Park Service (FL, AK) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (MN, MT, AZ, and IA). She moved here from Mid Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Washington and Oregon. We invite you to join us in welcoming Sue to the Fergus Falls community and the PWLC!

Yellow Bus Fund
At the PWLC, students have the chance to explore a prairie, sample the life of a wetland, and discover the beauty of a vanishing landscape. The Friends of the PWLC feel all schools should be able to visit the PWLC regardless of funding. Thanks to a grant they secured, the Friends provide up to 50% reimbursement for classes that cannot otherwise afford to visit. The funds pay for transportation to and from the Center for both daytime and overnight visits. For more information, contact Terrie Eidal at the PWLC at 218-998-4481.


2. Events at the PWLC for Educators and the Public
July 10: Fireflies at Night (10:00 pm - 11:00 pm)
Learn how and why they light up the sky, collect them outside, and examine them up close! All educators who participate receive a certificate documenting continuing education/clock hours. Free! Instructor: Molly Stoddard, Instructional Systems Specialist. For more information or to register, please call Molly at 218-998-4489.

July 20-23: Teaching in the Outdoor Classroom Workshop (times vary)
Open to all who teach children including licensed teachers, teachers in training, naturalists, non-formal educators, park rangers, volunteers, and Friends members! Held in conjunction with the Summer Explorers Biology Camp for students entering 5th and 6th grades in the fall. Workshop participants may teach any grade level and have the opportunity to apply their new skills each day with a small group of interested students. Working together as a team, we explore the many ways to use an outdoor classroom to enhance and strengthen a child's education. Participants receive 30 hours of clock hour instruction and workshop materials. Dormitory lodging is available for workshop attendees. Enrollment is limited to the first 15 teachers who register. Free! Instructors: ISD 544 Prairie Science Class teacher Mona Davis; and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service educators Molly Stoddard and Dave Ellis. For more information and to register, please visit www.friendsofprairiewetlands.com .

July 24: Moths at Midnight (10:00 pm - 11:30 pm)
Discover the nocturnal life of much-overlooked moths which are more abundant than their flashy family members, the butterflies. Search for moths in the field with flashlights. Learn more about these nocturnal insects, and catch, identify, and study them. All educators who participate receive a certificate documenting continuing education/clock hours. Free! Instructor: Teresa Jaskiewicz, Environmental Education Specialist. For information or to register, please call Teresa at 218-998-4486.

August 4-6: ArtStart Presents Reading the Landscape: Illuminating the Significance of Place (9:00 am - 3:30 pm daily)
A summer institute for K-12 educators and artists, Reading the Landscape is a hands-on, standard-based professional development opportunity integrating disciplines of visual arts, media arts, poetry, and environmental science working side-by-side with Dakota, Lakota, and/or Anishinaabe artists and scholars. This unique approach to multidisciplinary learning includes field work, art making, creative writing, assessment strategies, lesson development, and evaluation experiences. CEUs and graduate credits available. Cost is $75. For more details and registration information, please see the separate attachment or contact Carol Sirrine at 651-698-2787 or email her at carol@artstart.org.


3. Other Resources
2015 Gathering Partners of Natural Resources Conference, May 15-17
Coming right up! Organized by Minnesota Master Naturalists, Minnesota Phenology Network, Minnesota Family Woodlands, and Minnesota Forestry Association. Many opportunities for field trips, educational sessions and workshops. Rebecca Montgomery will present on phenology trends in Minnesota. http://www.minnesotamasternaturalist.org/annualconference/


July 21-24, 2015: Project Learning Tree/Project WILD/ Project WET Secondary Institute at Vermilion Community College, Ely
For grade 7-12 educators. $130, includes breakfasts, lunches, WET K-12 Activity Guide 2.0, WILD K-12 Activity Guide, PLT Secondary guides, field trips, 18 CEUs. Optional on-site lodging and graduate credit available for additional cost. For more info, check out these three links: http://www.projectwet.org/what-we-do/publications/guides, http://www.projectwild.org/ProjectWILDK-12CurriculumandActivityGuide.htm, and http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/plt/secondarymodules.html

Free Pollinator Partnership Resources
Did you know pollinators pollinate about 75% of our plants, both agricultural and native? If you teach about animals, arthropods, invertebrates, insects, birds, pollination, plants, agriculture, monarchs, gardens, or habitat - you will love the wealth of resources at this web site. Curriculum, posters, activities, facts, contests, food, other links - it's all there!
http://www.pollinator.org/education.htm#cr


4. Housekeeping
Brought to You by...
This seasonal environmental education (EE) e-mail is provided by the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If you know of other educators who may be interested in receiving this e-mail, we welcome you to forward this message to them or ask them to send an e-mail to prairiewet@fws.gov with their name, school district, grade level(s), subjects, and city/state. We also welcome your feedback at any time. If there is something particular that you would like us to share, please let us know.


Find us on Facebook! You can reach the official PWLC Facebook page and "like" us along with about 1,200 other folks. Click this link: www.facebook.com/prairiewetlands


"The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea and sky and their amazing life."

Rachel Carson,
The Sense of Wonder

May My Minnesota Woods Newsletter

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May SEEK Bulletin

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Greetings from SEEK!
As the school year winds down and the weather warms up, it's a great time to bring your students outside to learn and explore. The month of May is full of environmental celebrations including Arbor Month, Asthma Awareness Month, Composting Awareness Week, International Migratory Bird Day and more. Below you will find resources and ideas for your classroom and EE programs.

Don't forget to check SEEK's Jobs, Internships, and Volunteer pages

In this issue:

Headwaters Science Center (HSC)
Professional Development
EE News
General Resources
Funding Resources

April Friends of the Mississippi River Updates

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JOIN US FOR EARTH DAY, APRIL 25!

Hundreds of people come from throughout the metro area to celebrate Earth with FMR. Join us April 25, 2015 at one of our annual river cleanups at the River Gorge in Minneapolis or South Creek in Lakeville! Picking up trash is a great way to help your local waters and wildlife, like the pictured fox kit (saved by the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center).

Read more »


MYTHS & FACTS: THE GOVERNOR'S BUFFER INITIATIVE

During this month's State of the State Address, Governor Dayton expressed his displeasure with buffer opposition, saying he is "...unwilling to wait another year -- or longer -- for legislation that will significantly improve Minnesota's water."

While the Governor's buffer initiative presents an enormous opportunity to improve water quality and habitat in Minnesota, myths about the bill have proliferated in the halls of the capitol, often spread by opponents of the initiative.

Read more »


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: THE SESSION KICKS INTO HIGH GEAR

The 2015 legislative session moves into high gear this month, as a raft of policy and finance bills move toward the floor in the House and Senate. While buffers, Forever Green research, and a strong biofuels bill are reasons to smile, FMR is also working hard to defeat a series of assaults on clean water protections from the GOP-controlled House.

Read more »


THANK YOU TO THE 200+ CLEAN WATER RULES EVENT ATTENDEES

Thank you to the 200+ people who attended "Clean Water Rules! Understanding the EPA's Clean Water Act Update" with EPA administrator Gina McCarthy on April 7th. Participants learned about the importance of moving the EPA's work to update the Clean Water Rule forward and what we can do to help in the process.

Read more »


WEST SIDE FLATS MASTER PLAN UPDATE PUBLIC HEARING WILL BE MAY 6

Thanks to the many St. Paul residents who have spoken up and defended the iconic views of the St. Paul River Valley. Also, thank you to the Community Task Force that worked hard to ensure the West Side Flats Master Plan Update included building heights that would not diminish the power of the valley by blocking natural land features and minimizing a viewer's sense of place. Now is the time to defend this great plan. Join us in testifying in favor of the plan and proposed building height limits. The hearing will be held on May 6, 5:30 pm at Council Chambers, 300 City Hall, 15 Kellogg Blvd., West. For more information about the proposed plan, visit the link below or contact Alicia Uzarek at auzarek@fmr.org.

Read more »


CALLING ALL MISSISSIPPI RIVER BOATERS!

Friends of the Mississippi River, in partnership with the StopCarp.org Coalition, is interested in learning more about how Mississippi River boaters use the river. If you plan to boat on the river this season, please take 3-5 minutes to fill out this quick survey.

Read more »


BIRDS, BRUSH HAULS & BEAUTIFUL PLACES -- MAY FMR OUTINGS

Come enjoy a leisurely local bird hike or get your hands dirty for the river this May with FMR. Join us for the May 9 Urban Bird Hike, May 9 Vermillion River Brush Haul or earn SuperVolunteer status (excellent T-shirt included) by completing the Pine Bend Pledge-to-Pull, kicking off May 6th. We'll wrap the month up May 30 with a Floodplain Forest Cleanup in Hastings and a Native Planting in Minneapolis. All events are limited capacity; we look forward to hearing from you!

Read more »


FMR WELCOMES ALEX ROTH TO ITS STAFF

Alex Roth joins FMR as ecologist to assist with restoring and managing twin city natural areas.

Read more »


Mississippi River News

OUR MISSISSIPPI RIVER NATIONAL PARK

Did you know that the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities is a National Park? It's true! In fact, as the Star Tribune explains, it's the only National Park focused on the great river.

Read more »


MINNEAPOLIS PARKS PURCHASES RIVERFRONT PARCEL IN NORTH MINNEAPOLIS

The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) recently approved a land purchase deal to acquire the former Japs-Olson building in north Minneapolis on the Mississippi River just south of the Lowry Bridge. Although MPRB has been actively acquiring parcels on the east side of the river to complete a planned system of continuous parks and trails known as "Above the Falls," this is the first purchase in years to implement new parkland on the west side of the river. The site will continue to operate as a business on a temporary basis, but eventually 350 feet of riverfront will become accessible to the public.

Read more »


AMERICA'S PRAIRIE TO CROPLAND CONVERSION

A new report from the University of Wisconsin sheds new light on the conversion of grasslands, wetlands and forests to cropland. The report, Cropland Expansion Outpaces Agricultural and Biofuel Policies in the United States finds that the largest source of converted cropland was grasslands and the amount of grasslands converted in just four short years (2008-2012) totaled 5.7 million acres.

Read more »


Calendar of Events

SOUTH CREEK, VERMILLION STEWARDS EARTH DAY CLEANUP
Saturday, April 25 -- 9:00-11:30 a.m.
South Creek, Lakeville

Help clean up South Creek! This creek feeds the Vermillion River, a cold prairie river flowing through the heart of Dakota County and an important tributary of the Mississippi River.

Volunteers will meet at Cross of Christ Community Church. Lots and fields surrounding the church lead right up to South Creek, providing plenty of clean-up options. You can pick up trash from the parking lot and other hard surfaces, venture into the grassy areas leading up to the stream, or put on your waterproof boots to pick up litter in the marshy area next to the creek. Volunteers with waders are also needed to clean up stream-side. A few pairs of waders are also available on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more on the event page.

Read more »


EARTH DAY IN THE CITY: MINNEAPOLIS WATERSHED CLEANUP
Saturday, April 25 -- 9:30 a.m.-noon

Join this Earth Day tradition in the Minneapolis River Gorge! People come from throughout the local river corridor neighborhoods and metro area to contribute to the health and vitality of the Mississippi River Watershed. All ages are welcome and all supplies provided, including lunch. We'll meet at two sites along the parkway and bluff-top. Pick whichever works better for you -- the oak savanna at East 36th Street and West River Parkway, or the maple basswood forest at 44th and the parkway. No registration is required and complete details and directions are available on the event page. We look forward to seeing you at the first River Gorge Stewards event of the season!

Read more »


GARLIC MUSTARD PULL AT PINE BEND
Wednesday, May 6 -- 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific & Natural Area, Inver Grove Heights

In addition to stunning river valley views Pine Bend Scientific and Natural Area provides vital habitat for many birds who rely on the Mississippi River flyway. Come join this award-winning regional restoration project. At the end of this two-hour volunteer event, participants will be certified to return to this protected area to complete additional invasive species removal work this spring. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


URBAN BIRD HIKE, BEGINNERS WELCOME!
Saturday, May 9 -- 8:30-10:00 a.m.
Willowbrook Fish Hatchery, East Side St. Paul

Tucked below St. Paul's iconic Indian Mounds Park, Willowbrook Fish Hatchery is a little-known patch of wilderness in the city. Join longtime local bird enthusiast Joshua Davis and FMR staff for a casual bird walk in this floodplain natural area near the Mississippi River. Learn more and sign up via the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


VERMILLION RIVER AMA BUCKTHORN HAUL
Saturday, May 9 -- 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Vermillion River Aquatic Management Area, Empire Township, Dakota County

Join us in the oak woodlands bordering the Vermillion River, a cold prairie stream in the heart of Dakota County and a major tributary of the Mississippi River. Volunteers will be helping to remove invasive species in an Aquatic Management Area, a special type of preserve for shoreline property. With creek, lake and river shores being developed throughout the state, the AMA program helps Minnesota preserve public access as well as critical fish and wildlife habitat. Learn more and sign up via the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


FLOODPLAIN FOREST CLEANUP
Saturday, May 9 -- 9:30 a.m.-noon
Gores Wildlife Management Area, Hastings

Located roughly a mile downstream of downtown Hastings, the Gores Wildlife Management Area consists entirely of Mississippi and Vermillion River floodplain forests. With the spring thaw, a good deal of trash has been revealed in this natural area. Come help your local waters and wildlife at this limited-capacity cleanup. Learn more and sign up via the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


OAK SAVANNA SHRUB AND TREE PLANTING
Saturday, May 9 -- 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Near 36th & West River Parkway, Mississippi River Gorge, Minneapolis

Just off the main path along the Minneapolis riverfront lies a surprisingly beautiful and rare oak savanna and woodlands. Volunteers are needed to join FMR staff and ecologists to plant native shrubs and trees where there was once invasive buckthorn. The native plants will provide habitat -- for birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife -- and help filter pollution from runoff waters before they can enter the Mississippi River. Learn more and sign up via the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


SCHEDULE YOUR STENCILING OUTING TODAY
Mid-April through mid-October
City of St. Paul

If you're looking for a great service outing that is educational, active, outdoors and provides a significant community benefit, consider storm drain stenciling. It's just one and a half to three hours in length, and can be set at a time and St. Paul location convenient for your group. Reservations are now being taken for outings through October 2014. Learn more on the stenciling event page or go straight to our stenciling, cleanup and presentation request form!

Read more »


Phenology

APRIL: HEY, BUD!

The soft hues of emerging tree flowers and leaves begin to paint the spring horizon.

Read more »


Resource of the Month

FMR'S SPRING 2015 CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE GUIDE

Education events, rain barrel-building workshops, bird hikes, restoration outings -- whatever you're looking for, if you're looking to help the river this spring, we've got you covered.

Read more »


Supporting FMR

DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT: DONATE TODAY AND YOUR GIFT WILL BE MATCHED!

If you've been considering becoming a member of FMR or making your annual gift, do it today and your impact will be doubled! This spring generous donors have offered a $10,000 challenge gift to encourage greater support for our important work. If you become a new member or increase your level of annual support today, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar!

Read more »


THE BIG RIVER THANKS OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY

FMR would like to gratefully acknowledge the following members of the business community for their noteworthy or recent support of our work:

Walter C. Rasmussen-Northeast Bank Foundation for continuing to support our community-based activities in North and Northeast Minneapolis.

The Anchor Fish & Chips for renewing their business member to support our work "Above the Falls" in North and Northeast Minneapolis.

Patagonia St. Paul for generously donating prizes for volunteers participating in our Earth Day activities.

For information on FMR's Business Memberships, please contact John Briel, Development Associate, at jbriel@fmr.org.

Lastly, a big shout out to the University of Minnesota Student Unions and Activities staff for going above and beyond with our Clean Water Rules event on the Saint Paul campus earlier this month. Thank you so much!


Quote of the Month

"Julius Caesar enriched the common people of Rome by bequeathing to them all his parks and gardens. The people of Minneapolis do not need await the death of an Emperor to enjoy such treasures. They possess them in their own rights. Every man or woman that walks beneath the refreshing shade, or treads the green grass of our parks, or rides upon their sparkling waters, or listens to strains of enchanting music in an environment of nature's beauty--every boy and girl that gains health of body and mind within our playgrounds--every one of these can proudly say, 'These parks are mine; I am joint owner of all these splendors.'"

- Portius C. Deming, President, Minneapolis Board of Park Commissioners, 1915 Annual Report

April Audubon Center of the North Woods

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April Headwaters Science Center Newsletter

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In This Issue
Saturday Science
Nat'l Math Fest
AmeriCorps
Board Openings
Science At Home

April Mississippi Messages Calendar of Events

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CLEAN WATER RULES! UNDERSTANDING THE EPA'S CLEAN WATER ACT UPDATE
Tuesday, April 7 -- 6:30-8:30 PM
UMN St. Paul Student Center Theater, Falcon Heights

Join Friends of the Mississippi River and Environment Minnesota for a one-time opportunity to hear directly from the leader of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Administrator Gina McCarthy. The Administrator will present the keynote address on the EPA's recent work to strengthen our nation's Clean Water Act at our forum Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Seating is limited; reserve your spot today!

Read more »


'STATE OF THE RIVER' AT FULTON BREWERY
Saturday, April 11 -- 11 a.m.-noon
North Loop, Minneapolis

Join FMR Watershed Program Director Trevor Russell and Water Quality Coordinator Lark Weller of the National Park Service MNRRA Unit at Fulton Brewery for a brief State of the River overview. From invasive "flying" carp to bacterial contamination, from eagles to swimmability, Trevor and Lark, the report's principal authors, will highlight the most important trends and emerging issues facing the river today as well as potential solutions. Learn more and sign up via the event page.

Read more »


MIA'S APRIL 16TH THIRD THURSDAY: NATURE OF NATURE
Thursday, April 16 -- 6:00-9:00 pm
Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Take action and get creative with FMR at Minneapolis Institute of Art's Third Thursday: Nature of Nature on April 16. Enjoy food and drink while advocating for a healthy river and channeling your inner Banksy with a fun stenciling project. Admission is free and open to the public.

Read more »


HASTINGS AREA BIRDING FESTIVAL
Saturday, April 18 -- 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Carpenter Nature Center, Hastings

Celebrate the arrival of spring by learning about our region's many bird species. Enjoy classes, talks, bird banding demonstrations, guided bird trips in the Hastings area, and a special kids-only birding competition. Capacity is limited and RSVPs required. Learn more on the event page.

Read more »


SOUTH CREEK, VERMILLION STEWARDS EARTH DAY CLEANUP
Saturday, April 25 -- 9:00-11:30 a.m.
South Creek, Lakeville

Help clean up South Creek! This creek feeds the Vermillion River, a cold prairie river flowing through the heart of Dakota County and an important tributary of the Mississippi River.

Volunteers will meet at Cross of Christ Community Church. Lots and fields surrounding the church lead right up to South Creek, providing plenty of clean-up options. You can pick up trash from the parking lot and other hard surfaces, venture into the grassy areas leading up to the stream, or put on your waterproof boots to pick up litter in the marshy area next to the creek. Volunteers with waders are also needed to clean up stream-side. A few pairs of waders are also available on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more on the event page.

Read more »


EARTH DAY IN THE CITY: MINNEAPOLIS WATERSHED CLEANUP
Saturday, April 25 -- 9:30 a.m.-noon

Join this Earth Day tradition in the Minneapolis River Gorge! People come from throughout the local river corridor neighborhoods and metro area to contribute to the health and vitality of the Mississippi River Watershed. All ages are welcome and all supplies provided, including lunch. We'll meet at two sites along the parkway and bluff-top. Pick whichever works better for you -- the oak savanna at East 36th Street and West River Parkway, or the maple basswood forest at 44th and the parkway. No registration is required and complete details and directions are available on the event page. We look forward to seeing you at the first River Gorge Stewards event of the season!

Read more »


MAKE & TAKE RAIN BARREL WORKSHOP
Tuesday, May 5 -- 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Wellstone Center, West Side, St. Paul

Using a rain barrel is one of the simplest, high-impact ways to save water, save money and help protect our watershed. Join FMR and Coca-Cola at the Wellstone Center to learn about watershed-friendly home and garden practices and build your own ready-to-install rain barrel. The $40 registration fee covers all supplies, including the barrel and conversion kit.

Supplies are limited and early registration is suggested as these workshops have been filling quickly. Learn more and sign up via the event page.

Read more »


GARLIC MUSTARD PULL AT PINE BEND
Wednesday, May 6 -- 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific & Natural Area, Inver Grove Heights

In addition to stunning river valley views Pine Bend Scientific and Natural Area provides vital habitat for many birds who rely on the Mississippi River flyway. Come join this award-winning regional restoration project. At the end of this two-hour volunteer event, participants will be certified to return to this protected area to complete additional invasive species removal work this spring. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


URBAN BIRD HIKE, BEGINNERS WELCOME!
Saturday, May 9 -- 8:30-10:00 a.m.
Willowbrook Fish Hatchery, East Side St. Paul

Tucked below St. Paul's iconic Indian Mounds Park, Willowbrook Fish Hatchery is a little-known patch of wilderness in the city. Join longtime local bird enthusiast Joshua Davis and FMR staff for a casual bird walk in this floodplain natural area near the Mississippi River. Learn more and sign up via the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


VERMILLION RIVER AMA BUCKTHORN HAUL
Saturday, May 9 -- 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Vermillion River Aquatic Management Area, Empire Township, Dakota County

Join us in the oak woodlands bordering the Vermillion River, a cold prairie stream in the heart of Dakota County and a major tributary of the Mississippi River. Volunteers will be helping to remove invasive species in an Aquatic Management Area, a special type of preserve for shoreline property. With creek, lake and river shores being developed throughout the state, the AMA program helps Minnesota preserve public access as well as critical fish and wildlife habitat. Learn more and sign up via the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


JOIN THE PLEDGE TO PULL AT CROSBY PARK
Tuesday, May 19 -- 6:00-8:00 pm
Crosby Park, Mississippi River Gorge, St. Paul

Enjoy a spring evening near the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers helping to protect a striking array of native spring wildflowers -- Dutchman's breeches, trout lily, and Jack-in-the-pulpit to name a few. Volunteers will be trained to remove the invasive species garlic mustard before taking the "Pledge to Pull" -- pledging to return to the area and independently remove the garlic mustard and protect the native wildflowers at times convenient for them. This opportunity was created for those looking to contribute more than a couple hours, but needing to set their own volunteer schedule. Trained participants may team up with a buddy from the event or return to the area with family and friends to complete pledged hours. Capacity is limited and preregistration required. Learn more on the pledge kickoff page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


SCHEDULE YOUR STENCILING OUTING TODAY
Mid-April through mid-October
City of St. Paul

If you're looking for a great service outing that is educational, active, outdoors and provides a significant community benefit, consider storm drain stenciling. It's just one and a half to three hours in length, and can be set at a time and St. Paul location convenient for your group. Reservations are now being taken for outings through October 2014. Learn more on the stenciling event page or go straight to our stenciling, cleanup and presentation request form!

Read more »


For current event listings and more information on the events listed above, please visit our events calendar page at www.fmr.org/participate/events.

Saint Paul Natural Resources Spring Newsletter

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10th Annual Blooming Saint Paul Awards Ceremony

2014 was an exciting year for the Blooming Saint Paul Awards! With over 195 nominations and more than 150 attendees, it was the largest award ceremony yet. This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the program and tenth year of sponsorship from the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. To show our appreciation for their support and all they do to support gardening, the Saint Paul Pioneer Press received an Outstanding Gardening Advocate Award. We would also like to thank our additional sponsors: Capitol Region Watershed District, Kern Landscape Resources, Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply, Union Depot and The Saint Paul Hotel. It is with the help of our generous sponsors that we are able to continue to hold the Blooming Saint Paul Awards Ceremony each year.

Once again, the Ramsey County Master Gardeners served as the judges for the Blooming Saint Paul Awards. Nearly twenty Saint Paul homes, businesses and people received awards for their exemplary work! The Awards Ceremony was held on Monday, January 26th at a new venue, The Redcap Room, located in the Union Depot, and was catered by D'Amico and Sons Catering. We were fortunate to have Don Engebretson, The Renegade Gardener, as our informative and humorous guest speaker, as well as an appearance by Mayor Coleman.

Citywide Spring Cleanup

Join forces with family, friends and neighbors alike to clean up the garbage that has recently become exposed due to the melting snow. We invite everyone--families, friends, neighbors to come together to help beautify the city of Saint Paul.

Participating is easy! Register online, and then drop by your selected Cleanup Site any time between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 18th, to pick up bags, gloves and snacks and meet your neighbors and community members. Then head out and clean up your park or neighborhood of choice. More info at http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=1043.

Register at http://bit.ly/StPaulCleanup2015.

Conservation Corps of Minnesota: Partners in Restoration

Longer days and warmer weather means one thing - field season! With over two thousand acres of wild lands in our park system, Saint Paul Natural Resources highly values partnerships with local environmental organizations to help enhance and maintain wildlife habitat in the city. Conservation Corps Minnesota has been a partner in this effort for over a decade. Conservation Corps, a national non-profit affiliate of AmeriCorps, provides youth and young adults with training and job experiences in natural resources work. On average, the Corps employs eight young adults who mentor sixty-six youth each year in Saint Paul's natural areas. The young adults split their time between specialized fieldwork, such as chainsaw operation and prescribed burning, and leading crews of high school students controlling invasive species and planting native vegetation. Be on the lookout for hardhats in our parks - it just might be the Conservation Corps!

Natural Resources Brings Students Outdoors

Saint Paul Natural Resources is partnering with Wilderness Inquiry and Saint Paul Public Schools to engage students in Saint Paul parks. Natural Resources staff members are providing youth with outdoor recreation and environmental learning opportunities to connect students to nature. The partnership is engaging students at 14 participating Saint Paul schools.

In one program, students at Washington Technology Magnet are exploring urban wildlife ecology, learning mapping skills through geocaching, researching the regional park system, and studying stormwater runoff and water quality to prepare for field trips to Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary. As a part of this program, Natural Resources staff will provide hands-on bicycle safety training so that students can navigate to the Sanctuary by pedal power.

We are thankful to Cargill for funding geocaching equipment and the Capitol Region Watershed District for providing field trip transportation for these programs.

Arbor Month 2015: Celebrating St. Paul's Great American Elms
Saturday, May 30, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm

Linwood Park, 860 Saint Clair Avenue (east of Rec Center)

Most St. Paul residential streets during the 1960s were lined with large, mature American elms creating a tunnel-like effect over the road. It has been estimated that 80% of the boulevard trees during that time were American elms. They were the perfect tree - strong, fast-growing, and tolerant of drought. That is, until Dutch elm disease (DED) hit, killing tens of thousands of elms during the 1970s. Today, DED continues to kill old, large elms which currently comprise less than 1% of the total boulevard tree population. If losses continue at the average annual rate, there will be approximately 50 left by 2025.

To mark 50 years since DED was first found in the City, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Tree Advisory Panel (TAP) and the University of Minnesota will have a special focus on the history and future of the American elm at this year's annual Arbor Month event.

At the event, arborists will be on hand to answer questions and share useful tree care tips. Exhibitors from local organizations will be offering a variety of tree-related information and disease-tolerant elm trees will be available for free adoption. There will be many other family-friendly activities, including food and music performed by the Midway-Frogtown Arborators.

Pollinator Protection

Saint Paul Natural Resources (SPNR) is acutely concerned about the decline of pollinators, such as bees, worldwide linked to increased uses of insecticides and habitat loss. While this has been an issue for many years, 2014 saw a large uptick in publicity and educational awareness partially led by efforts of the University of Minnesota Bee Squad. As such, SPNR staff members are currently working on a couple of fronts:

1. SPNR is working with City officials to develop a City Council Resolution taking a position in support of practices that help protect pollinators. At this point, a resolution would be focused solely on internal City staff and the fieldwork they do.

2. SPNR is working with the Bee Squad on the possibility of developing a Community Apiary to provide a home for bees and engage the public on pollinator issues.

Stay tuned for more buzz on SPNR's pollinator projects.

April Project GO Newsletter

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April is a great month to open up the house and get outside. The name originally came from a Roman word, Aprilis, meaning 'to open'. In the month of April, small animals come out of hiding and birds migrate northward, and bees and butterflies begin to gather nectar. Did you know, April is planting time but in other parts of the world, it's the harvest season? April is also known for people going on huge spring cleaning sprees indoors and outdoors. Rain and mud are also in huge supply during April, so don't forget the rain boots!

See the entire newsletter here.

Happy Spring!

Spring has sprung - and here at the Audubon Center of the North Woods we are very happy that it looks like we will actually have a spring this year (so far anyway:)!

April SEEK Bulletin

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How Will You Celebrate National Environmental Education Week?

Spring is full of environmental celebration days that are often accompanied with free education resources and ideas to incorporate into your classroom and education programs. National Environmental Education Week is the nation's largest celebration of environmental education and will be celebrated April 19-25, 2015. Find resources to help you celebrate EE Week in this issue and on SEEK.

Don't forget to check out SEEK's Jobs, Internships, and Volunteer pages. Many organizations are hiring their seasonal staff at this time.

In this issue:

Como Zoo & Conservatory
Professional Development
EE News
General Resources
Funding Resources

April Maplewood Parks & Rec Newsletter

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Nature's Notebook

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Did you know you have a very important plant in your yard? Your observations on cloned dogwood (Cornus florida 'Appalachian Spring') and native flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) contribute to a long term project seeking to understand the impact of local environmental conditions on plants across the country.

As part of the Dogwood Genome Project, researchers at universities in the southeastern US will use yourobservations to identify variation in the phenology of flowering dogwood varieties, and investigate the genes that may be influencing the timing of leaf-out, flowering, and leaf-fall.

Have you seen breaking leaf buds or flower buds on your cloned dogwoods yet this year? Check out the map below to see which locations have reported breaking leaf buds this year for cloned and flowering dogwood.

Observers in the south are already reporting seeing breaking leaf buds, while most observers in northern states are still waiting for leaf buds to appear. This year, we even have observers on the west coast reporting on dogwoods!

Your next steps....
1. If you have not already done so, set up a site and add your plants to it in Nature's Notebook. Visit our website for further details on observing phenology using Nature's Notebook. Now is a great time to make sure you have registered the correct dogwood varietal. If you have registered your plant incorrectly, email support@usanpn.org.

2. Start checking your dogwood (at least weekly) for breaking leaf buds and flower buds. Remember, logging "no" observations are just as important as "yes" observations - the "no's" help data analysts to pinpoint when an event actually started.

Leaf buds and flower buds can be tricky to identify. If you think you have misidentified a flower or leaf bud, you can correct your submitted observations. Learn more here. Also, remember that the "flowers" you are looking for are actually the small yellow/green flowers inside the large white bracts.

3. Report your observations. Periodically log into your Nature's Notebook account and transfer your observations from your paper data sheet into the online reporting system. Alternatively, you can enter your observations directly using our Android or iPhone smartphone and tablet apps.

You can expect to hear from us every few weeks, as we enter the spring season. Now it really starts to get exciting!

Thank you for continuing this important legacy!

Spring SNA Nature Notes

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Restoring the Character of Swedes Forest SNA
By Brad Bolduan, SNA Program Management Specialist

Over the past 100 years trees and shrubs have become more abundant in prairies of the Minnesota River valley. The two dominant species invading many areas are Eastern red cedar and non-native common buckthorn. Swedes Forest SNA has experienced vast expansion of both these species, and is one location where the SNA Program is working to reverse that trend. Swedes Forest SNA is a rocky 207 acre site about 15 miles southwest of Granite Falls that is home to an uncommon lizard called the common five-lined skink, and to several rare plants.

Native plant species adapted to prairie, rock outcrop, and savanna environments have been slowly dying out as the shade from woody invaders has increased. Open habitats needed by reptiles, butterflies, and other animals have slowly disappeared as well. Study of the common five-lined skink will begin this year to monitor population trends. The goal is restoration to a condition that more closely matches pre-European settlement as inferred from historic aerial photos. Accelerated cutting has begun at SNAs in the area, including the progress at Swedes Forest as follows:

In 2011 -2012 buckthorn was removed from the understory on about 60 acres in the northwest portion of the SNA.

In 2012-2013 work continued on buckthorn control, and removal of the red cedar canopy began with the clearing of 12 acres on the west side of the SNA. Photo above shows cutting and adjacent photo shows vegetation beginning to recover in this area.
In 2013-2014 efforts included clearing buckthorn and small red cedar from 18 acres of rock outcrop at the south end of the SNA.

In 2014-2015 about 8 acres of large red cedar were removed adjacent to the 2013-2014 effort.

Plans are being implemented for further removal of 60-80 acres of red cedar over the next two years.

The work has just begun with the initial removal. Buckthorn stump sprouts and new seedlings can grow vigorously and will take continued control measures. Areas that were dense with red cedar and buckthorn may come back with burdock and thistle. By using prescribed burns, as well as chemical and mechanical controls, the non-native thistles and buckthorn can be kept in check. These newly opened areas will recover at their own pace while staff continues to push back the cedar and buckthorn from other parts of the SNA. Seeding with native prairie grasses and wildflowers will be required in the most significantly impacted areas.

Efforts of this scale would not be possible without funding provided from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Outdoor Heritage Fund.


Special Event Goes On

Despite a warm week having made plans difficult to confirm until the last minute, a special event at Burntside Islands SNA went off without a hitch this past weekend (March 14th). The day dawned cloudy and cool, but still above average for this time of year. A planned snowshoe hike out to the islands was scuttled, but walking on the slushy, snow-covered ice worked out. The group was led by the Ely Field Naturalists who provided details about the area geology and hydrology as well as area plants and animals. A highlight after the hike was a tour of Listening Point, the private retreat of beloved local author Sigurd Olson, now run by the Listening Point Foundation.

The event was hosted by the Trust for Public Land, DNR SNA Program, Listening Point Foundation, Ely Field Naturalists, and the Burntside Lake Association to spotlight the addition of Gaul (Hayes) Islands to the SNA. The Trust for Public Land played a key role in the recent acquisition. In December of 2014 the 4.5 acre Gusty Island was sold to The Trust for the possible future addition to the SNA.


SNA Events

Time to get out and soak up all the sights and sounds spring has to offer. Enjoy some hands on activities, or just revel in the beauty of the first of the spring wildflowers on an enjoyable hike. A full list is available on the SNA Events Calendar.

04/25/15
Lost Valley Prairie SNA
Volunteer Project: Clear Brush

05/16/15
Wolsfeld Woods SNA
Spring Wildflower Walk

06/06/15
Grey Cloud Dunes SNA
Site Tour and Volunteer Project to Remove Trash


Site Highlight: Badoura Jack Pine Woodland SNA

We are excited to officially welcome the newest addition to the list of Minnesota's Scientific and Natural Areas! Designated in early November, Badoura Jack Pine Woodland SNA is located in the southeastern corner of Hubbard County. This site is host to one of the largest remaining stands of mature jack pine woodlands in Minnesota.

The rapid disappearance of jack pine woodlands since the early 2000s, especially larger tracts, has been a growing concern and prompted the preservation of this site. The SNA was not entirely spared from clear cutting as roughly half the acreage of the 887 acre site was harvested prior to SNA designation. Despite this, what is left is in excellent condition and large enough to sustain itself into the future. Especially encouraging is the intact ground layer of native wildflowers and grasses which have responded favorably, and even thrive in the cut-over areas. Jack pine seedlings have already begun to grow in these openings and over the long-term jack pine woodland should regenerate throughout the site.

Future management strategies for the Badoura Jack Pine Woodland will likely include the re-introduction of fire to the jack pine stands. Surveys for reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds would be useful as well. A reptile survey would be particularly important to determine if Blanding's turtles, a rare species, are present, since the new SNA seems to have habitat to support them.


Notes from Site Stewards

Site stewards continue to monitor SNAs across Minnesota. Their observations provide invaluable information to the SNA Program. Here are some interesting notes from reports:

New Year's Day 2015 rang in quietly at Chamberlain Woods SNA when site steward Todd Nelson did a complete tour of the site. The only thing out of place that Todd had to take care of was a little trash in the parking lot.

Snowshoes were the transportation of choice for observations in December and January by the Gitar family of site stewards (Richard, wife Lori, daughter Cheryl and son Cory) at Hovland Woods SNA. On their January 25th visit Richard and Cheryl trekked into this large site via the Superior Hiking Trail, which skirts the southeastern boundary of the site. The tracks they made were the only ones they observed.

In order to learn more about the plant life of Uncas Dunes SNA site steward Brett Whaley called upon a knowledgeable friend to join him on a winter field visit on January 25th. They found a few interesting species such bearberry and beach-heather. Brett is also a talented photographer; see the bur oak photo above that he took at Uncas Dunes.
Thanks for all the work you do for SNAs stewards!

Join or continue a Nature's Notebook Campaign in 2015

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It may still feel like winter at your home, but it's not too early to begin thinking about spring! Consider joining us in tracking one or more of our target species through a Nature's Notebook campaign. If you joined one of these last year, we'd love to have you stick with us!

We have 4 different campaigns to offer you this spring: you can watch for leaf out of maples, oaks and poplars, report on flowering of lilacs or dogwoods, or track leaf phenology of poplars. Learn more below.

If you intend to collect data for one or more of these campaigns, be sure to sign up to receive the campaigns messages we send out periodically. You will receive messages providing early results, encouragement, observation tips, interesting links, and campaign-specific opportunities. To sign up for campaign messages, click the "Sign me up!" links below.

Please note: If you participated in one or more of these campaigns last year, we have kept you on the list, so no need to sign up again this year.

Catch the Greenwave this Spring
Help scientists and natural resources managers track the "green wave" - the flush of green that accompanies leaf-out - over the course of the spring season, and the spread of seasonal color across the country in the autumn.
Sign me up!

Become a Lilac Flower Follower
Your observations of common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) life cycle events can enhance the decades of lilac phenology observations that have been collected across the United States.

Sign me up!


Become a Dogwood Flower Follower
Your observations of native flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) life cycle events can enhance the decades of lilac phenology observations that have been collected across the United States.

Sign me up!

Track the Timing of Trees with PopClock
Researchers at the University of Maryland are working to identify genes that could ensure tree survival as the climate changes. You can assist by collecting observations of leaf phenology for balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) and quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides).

Sign me up!


Learn more about the specifics of registering and observing your plants at www.usanpn.org/nn/guidelines.

7 Ways to Volunteer in St. Paul This Spring

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Environmental Volunteers

For every event:
Bring a water bottle.
Bathrooms are usually limited.
Dress for the weather.
Suggested attire: long pants and closed-toe shoes.
Event leaders will be in safety vests.
Leave valuables at home. There is no safe place to store them in the park, and storing in your car is not a safe option.
Sign in.
HAVE FUN!


Information about upcoming volunteer events and current opportunities with
Saint Paul Natural Resources, a section of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation.
All events are family-friendly and great for individuals, friends and small groups.


With all the beautiful weather this week, it sure is easy to think spring! Here are seven (7) different ways to volunteer in your parks this spring. Don't worry, there will be many opportunities this spring, summer and fall. We are just getting started.


1. Citywide Spring Cleanup
Sat, Apr 18 | 9-11:30 am | Parks and neighborhoods in Saint Paul

Join forces with family, friends and neighbors to clean up the trash that has recently become exposed due to the melting snow.

Participating is easy! Register, and then drop by your selected Cleanup Site any time between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 18th, to pick up bags, gloves and snacks and meet your neighbors and community members. Then head out and clean up your park or neighborhood of choice. More information here.

REGISTER HERE

All ages, individuals and groups are welcome. No experience necessary.


2. Spring Planting in Lilydale
Sat, May 9| 9-11:30 am | Lilydale Regional Park - meet at boat launch

Plant trees and shrubs to restore one of Saint Paul's beautiful riverside gems - Lilydale Regional Park! Join us, the National Park Service and Mississippi River Fund for an Arbor Month celebration along the floodplain of the Mississippi River. Volunteers will plant over 1,000 native trees and shrubs and take time to enjoy and learn about some of the Parks' feathered inhabitants on a guided bird walk.

REGISTER HERE

All ages, individuals and groups are welcome. No experience necessary.


3. Restoration Supervisor
Restoration Supervisor volunteers work closely with staff to help improve and maintain areas of high ecological significance in Saint Paul. They assist staff with supervising volunteers during large habitat restoration events, and may also lead small volunteer events in the absence of staff.

Combine your passions to care for our land and to share your knowledge by leading garlic mustard pulls, burdock cleanups or planting events. Click here for more information and to apply.


4. EcoSteward
EcoStewards are individuals and small groups who are dedicated to preserving, protecting and restoring natural areas and vital ecosystems. They will adopt a parcel of land in the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom in Como Regional Park.

This is a good fit for a volunteer who needs a flexible schedule. Care for your parcel of land on your own time. Click here for more information and to apply.


5. Garden Steward
Garden Stewards are individuals and groups who care for the many gardens in Saint Paul by planting, weeding, mulching and providing general garden maintenance.

We provide gloves, mulch buckets, knee pads, trowels and safety vests. Click here for more information and to apply.

Several openings available downtown and one opening in Como.


6. Group Volunteer Projects
Help prepare or clean up gardens, improve and maintain natural areas or pick up trash in our parks, while working together as a team. We have several large-scale, one-time volunteer projects each month during the growing season (April through October). Saint Paul Natural Resources will tailor a private volunteer project for your group to work together

Projects must be requested at least THREE weeks prior to the requested date(s).

Click here for more information and to apply.


7. Waterfest 2015
Sat, May 30| 11 am-4 pm| Phalen Regional Park

Join the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District and Saint Paul Parks & Rec for a free celebration of our clean lakes offering fun on and around the water with Voyageur canoes, boats, water games, live animals, climbing walls, music and much more! Click here more info or to volunteer.

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