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Alex Roth

Let's talk turkeys

A wild turkey displaying its feathers

A wild turkey struts his stuff.

Once on the brink of extinction in Minnesota and beyond, wild turkeys are now a common sight for Twin Cities and greater Minnesota residents alike. This November, take a minute to learn about this wild animal with an interesting history. >>

November 13

A big new prairie is on the way!

The farm field at the William H Houlton Conservation Area about to be turned into prairie

An aerial view of a prairie in progress. On the left: stubble left over from the fall soybean harvest. On the right: the half of the field worked up for broadcast seeding native prairie species.

It's not every day that FMR ecologists get to convert 180 acres of soybean and farm fields back to native prairie. Sure, we return park lawns and buckthorn thickets to prairie every year, but individual project sites rarely crack the 100-acre mark.

So we're especially excited about beginning the large-scale transformation at the William H. Houlton Conservation Area in Elk River. Check out some photos from the first steps of creating this much-needed pollinator and wildlife habitat at the confluence of the Elk and Mississippi rivers! 

November 13

Fall is for the squirrels

Gray squirrel feeding on a tree branch

'Tis the season for gray squirrels to fatten up.

Each year, the cool fall weather is accompanied by a flurry of wildlife activity. Most species are busy preparing for the winter — gathering and storing food, prepping their nests and burrows, and putting on a few extra pounds. In the Twin Cities, no animal is a better example of this than the gray squirrel.

While many residents consider them a bit of a nuisance — chattering from the trees, darting across streets, and leaving piles of chewed food on decks and sidewalks — these smart little critters have an interesting history and impressive adaptations that allow them to flourish in our human-dominated landscape. >>

October 9

Beautiful berries 'ecological traps' for birds

The paired, bright red berries of bush honeysuckles are easy to spot in the fall.

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! >>

September 11

Walk amongst the invaders (video)

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!

August 7

Thanks, Yengsoua!

Yengsoua Lee, an MWMO Green Team alumni intern, helps survey trees on Nicollet Island as part of his time with FMR.

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. 

August 7

Get that beaver a Super Volunteer T-shirt!

Thank you, beaver!

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.

June 12

Must-see FMR spring birding sites along the river

Bird hike at a restoration site

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.

March 31

DNR Eagle Cam provides a close-up view of eagle family life

An adult bald eagle feeds its babies live on camera

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.

March 10

A murder most fowl

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.

February 13

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