About Us


Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes is a national nonprofit organization that informs and teaches people how to use native plants in their landscapes.

Big River Big Woods is a chapter of Wild Ones. Our membership primarily comes from St. Paul and surrounding communities in Minnesota.

Wild Ones distinguishes itself from other garden organizations by encouraging gardening with native plants and moving away from the use of chemicals, watering, excessive mowing and other practices commonly used by traditional gardeners.

What we do

Our chapter holds free monthly meetings during winter, spring, and autumn, and free garden tours in the warmer months.

We sponsor three volunteer service projects and have many volunteer opportunities throughout the year.  Visit the Volunteer Questionnaire to learn about them.

See upcoming events.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors meets eight times a year.

  • President — Eva Ekola
  • The President is in charge of the business, provides leadership, and facilitates chapter affairs. This includes leading chapter meetings, leading board meetings, working with the board to identify topics and speakers for chapter meetings, representing the chapter in interactions with the national Wild Ones organization, promoting the mission and influence of Wild Ones within the community, and completing the annual State of the Chapter Report.
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  • Vice-President — Eric Vehe
  • The Vice-President assists the President as necessary and assumes the President’s duties when necessary. This includes having familiarity with all aspects of chapter functions, coordinating the implementation of Chapter goals, assisting in completion of the State of the Chapter Report, and supporting chapter activities.
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  • Secretary and Membership Chair — Liz Wendland
  • The Secretary maintains records of chapter business. This includes recording minutes of business meetings and distributing them to officers and attendees, preparing correspondence as needed, and maintaining a file of all minutes and chapter correspondence.

The Membership Chair maintains the membership records, provides a membership report regularly to the board, and encourages chapter growth with the assistance of all board members. This includes coordinating with the Treasurer on dues receipts, maintaining a current membership roster as well as a contact list for mailings sent to non-members, maintaining a member interest survey and report to board for planning purposes.

  • Treasurer — Steve Fester
  • The Treasurer is the principal financial officer of the chapter. This includes maintaining depository accounts of the chapter and making disbursements as required, preparing and maintaining accounting of all income and expenses, including the required annual year-end Chapter Financial Report, providing a treasurer’s report at all board and business meetings and working with the membership chair to collect membership dues and fees.
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  • Webmaster — Joe Crowe
  • The Webmaster coordinates and maintains the chapter Internet activities. This includes coordinating and maintaining the chapter web page, Facebook page, Instagram page and other social media, and seeking out events of interest for publication in social media.
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  • Service Projects Chair — Erica Tenbroke
  • The Service Projects chair coordinates volunteers, project leads, and partner organization staff to help establish or maintain native plantings in parks, public rights of way, and nature preserves. This includes working with the board to initiate projects, getting feeback from partner organizations, recruiting volunteers, and reporting to the board on project status.
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  • Plant Sale Chair — Cynthia Vehe
  • The Plant Sales Chair coordinates and implements the annual plant sale, the chapter’s only fundraising activity. This includes working with the board to identify a native plant vendor and to select specific native plants to sell, placing orders with the vendor, organizing volunteers to transport plants, coordinating plant donations, working with the board to develop print and online order forms, working with Treasurer to reimburse the vendor and to collect money at the sale.

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Join us

Wild Ones membership is only $40 per year and is 100% tax deductible. Join us!