Feb. 10, 11: The Prairie Enthusiasts 2023 Conference

Hosted by our Minnesota Driftless Chapter, the 2023 conference, Reverence for the Land, will celebrate the role you play as a steward of soils, water, plants, animals, and other members of the land community. Walk-in registrations will be accepted, however, advanced registration is highly encouraged.

Heather Holm will be the keynote speaker on the 11th.

This conference will be held in person at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Welch, MN.  Register.


Pollinator Projects Approved in MN House Committee

The House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee on January 17 approved $80 million in spending on 85 projects across the state from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Pollinator-related projects are: Assessing Restorations for Rusty-Patched and Other Bumblebee Habitat, Developing Conservation Priorities for Rare and Specialist Bees, Minnesota Bee and Beneficial Species Habitat Enhancement II, Karner Blue Butterfly Insurance Population Establishment in Minnesota, Pollinator Central III: Habitat Improvement with Community Monitoring, Pollinator Enhancement and Mississippi River Shoreline Restoration, Pollinator Habitat Creation at Minnesota Closed Landfills. These projects will be funded for $3.8 million. Check the complete list to see all the projects, as there are many others that will benefit pollinators. This bill (HF172) has not yet been approved by the full House.

March 7-9: Best Practices for Pollinators Summit

Learn ecologically sound land stewardship practices that promote pollinators, climate resilience, clean waters and lands. Practical knowledge and innovation on pesticide reduction, habitat installation, fostering soil health, pollinator conservation and more.

This will be held online, but there is a charge.  For a complete list of speakers, which is quite impressive, and registration info, visit the summit’s page.

March 23: Lightning Talks and More – In Person

Our March meeting will include another round of Lightning Talks! We’re looking for several people to give 5 minute talks on something they are excited about and think would be interesting to our members. In the past, presentations have included a favorite native plant, a new project or wildlife in their yards, virtual tours of natural areas, or DIY gardening tips . 

This time we will meet in person at Autumn Grove Park, 1365 Lydia Avenue West, Roseville.  If you  would like to contribute snacks for this meeting, let us know in advance at contact@bigriverbigwoods.org.

This will be a hybrid meeting:  zoom link

MN House Committee Advances Lawns to Legumes Funding

The Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee approved a bill (HF207) that would appropriate $4 million from the general fund for the Lawns to Legumes program.  This would make the funding more permanent, as it was originally funded through Legacy Amendment funds. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.  More information can be found on the House’s website.

Jan. 12 & 13, NDAL Annual Design Symposium

New Directions in the American Landscape will host its 34th annual landscape design symposium. Founded in 1990, the two-day symposium has a long tradition of celebrating native plants and exploring landscape design at the intersections of ecology, culture, and art. The symposium series deliberately pushes the envelope, offering in-depth explorations of overlooked and forward-looking topics not presented elsewhere and providing practical, concrete information in lieu of trendy jargon. Programs reflect the diverse factors that shape landscapes and regularly feature designers, ecologists, horticulturists, historians, artists, and anthropologists, among other disciplines.
CEUs available. There are in-person options in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and a virtual option as well.  There is a registration fee.
Register by Dec. 30 for PA, Jan. 6 for CT, and Jan. 11 for virtualhttps://www.ndal.org/2023-annual-symposium

Feb. 23: Sax-Zim Bog Diversity: Plants and Pollinators

When: February 23, 2023, at 6:45 p.m.

Where: Zoom: link.

Join us for our February Chapter Meeting which is being co-hosted with the Prairie Edge Chapter.  

The Sax-Zim Bog is a mosaic of habitats, best known for winter bird and wildlife watching. Upland and lowland conifer forests, riparian woodlands, and even open agricultural lands host a wide diversity of critters, not just during the winter, but during the summer months as well! From May to September the abundance of insect and plant life can truly be appreciated. This talk will consider the greater Sax-Zim Bog and the work done in the region by the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog, as well as take some time to consider the special relationships to the plants and pollinators within the landscape. Join us for a winter respite and get excited once again about warm weather and buzzing bees!

Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus is the Head Naturalist for the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog. He has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology from St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN, as well as a Master’s in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. His interests range far and wide, and like many naturalists, loves anything and everything about the natural world. Specific interests include conservation of rare and endangered species,  prairie and bog ecosystems, odonates, orthoptera, moths, spiders, lichens, mosses, fish, amphibians and reptiles…. the list goes on!

Jan. 11: The Importance of Plant Identity for the Conservation of Species Interactions

When: January 11, 7 p.m.

Where: zoom: link

Join us for our January Chapter Meeting, co-hosted with the Prairie Edge Chapter.

Our presenter, Desiree Narango, is a Conservation Scientist at Vermont Center for Ecostudies. Her research focuses on biodiversity conservation and habitat restoration in the face of global change. She primarily studies plants, insects, and birds with a particular focus on multi-trophic interactions, habitat relationships of wildlife with specialized life histories, and mechanistic approaches to applied ecology. Much of Desiree’s work takes place in forests of all types, from naturally regenerating and preserved forests to novel ecosystems significantly altered by people, such as urban street trees, residential yards, and agroforestry.

As a conservation biologist at VCE, Desiree’s ultimate goal is to help land managers and communities implement effective and efficient action to support biodiversity and people in a rapidly changing world. She completed her Ph.D. in Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware in 2018, an MS in Natural Resources from the Ohio State University in 2012, and a BS in Environmental Biology from SUNY: ESF in 2006.

Jan. 31, Feb. 1 & 2, Pollinator Habitat Webinars

Are you interested in creating pollinator habitat, but you don’t know where to begin? Check out this upcoming webinar series to help guide you in your pollinator plan. University of Minnesota Extension Educators are excited to bring you this webinar series on creating your own pollinator habitat.

This three-part series will cover how to create a pollinator-friendly garden, bee lawn and prairie planting. Join us January 31, February 1 & 2 from 1:30-2:30 pm each afternoon for this free webinar. You must pre-register for this series at z.umn.edu/BeeSeries to receive the webinar links.