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Alex Roth

Calling all cameras: Citizen science for the Twin Cities Coyote and Fox Research Project

Coyote in snow

A coyote hunts mice in a wintry field. The new Twin Cities Coyote and Fox Research Project seeks your canine sightings like this one. (Photo by Karen Schik for FMR.)

Coyotes and foxes are mostly secretive animals, but sightings of these species are becoming more and more common throughout the Twin Cities Metro Area. Now, a group of researchers and partner organizations (including FMR) are setting out to better understand how these critters use the urban environment, and maybe just dispel some myths along the way. You can help!  >>

February 11

First buckthorn wreath-making workshop a success

Two workshop participants display their buckthorn wreath creations.

Two workshop participants display their buckthorn wreath creations. (Photo by Shanai Matteson for Water Bar & Public Studio)

For some in the do-it-yourself crowd, wreath-making has become a fun way to create holiday decor. This past December, FMR and two local artists put a unique spin on this DIY theme, hosting an open studio wreath-making event with one big twist… we used invasive buckthorn.  >>

January 7

Restoring habitat on an urban island

FMR is beginning restoration and enhancement of the natural areas on the north half of Nicollet Island. Photo by MWMO.

FMR is beginning restoration and enhancement of the natural areas on the north half of Nicollet Island. Photo by MWMO.

After almost two years of planning, FMR is embarking on our Nicollet Island habitat restoration project designed to enhance wildlife habitat, control erosion and improve water quality.  >>

September 10

Goldenrod vs. ragweed: Which causes allergies and which benefits pollinators?

A field of showy golden flowers is a common site in late summer, but is goldenrod to blame for our allergies?

A field of showy golden flowers is a common site in late summer, but is goldenrod to blame for our allergies?

Each year, we get questions about whether goldenrod is contributing to our late-summer allergies. The short answer: Most likely not, it's actually ragweed that's to blame.

In fact, goldenrod plays a role in habitat restoration and is sometimes planted by FMR ecologists. >>

August 13

Special Places: Local prairie wonderlands

Blazing star with monarch at Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

The contrasting colors or purple blazing star and yellow goldenrod are eye-candy for both humans and bees.

A prairie for every season and (metro) location! We list a few of our favorite prairie sites from Elk River to Hastings, including both restored prairies and native remnants. Some of our favorite finds at each site are listed, and a good time to visit. >>

August 10

Wildlife returning to FMR restoration sites

Red-headed woodpecker, baby snapping turtle, chorus frog

If you restore habitat, will wildlife return? Signs — or rather, red-headed woodpeckers, snapping turtles and chorus frogs — point to yes. (Photos courtesy [clockwise] Mike Krivit, WikiMedia, and Tom Reiter.)

This spring, we kept a close eye on our habitat restoration projects to see if they're paying off for wildlife. If our sightings are any indication, we’re certainly on the right track!

Red-headed woodpeckers were spotted in one of our oak savanna restoration areas, tadpoles wriggled in just-created wetland basins, and turtles were quick (relatively) to take advantage of newly built nest protection sites. >>

June 11

Burn, baby, burn...but only when we say so!

An April prescribed burn rolls through a blufftop prairie at the Flint Hills Pind Bend Bluffs property.

A prescribed burn rolls through a blufftop prairie at the Flint Hills Pind Bend Bluffs restoration site. (Photo by Karen Schik.)

Spring has officially sprung, and with it comes those familiar signs of life: plants begin to green, flowers bloom, migrating birds return, and fires burn through the prairies at FMR restoration sites!

Learn more about how we use fire to restore wildlife habitat, and the impact of a recent unplanned fire on an FMR restoration site. >>

May 7

Cheers to Flannery & her award-winning earthworm research with FMR!

Flannery Enneking-Norton stands with her award-winning project at this month's Twin Cities Regional Science Fair.

Three cheers to Flannery Enneking-Norton and her first-place finish at the Twin Cities Regional Science Fair. Her project "Confirming the facilitative relationship between Lumbricidae and Rhamnus cathartica" also earned honors from the USDA and Minnesota Horticultural Society.

In 11th grade, Flannery Enneking-Norton went on a field trip with her class and FMR staff to Crosby Farm Regional Park in St. Paul. Their task? To identify and count certain plant and insect species, including invasive earthworms. As they wriggled from the ground, Enneking-Norton was smitten. 

Since then, the St. Paul Academy high-schooler has been working hard to help FMR better understand the relationship between earthworms and their fellow invasive species, European buckthorn, at our habitat restoration sites.

The result? An interesting finding regarding the worst worm invader of all — nightcrawlers — and a first-place win for Enneking-Norton in the Twin Cities Regional Science Fair! Not to mention awards from the US Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Horticultural Society. >>

March 12

From prairie to farm and back again

To celebrate our 25th year, each month in 2018 FMR staff will profile places along the metro Mississippi River that are near and dear to us, places that connect to FMR but that we also enjoy in our own downtime. By the end of our silver year, we'll have built a map of 25 special river places for you and yours to learn about, visit and enjoy.

First up: Houlton Conservation Area. Check out the backstory on this tale of transformation and mark your calendars to witness the return of a massive riverfront prairie! >>

January 8

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