The July photo was taken from a beautiful site in southern Washington County. The Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area is one of the largest intact native prairies in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area with impressive plant diversity, including some rare and unusual species. Warren Stortroen, a longtime FMR volunteer, included highlights of some of his favorite plants in his response:
"This looks like a view of the Mississippi from the upper dune at Grey Cloud Dunes SNA in Cottage Grove. This is sand prairie with a very special array of native prairie forbs and grasses that provide enjoyable viewing from spring through fall. This starts with bird's-foot violets, prairie smoke and blue-eyed grass in May, then large-flowered and slender penstemon, puccoon, spiderwort, coreopsis, partridge pea, lead plant, silky prairie clover, canada tick trefoil, flowering spurge, prairie ragwort, and others such as silky aster, golden aster and azure aster through the fall. Grasses include big and little bluestem, porcupine grass, side-oats gramma and others. Other plants include skeleton weed, spotted mint and many that I don't remember at the moment!"
FMR Ecologists have been assisting the DNR with developing a natural resource management plan for the 237-acre site and engaging volunteers in ongoing restoration efforts.
About “Whose view? From where?”
Each month in this section, we feature a photo somewhere along the river corridor in the Twin Cities that is in some way significant or important or just plain scenic. Individuals may then email us and identify the view and explain why they believe it is significant to the community or important to them personally. We'll publish some of your responses in the next issue of Mississippi Messages, where we will also reveal the correct answer.