The paired, bright red berries of bush honeysuckles are easy to spot in the fall. Unfortunately, their beauty belies some serious negative effects on our feathered friends.
Each fall, two common invasive plants produce starkly colored berries: European buckthorn bears shiny jet-black fruit while bush honeysuckle produces brilliant red to yellow berries. Unfortunately, birds that dine on the fruit not only spread the invasives' seed but are negatively impacted by the berries themselves — they can even disrupt some birds' mating patterns!
Ever wonder what keeps FMR ecologists up at night? Buckthorn and crown vetch may have pretty glossy leaves or flowers, but for anyone who cares about wildlife, they're a serious threat to forest and prairie habitat in the metro river corridor.
Join FMR ecologist Alex Roth for a walk through our most common invasives: buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, garlic mustard, burdock, spotted knapweed and crown vetch. Along the way, you'll learn why they matter and how to identify and remove them in your own back yard. All in two minutes!
Thank you Tom Reiter and Will Stock for creating this wonderful video!
Yengsoua Lee, an MWMO Green Team alumni intern, helps survey trees on Nicollet Island as part of his time with FMR.
Marking storm drains with youth groups, measuring trees, removing invasive species — it was all in a week's work for Yengsoua Lee.
Although here a short time through an internship program with Mississippi Watershed Management Organization and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Yengsoua (pronounced Yeng-shu-a) experienced a breadth of FMR programming and was able to participate in a variety of field and office events, providing invaluable help to multiple FMR staff. In turn, Yengsoua’s experience at FMR and other Twin Cities environmental organizations will help him as he pursues a degree in environmental science and an eventual career in the environmental field.
FMR ecologists were surprised to find that many of the trees we'd planned to remove at a North Minneapolis riverfront restoration site were taken care of by an anonymous, furry volunteer. (Photo courtesy Mississippi State Extension office as we were unable to catch her or him in the act.)
With the second phase of native prairie restoration set to begin at Ole Olson Park along the North Minneapolis riverfront, FMR is grateful for the help of an unlikely partner.
Birders scan the tree line for movement as FMR ecologist Karen Schik (right) plays a recorded bird call at an FMR habitat restoration site.
FMR has helped to protect and restore a number of first-rate birding spots in the metro. Take advantage of the spring migration season with a visit to our top Mississippi River flyway sites. Whether you’re looking for an urban birding spot, or prefer a location a little more off the beaten path, we've got you covered.
An adult bald eagle feeds its babies live on the DNR Eagle Cam.
Each year in the Twin Cities, humans and other wildlife patiently wait for spring. Some years it arrives to stay, others it arrives only to beat a fast retreat. But over the last few years, one of the few constants in this transitional period in the metro has been the presence of bald eagles. As spring creeps back they take to the sky, hunting for prey, fighting over territory, and mating.
As dusk approaches on a cold winter night, Twin Cities residents may notice an unusual number of crows flying overhead. Each winter, they show up by the thousands to roost in metro neighborhoods. While the gatherings may seem ominous to some, they serve an important purpose for these intelligent birds.
A field assistant prepares to collect a nightcrawler for analysis as part of an earthworm sampling project in Minnesota forests. Photo: Alex Roth
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 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!
Students from Elk River High School sample invertebrates from a stretch of the Mississippi River. These aquatic insects are excellent indicators of water quality.
With restoration work at the William H. Houlton Conservation Area slated to start this fall, students from the local Elk River Senior High School have begun to collect baseline data to help FMR track the restoration's impact on local amphibians, plants, trees and aquatic invertebrates.