When people think about phenology, the study of natural phenomena and cycles, they usually look up. We tend to focus on events like bud break, bird migration, leaf fall, etc. But what about the changes going on beneath our feet? Looking down once in a while may help you familiarize yourself with the buzz of activity underfoot, including the effects of one particularly damaging invasive species: earthworms.
A field assistant prepares to collect a nightcrawler for analysis as part of an earthworm sampling project in Minnesota forests. Photo: Alex Roth
New land-use and development rules will better protect the Twin Cities stretch of the Mississippi River, our local national park.
During the final phase of developing updated rules for the Mississippi River Critical Area, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommended a number of positive changes in response to comments from FMR staff and advocates.
St. Paul Park refinery employees and community volunteers installed over 300 native plants at Prairie Park with FMR this summer. The planting was designed to especially benefit pollinators and serve as a demonstration prairie for homeowners interested in providing backyard habitat. Left to right: Eric Folsom, Todd Bjorgo, Dean Stockwell, Ben Joppa (FMR intern), Corb Hopkins, Kathy Schik. (Not pictured: Tom Bell.)
Two phrases not often used together are “prairie planting” and “oil refinery,” but many years ago employees at the St. Paul Park Refinery noticed a small patch of native prairie on company property and they've been taking care of it ever since. Recently, they worked with FMR to expand the natural area and also install a demonstration garden, hoping to inspire even more native plantings for pollinators.
This photo and its special meaning for FMR were correctly identified last month. Have you figured it out yet?
The blazing white flowers of the arrowhead plant (Sagittaria latifolia) seem to light up the shoreland areas where they grow.
July and August are the most flowerful months in our native prairies and wetlands. Enjoy a few of the beauties FMR ecologists have recently come across in their field work.
Never unederestimate the power of a pollinator patch!
What can a small planting of milkweed and other natives really do for pollinators? More than you might think.
Hastings Environmental Protectors and FMR teamed up to create three new pollinator patches, helping to provide much-needed habitat for a variety of insect and pollinating species in the Vermillion and Mississippi river watersheds.
A trio of endangered species recently found at FMR conservation and restoration sites. Left to right: Loggerhead shrike, Blanchard's cricket frog and Henslow's sparrow. Photos by Terry Ross, Greg Schecter and Scott Krych.
Plant and animal populations decline for many reasons — habitat loss, climate change, pollution and other factors. The Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973 to prevent the decline and extinction of at-risk species and aid their recovery. At FMR, one of the ways we can best benefit endangered species is through the enhancement or restoration of native habitat. FMR’s many restoration sites do just that, providing much-needed habitat for both common and endangered plants and animals.
While the Endangered Species Act has benefitted countless species, we’d like to think our restorations have as well. We've spotted three endangered species — loggerhead shrike, Blanchard's cricket frog and Henslow's sparrow — at our sites so far this year!
Congratulations to the City of Elk River for earning the Blue Star Award for Excellence in Stormwater Management!
If approved, new land-use and development rules will better protect our local national park, the Twin Cities stretch of the Mississippi River from Dayton to Hastings. (Pictured above, the view from Pine Bend Scientific & Natural Area in Inver Grove Heights.)
At long last, state land-use and development rules for our local national park, the Twin Cities stretch of the Mississippi River from Dayton to Hastings, have cleared another hurdle and are on track to be formally adopted by years’ end! All told, over 300 pages of comments were submitted to the judge in charge of the final review of the new riverfront rules. Thanks to all the groups and individuals, including FMR River Protectors, who testified and submitted written comments. Your input will help to ensure the river is protected for generations to come!