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Sept. Mississippi Messages

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FMR Updates

COMING SOON! FMR AND REI CELEBRATE PARTNERSHIP IN OCTOBER

This coming October, FMR is celebrating its valued partnership with REI. Accordingly, we are offering these special benefits, courtesy of REI, to our members and supporters throughout October:

Generous REI coupon for new or renewing FMR members.
Complimentary "REI Steward 2014" t-shirt if you are both an FMR and REI member.
REI Passage 2 tent raffle.

Read more »


FORD'S RIVERSIDE TOXIC DUMP UNDER INVESTIGATION

From 1945 until 1966, the Ford Motor Company dumped unknown quantities of industrial waste, including solvents and paint sludge, on the floodplain of the Mississippi River below the bluff adjacent to its St. Paul assembly plant. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is now asking Ford to conduct further investigation of the dump before deciding whether to require Ford to clean it up. Friends of the Mississippi River has numerous concerns about the thoroughness of the proposed investigation and the possibility that the dump will be allowed to remain at the river's edge permanently.

Read more »


MAKING OUR HOMES RIVER-FRIENDLY, FALL FMR WORKSHOPS

We all know it's important to conserve water and decrease pollution, but how exactly do you go about doing that in your own home or yard? And what really makes the biggest difference for our local rivers?

At FMR, we're asked these questions all the time. This fall, we're offering a trio of Vermillion Stewards workshops to answer them as best we can, as quickly and concisely as possible. Join the movement to make your home river-friendly. Sign up for one or all!

Read more »


SUPPORT THE EPA'S WORK TO PROTECT U.S. STREAMS AND WETLANDS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting comments on their draft Waters of the U.S. rule - a clarification of the Clean Water Act. Tell the EPA that you support their efforts to protect our nations streams and wetlands today!

Read more »


THEY'RE BAAAAACK!

FMR's hungriest volunteers have returned to Gores Wildlife Management Area to dine on invasive shrubs.

Read more »


ROCHESTER EARNS STORMWATER EXCELLENCE AWARD!

Congratulations to the city of Rochester for earning the Blue Star Award. Rochester, like all Blue Star communities, is taking a leadership role in protecting Minnesota's water resources and public health through excellence in stormwater management.

Read more »


A FAMILIAR FACE JOINS THE FMR EVENTS TEAM

FMR is delighted to officially welcome events intern Amy Kilgore as our new Outreach Assistant and Events Registrar. Her smiling face will be familiar to many Mississippi Messages readers. Since March, Amy has worked with hundreds of FMR volunteers at our restoration and education events. Now she'll also be the person signing everyone up, staying in touch about details and directions and sending Facebook-worthy photos after each event.

Read more »


Mississippi River News

LAWSUIT OVER WHITE BEAR LAKE WATER LEVELS WILL GO TO TRIAL

The Star Tribune recently covered a decision by Judge Margaret Marrinan to send a nearly two-year old lawsuit over White Bear Lake water levels to trial next spring.

Read more »


NEW INFORMATION RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT TRICLOSAN SAFETY

Triclosan made headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks. New research on the risks on triclosan in personal care products, and newly released data on the FDA's original approval in triclosan in toothpaste, shined a less-than-flattering light on the controversial chemical.

Read more »


THE STAR TRIBUNE WEIGHS-IN ON THE STATE'S NEW PHOSPHOROUS POLLUTION STANDARDS

In response to toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, the Star Tribune authored this recent editorial highlighting the importance of Minnesota's new standards, and calling for additional state action to protect and maintain our waters for both aquatic recreation, environmental health, and public safety.

Read more »


Calendar of Events

EXPLORE WETLAND ECOLOGY IN TUNNEL VALLEY

Thursday, September 18, 6-7:30 p.m.
Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Cottage Grove

Join Friends of the Mississippi River ecologist Karen Schik and Washington Conservation District's Angie Hong as we explore Ravine Lake and the wetlands surrounding it. You'll learn about the plant life in and around the wetlands -- aquatic, amphibious, and terrestrial -- and the important role these plants play as they provide habitat and filter pollutants from our waters. Then we'll use dip nets to get a closer look at macroinvertebrates living in the marsh, and discuss what these tiny creatures reveal about the impacts of water pollution!

Capacity is limited and preregistration required. Children are welcome with a parent or guardian. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


ST. PAUL OPEN STREETS WATER FESTIVAL

Sunday, September 21 -- noon-4 p.m.
University Avenue, Central Corridor, St. Paul

St. Paul Open Streets encourages residents to get out and see our community up-close in a safe, car-free environment. This year's event also includes a Water Festival, focused on making the connection between our local streets and the health of our local waters. Join FMR's Kate Clayton to learn about the 450 miles of storm drains that run below the streets of St. Paul, what flows through them, and where all this stormwater -- and the pollution that comes with it -- really goes. Participants can also help educate others and reduce water pollution by joining Kate to stencil storm drains in the surrounding neighborhoods. Learn more on the event page.

Read more »


'MAKE AND TAKE' RAIN BARREL WORKSHOP

Thursday, September 25, 6-7:30 p.m.
Lakeville Area Arts Center, Lakeville

Every time there's a heavy rain, rainwater has washed over your roof, your yard and pavement -- carrying bits of roof shingles, pet waste, fertilizer, pesticides, motor oil and dirt into the nearest storm drain. All of this pollution goes right into our local creeks, lakes and the Vermillion and Mississippi Rivers -- unfiltered, untreated! Rain barrels help reduce this runoff pollution, and offer many other benefits as well. Learn more, sign up and purchase your barrel and supplies ($30) via the event page.

Read more »


REMNANT BLUFF PRAIRIE RESTORATION

Saturday, September 27 -- 9:00-11:00 a.m.
River Oaks Park, Cottage Grove

Just southeast of River Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove lies a riverfront bluff with stunning views and a special remnant bedrock bluff prairie. Roughly 30 years ago this remnant prairie was renown as a very high quality area with excellent biodiversity. Over the years, however, it has steadily declined, and is now at risk of slowly being taken over by non-native species.

Recently, FMR began working with the City of Cottage Grove to preserve and restore this important site. Now volunteers are needed to join FMR Ecologist Joe Walton at our first restoration event at River Oaks Park. Volunteers will primarily haul pre-cut buckthorn, helping to open the canopy and making way for more beneficial native prairie and savanna plants to return.

Capacity is limited and registration required. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


SCHEDULE YOUR STENCILING OUTING TODAY!

Through mid-October
City of Saint 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 »


OAK SAVANNA BUCKTHORN HAUL

Saturday, October 4 -- 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Near 36th & West River Pkwy., Mississippi River Gorge, Minneapolis

Volunteers will work closely with FMR staff to remove buckthorn and other invading trees and shrubs or to haul brush to its pick-up spot. Tools and gloves will be provided. However, be prepared to work on steep slopes and uneven terrain. Due to the tools and terrain, this event is not suitable for small children.

Capacity is limited and preregistration required. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


SEED COLLECTION IN THE SAND COULEE/RARE PRAIRIE

Saturday, October 11 -- 9 a.m.-noon
Sand Coulee Scientific and Natural Area, Hastings

After a brief training, volunteers will help collect much-needed native prairie seed while enjoying this rare example of a sand-gravel prairie in full fall bloom. Volunteers will work with FMR Senior Ecologist Karen Schik and Assistant Stewardship Coordinator Kate Clayton in the natural area most recently added to the Sand Coulee Scientific and Natural Area. Seed will be used for further habitat restoration. Large quantities -- of volunteers and seed alike -- are needed!

Capacity is limited and preregistration required. Learn more about this Vermillion Stewards event on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


BUST BUCKTHORN IN 'TUNNEL VALLEY'

Saturday, October 18 -- 9:00 a.m.-noon
Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Cottage Grove

Centered around one of the most impressive landscape features in southern Washington County, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park totals nearly 600 acres. The ravine for which it is named is approximately a half-mile wide with 80- to 100-foot slopes, and bisects the park north to south before ending in a small lake. Known as a "tunnel valley," the ravine was carved by a subglacial drainageway that carried large volumes of water, eroding the valley.

Volunteers will work with FMR Senior Ecologist Karen Schik to continue and expand the restoration of this beautiful park by hauling cut brush, primarily buckthorn. (There may also be some brush-cutting for volunteers comfortable working with handsaws or loppers.) This will help open the canopy, making way for native plants beneficial to local wildlife and waters to return.

Capacity is limited and registration required. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


MAKE YOUR HOME RIVER-FRIENDLY

Wednesday, October 22 -- 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Dakota County Western Service Center (next to Galaxie Library), Apple Valley

Join FMR Stewardship Coordinator Adam Flett to learn about practices and small projects you can take on inside your home -- be it a mansion or a small apartment -- to significantly improve your water footprint. We'll quickly cover the basics, touching on both well-known lessons and lesser-known tools to help you figure out the most effective steps to take to make your home river-friendly.

Topics include the biggest water users in your house or apartment (both direct and indirect usage), where to take leftover prescription drugs, alternatives to household products containing triclosan and other river polluters.

Capacity is limited and registration required. Learn more about this free Vermillion Stewards event on the event page, or sign up now with akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


RESTORE HABITAT AT PINE BEND BLUFFS

Saturday, October 25 -- 9:00 a.m.-noon
Pine Bend Bluffs near Highway 52, Flint Hills property, Rosemount

After a light breakfast and hot coffee, enjoy a nice fall workout removing pre-cut invasive buckthorn at this annual event in beautiful Pine Bend Bluffs. At the end, we'll enjoy a hot lunch (in a heated tent) to say thank you and celebrate a day's good work.

Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


LANDSCAPE FOR THE RIVER: NATIVE PLANTS, RAINGARDENS, LAWN CARE FOR WATER QUALITY (+ WINTER TIPS)

Tuesday, November 4 -- 6-7 p.m.
Schaar's Bluff Gathering Center, Hastings

Whether you're interested in a smaller native planting or want to transform your whole yard into a force for clean water in 2014, this FMR workshop can help you jump-start your spring planning. We'll also touch on ways to make your yard river-friendlier this winter. Taught by FMR's former River Stewardship Coordinator Adam Flett, the presentation receives rave reviews from participants, who also appreciate the high-quality and concise take-home materials. .

Capacity is limited and preregistration required. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


Resource of the Month

NEW MWMO VIDEO SERIES TEACHES GOOD LAWN CARE CHOICES FOR CLEAN WATER

Residents, homeowners, business owners, and seasonal workers can all benefit from the recently released Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) lawn care videos. The 21-minute videos promote techniques for maintaining an attractive and healthy lawn while keeping our rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater clean and safe.

Part 1: Lawn Care Basics
Part 2: Fertilizing Your Lawn
Part 3: Weed Control


Phenology

SQUADRONS SOARING ABOVE US

There are squadrons of large white birds overhead.

Read more »


Supporting FMR

HELP US EARN THE LAST $500 OF THE $10,000 CHALLENGE GRANT!

The Pohlad Foundation has offered FMR a $10,000 challenge grant to match new gifts before October 27. Thanks to an awesome show of support we are $500 away from the goal! To help us earn the final $500 and add your voice to the community voice for the river, please consider a tax-deductible gift to Friends of the Mississippi River today. You can call Heather at 651-222-2193 x30 to make a gift by phone, mail in a check or make your gift right now.

All new members get an attractive FMR magnet with our thanks!

Read more »


Quote of the Month

"The rising hills, the slopes, of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light"

- "For the Children" by Gary Snyder

Sept. Saint Paul Natural Resources

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Welcome to the Natural Resources Newsletter!

By Eric Thompson, Parks Program Supervisor, and Cy Kosel, Natural Resources Manager

As your Natural Resources team (Arts & Gardens, Environmental Education, Environmental Services, Forestry, and Volunteer Resources), we strive to meet our mission, to create lifelong connections to a healthy natural environment for all.

With the understanding we all may want to "connect" in different ways. We look forward to creating "connections" with all of you through this newsletter. The City has recently enhanced our trail connections by partnering with PedalMN and HealthPartners to install four new bike repair stations along the Sam Morgan and Bruce Vento regional trails. These stations allow cyclists to stop along the way and make minor repairs to their bikes. Each station allows for a bike to be held in place with an assortment of tools securely attached. We hope this will encourage people to ride their bikes more frequently knowing that if something goes wrong, there are areas provided to make repairs and get them on their way.

The Sam Morgan Regional Trail has three stations. Two are adjacent to the information kiosks at the Ford Dam overlook and the Elway entrance to Crosby Farm Regional Park. The third is located near downtown at Lower Landing Park. The Bruce Vento Regional Trail unit is located at the Southeast corner of Johnson Parkway and East Shore Drive. We encourage you to ride the trails that connect to our beautiful parks.


Parks after Dark Series Kicks Off this Fall

Get out your flashlight and lace up your boots! This fall, a new program series engages the public in wildlife monitoring in parks under cover of darkness.

Join us as we attract nocturnal insects using a black light at Crosby Farm Regional Park on Friday, September 12, 9:00-11:00 pm with the help of entomologist Alex Egan. Then on Tuesday, October 28, 7:00-8:30pm, find out about your urban owl neighbors by dissecting an owl pellet and venturing out to call owls in Como Regional Park. Future Parks after Dark programs will focus on bats, mammals, and frogs and toads. We are grateful to REI and the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment for their generous support of our wildlife survey and educational outreach efforts


Landmark Tree Program Nominations Now Open

The Landmark Tree Program was established in 2010 to document the remarkable trees found growing throughout the neighborhoods and parks of Saint Paul.

Since the program's inception, 29 trees representing 22 tree species have been selected with two trees currently listed as state champions. Nominations for the 2014 Landmark Tree Program are now being accepted through November 1, 2014.

The Saint Paul Tree Advisory Panel will review the nominations and the selected trees will be announced at the Blooming Saint Paul Awards in January 2015.

For more information or a nomination form, visit www.stpaul.gov/forestry or contact the Forestry office at 651.632.5129.


RightTrack Team 2014 Worked Hard to Beautify City

With 12 youth and two supervisors, the Blooming Saint Paul Right Track team took on the responsibility to beautify the city's public spaces through garden maintenance.

The team carried out this responsibility with a variety of services, including weeding, planting, and mulching. Not only did the Blooming St. Paul Right Track team maintain Saint Paul's status as a beautiful city, but also learned the inner workings of a job.

The purpose of the Right Track program is to get youth on the right track to a career. Supervisors Kyle and Ryan guided the youth through their first job and helped them understand the importance of timeliness, communication, and work ethic.

Further, the youth of Blooming Saint Paul Right Track had biweekly education sessions on horticulture. In these sessions, the youth learned about plant anatomy, general ecology, strategies to maintain gardens, and the varieties of plants native to Minnesota (especially weeds).

The program lasted for 10 weeks. Throughout those weeks, a group of strangers found common interests and developed relationships to facilitate a group dynamic that paralleled the atmosphere of a summer camp. The team crossed cultural, ethnic, and social barriers in order to complete the demands of the job. Bringing youth together and providing a positive experience provided the most beauty to the city, even more than the gardens themselves.


Flying Squirrel was Guest of Honor at Mammal Survey

Did you know that flying squirrels are actually quite common in the Twin Cities? We rarely see them because they are a truly nocturnal animal and thus are quite elusive. We lucked out when we caught one during our AweSnap! mammal survey at Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary last month.

Over 30 photographers learned wildlife photography tips from volunteers Gordon Dietzman and Debbie Koenigs, while helping collect mammal traps for the survey. Volunteer mammologist Carmen Martin taught participants about mammal life and behavior while collecting data from 90 traps over four days.

We'll be continuing these efforts as Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary is transformed from a brownfield to a restored natural area in the coming years, thanks to a grant from REI. We also want to thank all the volunteers who helped set traps each night as well as the photographers who contributed to our mission in Project Noah.

Our favorite feature of this furry friend was a toss-up between its large bulging eyes, and its patagia--the flap of skin that connects the wrists and ankles.


Celebrate National Public Lands Day

Come celebrate the 21st annual National Public Lands Day with Saint Paul Natural Resource on Saturday, September 27th at Hidden Falls Regional Park from 9-11:30 am. You will be able to volunteer, learn more about Saint Paul's public lands and sip some hot chocolate as we ring in a new season.

Last year 175,000 volunteers and park visitors celebrated at 2,237 public land sites in all 50 states. This volunteer event will include:

Planting trees, shrubs and acorns
Fun birding activities
Hot cocoa
Enter through the North Gate/Prior Avenue Entrance at the intersection of Prior Avenue and Mississippi River Boulevard.

Register online at bit.ly/NPLD2014

Sept. My Minnesota Woods

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You can see the September Update here.

Sept Project BudBurst Community Newsletter

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Fall into Phenology with Project BudBurst

Like many of you, I love this time of year as the seasons change. There is so much to observe as plants are in various stages of leafing, flowering, and fruiting. Deciduous trees and shrubs get center stage as they dramatically start to change colors. Late summer flowers are still showing off. Many plants are in various stages of fruiting. Yes, the days are getting shorter, but happily, it only takes a few minutes to make a Project BudBurst observation! We look forward to getting your reports.

--Sandra Henderson, Director

Can you sense the change
As fall makes its presence known
To plants you observe?


Register Now for Fall Professional Development Courses

Registration is open for 2014 fall online professional development courses. Space is limited, so act now! Fall courses begin on October 7th. Learn how to engage your classes and visitors in our seasonal campaign, Fall Into Phenology, or prep your lesson or outreach plans to include Project BudBurst. If you are looking for an opportunity to teach science via authentic research, now is the time to sign up.

All courses are geared towards K-12 Formal Educators and Informal Educators. Optional graduate level continuing education credits are available. Register at www.citizenscienceacademy.org Questions? Email: CSAregistrar@neoninc.org

Join the 4th Annual Fall into Phenology Campaign
Fall into PhenologyCelebrate the beginning of fall with Project BudBurst's 4th Annual Fall Into Phenology campaign. Fall is a great time to check out leaves changing color and falling, fruits ripening, and flowers blooming. In New England, leaf peepers are enjoying colorful changes on red maples; aspens in the Rockies turn gold before shedding their leaves; and wildflowers such as Common yarrow and California poppy are in full bloom.

Grab a Single Report form and tell us what the plants around you are doing this fall. Together, we can learn more about how plants respond to changes in their environment. For more information, visit Fall Into Phenology


Project BudBurst at the Jason Learning Conference

Teachers and JASON trainers making Project BudBurst observations of a Sweetgum
Earlier in the summer, science teachers from around the country attended a JASON Learning conference, and in the process were introduced to Project BudBurst. As part of their commitment to citizen science, JASON Learning invited the Project BudBurst team to provide workshops for conference attendees. Teachers headed outside to practice Project BudBurst protocols on the beautiful George Washington University-Ashburn, VA campus. They discussed the merits of the relatively simple protocols and the power that participatory learning has in fostering authentic science inquiry. We look forward to observations from JASON students and teachers!


Caleb Shaw, Summer Intern, Presents his Research

After completing his summer internship in Colorado, Caleb ventured California to present at a Joint Summer Internship Program Final Poster Session. Interns from national science labs and research programs around the country presented their research as part of the STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Program. Here are a few words from Caleb:

"Hi, I am Caleb Shaw, an environmental educator and future classroom teacher. I spent this summer as an intern investigating Project BudBurst data. I compared historical lilac phenology data with recent BudBurst lilac observations and found earlier first flower and first leaf dates suggesting that climate change is having an effect on the timing of these phenophases. The full data sets were not statistically comparable which opens the door for further investigation. This has shown the potential value of the BudBurst data and the data set will become stronger with more observations over time."


The Many Faces of Project BudBurst

Project BudBurst would not exist without the enthusiasm and dedication of the thousands of participants and supporters. Below are just a few folks we'd like to recognize this month:

Joy S.
Angela W.
Ken L.
Ruth A.
Grant P.
JASON Learning Team

Sept. Headwaters Science Center News

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Click here for the September issue of Monthly News from Headwaters Science Center.

Sept Mississippi Messages

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Calendar of Events
NATIVE WETLAND & GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE PLANTING

Thursday, September 11 --- 6-8 p.m.
Crosby Farm Regional Park, St. Paul

Help install native plants along and atop a large-scale native-prairie berm previously planted by FMR volunteers. This green infrastructure will help prevent erosion, provide wildlife and insect habitat, and filter stormwater runoff pollution before it can reach the river.

Capacity is limited and registration required. Children are welcome with a parent or guardian. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


2014 CLEAN WATER SUMMIT: GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE FOR CLEAN WATER

Thursday, September 11 --- 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen

Using green infrastructure to manage runoff in the urban landscape provides multiple benefits to our communities, yet this practice isn't the norm. The 2014 Clean Water Summit will focus on both the costs and benefits of green infrastructure, including economic, social and ecological factors.

Learn more and sign up ($60-$70, including lunch and Arboretum admission) with event organizer the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Read more »


EXPLORE WETLAND ECOLOGY IN TUNNEL VALLEY

Thursday, September 18 --- 6-7:30 p.m.
Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Cottage Grove

Join Friends of the Mississippi River ecologist Karen Schik and Washington Conservation District's Angie Hong as we explore Ravine Lake and the wetlands surrounding it. You'll learn about the plant life in and around the wetlands --- aquatic, amphibious, and terrestrial --- and the important role these plants play in the health of our waters. Then we'll use dip nets to capture macroinvertebrates living in the marsh, spoon them up for a closer look, and see what these tiny creatures reveal about local water pollution.

Children are welcome with a parent or guardian. This event is free but capacity is limited and registration required. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


ST. PAUL OPEN STREETS 'WATER FESTIVAL'

Sunday, September 21 --- noon-4 p.m.
University Avenue, Central Corridor, St. Paul

St. Paul Open Streets encourages residents to get out and see our community up-close in a safe, car-free environment. This year's event also includes a Water Festival, focused on making the connection between our local streets and the health of our local waters. Join FMR's Kate Clayton to learn about the 450 miles of storm drains that run below the streets of St. Paul, what flows through them, and where all this stormwater --- and the pollution that comes with it --- really goes. Participants can also help educate others and reduce water pollution by joining Kate to stencil storm drains in the surrounding neighborhoods. Learn more on the event page.

Read more »


'MAKE AND TAKE' RAIN BARREL WORKSHOP

Thursday, September 25 --- 6-7:30 p.m.
Lakeville Area Arts Center, Lakeville

Every time there's a heavy rain, rainwater has washed over your roof, your yard and pavement --- carrying bits of roof shingles, pet waste, fertilizer, pesticides, motor oil and dirt into the nearest storm drain. All of this pollution goes right into our local creeks, lakes and the Vermillion and Mississippi Rivers --- unfiltered, untreated! Rain barrels help reduce this runoff pollution, and offer many other benefits as well. Learn more, sign up and purchase your barrel and supplies ($30) via the event page.

Read more »


REMNANT BLUFF PRAIRIE RESTORATION

Saturday, September 27 --- 9-11 a.m.
River Oaks Park, Cottage Grove

Just southeast of River Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove lies a riverfront bluff with stunning views and a special remnant bedrock bluff prairie. Roughly 30 years ago this remnant prairie was renown as a very high quality area with excellent biodiversity. Over the years, however, it has steadily declined, and is now at risk of slowly being taken over by non-native species.

Recently, FMR began working with the City of Cottage Grove to preserve and restore this important site. Now volunteers are needed to join FMR Ecologist Joe Walton at our first restoration event at River Oaks Park. Volunteers will primarily haul pre-cut buckthorn, helping to open the canopy and making way for more beneficial native prairie and savanna plants to return.

Capacity is limited and registration required. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


FMR 2014 'EVENING CELEBRATING THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER' FUNDRAISER

Wednesday, October 1 (RSVP by W, Sept. 17)
Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis

FMR will host the 13th annual Evening Celebrating the Mississippi River at the stunning Weisman Art Museum on the Mississippi! The evening will feature storyteller Kevin Kling, guitarist Phil Heywood, a fantastic river-oriented live auction, great food and beverages, and more. RSVP required by September 17th. Please contact John at jbriel@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x19.

Read more »


OAK SAVANNA BUCKTHORN HAUL

Saturday, October 4 --- 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Near 36th & West River Pkwy., Mississippi River Gorge, Minneapolis

Volunteers will work closely with FMR staff to remove buckthorn and other invading trees and shrubs or to haul brush to its pick-up spot. Tools and gloves will be provided. However, be prepared to work on steep slopes and uneven terrain. Due to the tools and terrain, this event is not suitable for small children.

Capacity is limited and registration required. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


SEED COLLECTION IN THE SAND COULEE/RARE PRAIRIE

Saturday, October 11 --- 9 a.m.-noon
Sand Coulee Scientific and Natural Area, Hastings

After a brief training, volunteers will help collect much-needed native prairie seed while enjoying this rare example of a sand-gravel prairie in full fall bloom. Volunteers will work with FMR Senior Ecologist Karen Schik and Assistant Stewardship Coordinator Kate Clayton in the natural area most recently added to the Sand Coulee Scientific and Natural Area. Seed will be used for further habitat restoration. Large quantities --- of volunteers and seed alike --- are needed!

Capacity is limited and registration required. Learn more about this Vermillion Stewards event on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


BUST BUCKTHORN IN 'TUNNEL VALLEY'

Saturday, October 18 --- 9 a.m.-noon
Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Cottage Grove

Centered around one of the most impressive landscape features in southern Washington County, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park totals nearly 600 acres. The ravine for which it is named is approximately a half-mile wide with 80- to 100-foot slopes, and bisects the park north to south before ending in a small lake. Known as a "tunnel valley," the ravine was carved by a subglacial drainageway that carried large volumes of water, eroding the valley.

Volunteers will work with FMR Senior Ecologist Karen Schik to continue and expand the restoration of this beautiful park by hauling cut brush, primarily buckthorn. (There may also be some brush-cutting for volunteers comfortable working with handsaws or loppers.) This will help open the canopy, making way for native plants beneficial to local wildlife and waters to return.

Capacity is limited and registration required. Learn more on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


MAKE YOUR HOME RIVER-FRIENDLY

Wednesday, October 22 --- 6-7 p.m.
Dakota County Western Service Center (next to Galaxie Library), Apple Valley

Join FMR Stewardship Coordinator Adam Flett to learn about practices and small projects you can take on inside your home --- be it a mansion or a small apartment --- to significantly improve your water footprint. We'll quickly cover the basics, touching on both well-known lessons and lesser-known tools to help you figure out the most effective steps to take to make your home river-friendly.

Topics include the biggest water users in your house or apartment (both direct and indirect usage), where to take leftover prescription drugs, alternatives to household products containing triclosan and other river polluters.

Capacity is limited and registration required. Learn more about this free Vermillion Stewards event on the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

Read more »


RESTORE HABITAT AT PINE BEND BLUFFS (SIGN-UP CLOSES M, OCT. 20)

Saturday, October 25 --- 9 a.m.-noon (Sign-up closes M, Oct. 20)
Pine Bend Bluffs near Highway 52, Flint Hills property, Rosemount

After a light breakfast and hot coffee, enjoy a nice fall workout removing pre-cut invasive buckthorn at this annual event in beautiful Pine Bend Bluffs. At the end, we'll enjoy a hot lunch (in a heated tent) to say thank you and celebrate a day's good work.

Learn more via the event page, or sign up now with Amy at akilgore@fmr.org or 651-222-2193 x31.

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.

St. Paul Parks and Recreation

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Environmental Volunteers
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Welcome to the updated Environmental Volunteers newsletter. This is a semi-regular newsletter that is published upon need. We will send out newsletters regularly during the growing season (Apr-Oct).

Please also keep an eye out for our new Saint Paul Natural Resources quarterly newsletter. The inaugural issue will be published within the next week.

Saint Paul Natural Resources is a section of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation that consists of the following units: Arts & Gardens, Environmental Education, Environmental Services, Forestry and Volunteer Resources.

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NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

Sat, Sept 27 | 9-11:30 a.m. | Hidden Falls Regional Park (South Gate/Prior Entrance)

Celebrate the 21st annual National Public Lands Day in Saint Paul by planting trees, shrubs and acorns; learning about our migrating birds; and sipping some hot cocoa in the company of new friends.

Register: http://bit.ly/NPLD2014

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

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GOT ACORNS?
First two weeks of Sept. | Saint Paul parks or your own backyard

We are collecting acorns to plant in our parks this fall (including at National Public Lands Day - see above!) This is a great opportunity to volunteer on your own time. Here's what you need to know:

Collect acorns from a Saint Paul park or your backyard. Separate out sticks and leaves and any other non-acorns. Do not include broken ones. Store in paper bags or buckets. Store bags in fridge or another cool, dry place, like a basement or garage. Best to get them to us as soon as possible (before the weevils get out)!

Deliver acorns in paper bags, Attn: Shannon Montante, to the Park Permit Office at 1100 Hamline Ave N, St Paul, 55108, between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

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SPECIAL EVENT INTERNS

Spring Semester, Jan-May

Saint Paul Natural Resources will be hiring two Special Event Interns during the Spring Semester to help coordinate, plan and implement special events including the Blooming Saint Paul Awards, the Citywide Spring Cleanup and the annual Arbor Month Celebration. These interns will gain experience in marketing, advertising and event organization, as well as opportunities to work closely with our internal and external partners and sponsors. Interested? Email Ryanna.Jackson@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

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VOLUNTEER FOR A SPOOKTACULAR EVENT IN COMO PARK!
October 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 | Weekend Evenings

ZooBoo is a fall fund raiser for Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. This is a non-scary Halloween event for families. This magical occasion offers families a safe trick-or-treating alternative with Halloween activities. Hop into a Como costume, bring your own non-scary costume or assist in a non-costumed position! A pre-event orientation for learning more and reserving a costume is offered in early October. More information and registration online here.

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CARING FOR COTTONWOODS
Join our partners Mississippi River Fund...

Every Thursday through Oct | 9 a.m.-noon | Lilydale Regional Park - meet at the boat launch parking lot

Looking for a way to be part of the cottonwood restoration experiment? Meet us at Lilydale to care for the young trees and ensure they are growing to be healthy and strong. Shifts subject to cancellation if the trees are getting enough rainfall. Contact Maria at mdelaundreau@missriverfund.org to help out!

Visit our website to find more information about our ongoing volunteer opportunities and how to set up a GIVE (Group Impact Volunteer Event).

Sept BEN Bulletin

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BEN Bulletin (Bird Education Network)

Kids: The Binocular Trap
by Paul J. Baicich

Why is it that when you share binoculars with an adult, perhaps a beginning bird watcher, you make sure that you share a solid, quality, even impressive, pair of binoculars, but when you go afield with a child, say, between 8 and 12 years of age, almost any piece of optics will do?

Worse yet, why is it that inexpensive and light "compact binoculars" are almost always ascribed to kid use?

It's a big mistake.

Too often, the very people whom many bird educators value the most, youngsters, are left with the worst in introductory binoculars. Nothing will discourage continued bird-watching activity and learning in the field more than an initial experience with binoculars that are, essentially, junk. It's just no fun.

Of course, there are important optics features that do need attention when dealing with youngsters. These may include the ability for the young folks to get their hands around the binoculars, access the focusing knob, and adjust the interpupillary distance (to match the closeness of the eyes among the youngest kids in the group). What's more, finding the bird in the tree or bush is difficult enough for beginning birders - of any age - without having to deal with a narrow field of view or a high magnification that may have the image almost bouncing around.

Try a lower power - between 6X and8X - and definitely stick to a wide field of view.

Of course, some training and help - from a parent or other adult - is essential. Learning to bring the binoculars to your face, while constantly watching the bird, needs practice. (Focusing on a far-off sign - and reading simple text - is a fine way to learn locating the object and focusing properly.) While practice makes perfect, that practice can be squandered if the binoculars are unserviceable.

We have probably all seen a box of binoculars distributed among kids in a group, binoculars that are small, light, flimsy, very low power, narrow field of view, and really unacceptable

The options for binoculars appropriate for youngsters are many today. It's not like the limitations of a decade or two ago. In fact, we live in an era when relatively good quality binoculars can be secured for around $100 or even less. Some of these are porro-prism binoculars that can be outstanding. There are so many options, that recommending a particular brand would be inappropriate or misleading here. Still, you might look around the website for Eagle Optics to review the many, many brands and sorts of models that are available. A final point to be aware of is warranty. Some manufacturers will offer a unconditional warranty, a relief when binoculars get dropped, slammed against a tree, or run over with a lawn mower.

Don't sell the kids short. They usually arrive in the field eager to learn something new. Don't make it more difficult for them at the very outset. Make it fun.

[Ben Lizdas, Tom Rusert, and Dave Watkins provided advice for this article]


Book Review: Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard
by Dave Magpiong

Many birders have thoroughly stocked shelves of books. Field guides, bird-finding guides, life histories of birds, and birding memoirs are some of the common variations. Through the decades, there have been several volumes addressing "how to be a birder" from the likes of Peterson, Kaufman, Sibley, Dunne, and others. Perhaps it's time to add Annette Leblanc Cate to that esteemed list.

Her Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard captures many of the basics of becoming a birder and delivers the message in a kid-friendly package. Her cartoonish illustrations and humorous style will draw in and entertain younger readers. Yet, she provides many insights that will provide youth with the foundation to get started down the path to birding. Her light-hearted approach to birding is balanced out with the help of "technical assistance" long-time Massachusetts birder Jim Barton.

This is not a book that will teach young birders how to identify Empidomax flycatchers or distinguish between fall warblers. Rather, it will whet the appetite of kids who never considered bird watching to be an option for them. Cate gives her a readers a glimpse of the beautiful diversity of North American birds. She outlines general skills for learning birds - using shape, bill, feet, sound, habitat, and range. A nice resource is the "Bird-Watching Do's . . . and Don't's!" which touches on the ethics of birding. Quite importantly, she debunks the notion of "there aren't any birds where I live" by pointing out that birds can be found anywhere, including the suburbs and cities.

While some experienced birders may be bothered by the anthropomorphic birds and cartoonish feel, Look Up! achieves its goal of making birding both more appealing and more accessible to the bird conservationists of tomorrow. The book's humorous moments and laid-back presentation may also pull in the parents of its young readers - and they can impact conservation in many ways today.


California Fall Birding Challenge is Here!

The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory is dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats through science and outreach. Founded in 1981, the Bird Observatory has produced over 30 years of scientific information on local bird populations, working with both government agencies and partner organizations.

The18th Annual California Fall Challenge (CFC) is SFBBO's biggest fundraising campaign of the year, a month of trips, contests, and events to raise money for their science and outreach programs. Join them for guided trips, bird-a-thons, band-a-thons as well as photo and youth art contests through October 18.


Choosing an IMBD habitat theme for 2015

The artist, Amelia Hansen, will be working on the 2015 International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)theme, "Habitat Restoration". In the process, bird educators have been asked for their input.

You can give your opinion and rank you choices on habitats, slogans, and accompanying materials. Make your opinions known in this IMBD Survey from Environment for the Americas.


BEN: Connecting Bird Educators TM
CEE logo CC good resolutionFor more information visit:
www.birdeducation.org

Friends of Sax-Zim Box Results & Photos of BioBlitz II

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Amazing Biodiversity in the Bog Revealed
Forty-some participants and leaders turned up nearly 300 SPECIES (!) on our second annual BioBlitz on August 2nd, 2014. A beautiful day greeted folks as they met at our new Welcome Center. We divided into groups and hit the bog! Experts in the fields of birds, spiders, fungi, wildflowers, butterflies and dragonflies scoured far flung parts of the Bog. All met back at noon to share their findings and discoveries. Amazingly, we turned up several new species for the Bog and even ONE NEW MINNESOTA RECORD!-- a spider species found by Chad Heins.

See the COMPLETE LIST OF SPECIES we recorded here

10th Anniversary of Birds of North America Online

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Ithaca, N.Y.--Ten years have gone by since the Birds of North America went online, transforming an 18-volume, 18,000-page library reference into a dynamic, constantly updated, multimedia-enriched resource accessible to everyone. Researchers, wildlife professionals, conservationists, teachers and bird watchers use BNA Online for definitive life history information and the latest science on more than 700 bird species that breed in the United States (including Hawaii) and Canada.

"One of the key advantages of BNA Online is that it grows and changes as needed," said editor Alan Poole. "Dozens of species accounts are updated each year. You just can't stay that up-to-date in print."

BNA Online was launched by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in September 2004 and has been growing ever since. During the past year, more than 230,000 unique visitors came to the site from 190 countries. There are currently more than 375 libraries, government agencies, and conservation related organizations subscribed.

Accounts are typically written by recognized experts on the species. Aside from information on identification, habitat, distribution, breeding, and behavior, each account includes sound, images, maps, video, and a bibliography for additional reference.

New features coming to BNA Online include:

Year-round range map for Northern Mockingbird.
Expanded range maps with migratory routes and population distributions

Links to real-time bird data using the eBird online checklist program showing species ranges throughout the year

Improved display of photos and videos
Subscribers can sign up for a year or more of access or pay as little as $5.00 to gain access for a month--great for researching school papers or for learning about a new species you've just seen. A year's subscription to BNA Online is $42.00. Cornell Lab members receive a discount.

To learn more about BNA Online and to subscribe either as an institution or as an individual, visit www.birds.cornell.edu/bna.

Media Contact:
Pat Leonard, Cornell Lab, (607) 243-2137, pel27@cornell.edu

Sept. SEEK Bulletin

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The September issue of the SEEK Bulletin can be found here

Sept-Dec Maplewood Parks & Rec Brochure

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Wellness, Arts, & Fun for Everyone!

Check out the Fall edition of the brochure listing upcoming events here.

Summer From Shore to Shore Newsletter

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From Shore to Shore Newsletter

Greetings Shoreland and Water Quality Steward!

The Summer issue of the "From Shore to Shore" newsletter is now posted on the website for you to view and/or download. To access it, please go to: http://shorelandmanagement.org/shore_shore/

This issue includes the following articles:
Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS) and Low Impact Development (LID)
Why Does a Lake Become Green and Stinky?
What's It? Slimy Blob!
Snapshots: Water Resources Team Programming & Research - Recent Past & Upcoming Opportunities
Please feel free to share the newsletter with others; reproduce articles for other newsletters (please credit "From Shore to Shore" as the source); and submit shoreland and water quality articles, pictures of projects, upcoming local events, and suggestions for topics for upcoming issues. Your input and feedback are always welcome!

If you have difficulty accessing the website, please let me know. Also, please notify Heidi Olson-Manska, olsonh@umn.edu, if your email address changes. If you wish to unsubscribe to this newsletter, please send an email to olsonh@umn.edu with "Unsubscribe to From Shore to Shore" in the subject line.

Karen Terry, Extension Educator-Water Resource Team
University of Minnesota Extension
Regional Office, Morris
WC Research/Outreach Ctr.
46352 State Highway 329
Morris, MN 56267

Voice: 320-589-1711
Fax: 320-589-4870
Email: kterry@umn.edu
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How's the Water?

Minnesota's water has come a long way from the days when raw sewage flowed untreated into rivers as a matter of course. However, there is still a lot of work to be done if we are going to restore the impaired lakes, rivers, and streams in the state.

Read more at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/water/hows-the-water/hows-the-water.html


Should Minnesotans Water Their Yards Less?

Residential water use varies widely in the Twin Cities. Andover, an Anoka County suburb of 30,000, is the biggest per capita user, according to an MPR News analysis of data the DNR collects from cities.

Read more at: http://blogs.mprnews.org/todays-question/2014/07/should-minnesotans-water-their-yards-less/


Beneath The Surface - Minnesota's Pending Groundwater Challenge

Even in the land of 10,000 lakes, water is no longer unlimited. Lakes shrink, groundwater drops, wells go dry or get contaminated. Some cities have to look harder for good municipal water or pay more to treat it.

Learn more at: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/projects/2014/01/ground-level-beneath-the-surface/


USDA Giving Up To $50M for Red River Conservation

The federal Agriculture Department is providing up to $50 million over the next five years for conservation funding in the Red River Basin in the Upper Midwest.

Learn more at: http://kstp.com/article/stories/S3493131.shtml?cat=12196


Stepping into the Future: Technology Makes a Differenc for the Faribault SWCD

Inspecting drainage systems? There's an app for that.

Read more at: http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/news/webnews/july2014/3.pdf

Homes, Mills Feel Rising Waters in Northern Minnesota

Torrential weekend rains over the Rainy River basin are causing record setting floods along Minnesota's border with Canada.

Read more at: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/06/16/flooding-northwest-minnesota


Roadsides for Wildlife

Although these ribbons of green make up only a small fraction of our land area, researchers have found them to be highly productive nesting sites.

Read more at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/roadsidesforwildlife/index.html


Midwest Rural Migration Network & Resources

Notes and proceedings from the 2014 Symposium on Small Towns.

Read more at: https://sites.google.com/a/morris.umn.edu/midwest-rural-migration/symposium-proceedings


11 Ways to Use Less Water on Your Lawn

Many Twin Cities homeowners see their water bills spike each summer as they start watering their lawns. Here are some tips - from modest changes to the extreme - that could help you use less water this summer.

Read more at: http://blogs.mprnews.org/ground-level/2014/07/11-ways-to-use-less-water-on-your-lawn/


Draft/public noticed TMDLs

Draft TMDLs go through an extensive technical review and public notice process before the MPCA submits them to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for final approval. Public comments on draft TMDL reports are typically accepted for 30 days (see schedules for specific reports below). If there are substantial changes made to the draft as a result of public comment, it will be re-public noticed. Otherwise, the TMDL is submitted to EPA for final approval a minimum of 30 days following the conclusion of the public notice period. Some TMDLs receive significant public comments which may require several weeks for response preparation. In addition, the EPA typically completes its review of the final draft within 30-days of receiving it from the MPCA, but some studies may require additional time.
Crow Wing Watershed TMDLs: Multiple Impairments (Metro)
Public Notice open for comment July 14, 2014 - August 12, 2014
http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/water/water-types-and-programs/minnesotas-impaired-waters-and-tmdls/tmdl-projects/upper-mississippi-river-basin-tmdl/project-crow-wing-watershed-tmdls.html

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Events Calendar


NEMO St. Croix Workshop-on-the-Water Program
Date: July 29
Location: Hudson, WI
Contact: John Bilotta, bilot002@umn.edu
Phone: 651-480-7708

Stormwater U: Stormwater Practices Maintenance & Certification
Date: July 30-31
Location: Blaine, MN
Contact: Shane Missaghi, miss0035@umn.edu, 651-480-7759

2014 Clean Water Summit - Green
Infrastructure for Clean Water: Costs &
Benefits to Our Communities
Date: September 11
Location: Chaska, MN

NEMO West Metro - Lessons Across the
Landscape Workshop
Date: September 25
Location: TBD
Contact: John Bilotta, 651-480-7708,
bilot002@umn.edu

Water Resources Conference
Date: October 14-15
Location: St. Paul, MN
Contact: U of MN Water Resources
Center, 612-624-9282, umwrc@umn.edu


For the most current calendar items and more details, visit http://www1.extension.umn.edu/environment/water/

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