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January 8, 2018

Friends of Scandia Activities in 2017

From Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails

In 2017, Friends of Scandia implemented a number of initiatives, including educational programs, supporting Scandia Parks, and participating in events. See below for a quick review.

Educational Programs

Our activities for 2017 were focused on three educational programs. Prairie Restorations Inc (PRI) partnered with us and hosted all the events at their meeting room. A very brief description of each talk is below, but the in-person talks were much better!

Jeff West of Prairie Restorations, Inc presented our first program, Prairie Restoration for Beginners on April 6. With a packed room, Jeff described the process for establishing native prairie on sites ranging in size from home garden plots to several acres. We hope to see a lot of people inspired to begin their own prairie! With less than 1% of Minnesota’s original prairie left, every bit counts.

On July 16, Heather Holmes presented The Fascinating World of Native Bees, which was indeed fascinating!! Native bees actually do much more pollination than honey bees, and are much more efficient. They are the reason for many of our food crops! And they have amazing behaviors and adaptations including making cellophane, laying eggs on “pollen bread” and so much more! Fortunately, Heather’s books are on sale at PRI so we don’t have to memorize it all.

In The Surprising Interrelationship Between Buckthorn & Earthworms, on Oct 12, Dr Alex Roth of Friends of the Mississippi River delivered an entertaining and very informative talk about the interdependence of these two non- native groups. Earthworms, none of which are native to Minnesota, actually benefit buckthorn by disturbing the soil, adding nutrients, and clearing away vegetation. Buckthorn, in turn, benefits earthworms by providing very high-nitrogen leaves. Alex also provided details on how to manage buckthorn on our own properties.

Scandia Parks

Wind in the Pines
On a very chilly October 29th, six Friends volunteers spent two hours working to remove common and glossy buckthorn and Tartarian honeysuckle from Wind in the Pines Park. Brush was cut with loppers and hand saws, then the stumps were treated with herbicide to prevent resprouting. We plan to be back next year to keep these invaders at bay. We have found that the best way to control buckthorn is to cut it and treat with herbicide in the fall.
Swenson Park
The 1.5-acre pollinator prairie was seeded at this park (Olgilvie and Oren) in fall 2016, so the first growing season was mostly an array of weeds punctuated by black-eyed Susan. Prairie Restorations kept it mowed as needed, allowing light to reach the native seedlings, most of which remain tiny the first year. The demonstration garden installed in 2016 was a lovely showcase in 2017. FSPT volunteers kept it weeded during the summer. We expect vibrant growth of the prairie in 2018.
Lilleskogen Park
Friends members gathered to pull weeds from the butterfly garden at Lilleskogen. Planted several years ago, the day and compacted soils have slowed the establishment of the plants, but gradually they are putting down roots. Friends volunteers continued to remove weeds throughout the summer and will install more plants in 2018.

Other Events

May Hike
Several Friends members enjoyed the beautiful features and wildflowers during a May hike atthe new Crystal Springs Scientific and Natural Area, led by Karen Schik.
Tour de Hugo
FSPT assisted Cycling Scandia with welcoming cyclists during the Tour de Hugo ride in August and the Chilkoot ride in September.

2018 Plans

  • Maintaining pollinator plantings in Scandia parks
  • Presentations in March, July and September on nature topics
  • Nature hike at a local park
  • Milkweed seed collection
  • Invasive shrub management at Wind in the Pines
  • Continue to enhance Scandia’s participation in the GreenStep Cities program
  • Develop an ‘adopt a planter’ program for downtown Scandia
  • Develop pollinator planting projects on other available city properties

Content contributed by: Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails

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