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Karen Schik

Why do volunteers hand-collect seed for FMR?

Native prairie seed harvested by hand

Volunteers collected this yellow coneflower seed by hand. Hand-harvested seeds help us restore prairie remnants at places like Sand Coulee Scientific and Natural Area in Hastings.

What would you be willing to pay for a few teaspoons of prairie seed? Seeds from native prairie remnants that our volunteers collect by hand are priceless.  >>

October 8

Special Places: Local prairie wonderlands

Blazing star with monarch at Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

The contrasting colors or purple blazing star and yellow goldenrod are eye-candy for both humans and bees.

A prairie for every season and (metro) location! We list a few of our favorite prairie sites from Elk River to Hastings, including both restored prairies and native remnants. Some of our favorite finds at each site are listed, and a good time to visit. >>

August 10

What's the best way to control buckthorn and protect native plants? FMR investigates.

A native ladyslipper plant, a mowed stretch of forest, a glossy buckthorn plant and a bobcat/forestry mower

We set up a new research project in Hampton Woods (top left) to control buckthorn (top right) and see how different methods (such as the forestry mower, bottom right) best protect and encourage native plants (like the yellow ladyslipper, bottom left).

What pops to mind when you think of restoring a forest? Perhaps people planting trees? ...How about bobcat-like machines busily eating up small trees and spitting out the splinters?

If you'd visited Hampton Woods this spring, this is exactly the scene you would have come across. The machines were forestry mowers, consuming invasive European buckthorn.

Not only were the mowers benefiting the long-term health of the forest, but they're part of a new FMR research project to compare and contrast the effectiveness of different methods to both control buckthorn and support the growth of native plants and habitat. >>

April 5

Welcome intern Elizabeth Carls!

Elizabeth Carls

Elizabeth Carls will assist FMR ecologists in 2018.

As she completes her master's in horticulture at the University of Minnesota, Elizabeth Carls will also be working with FMR ecologists Karen Schik and Alex Roth throughout the 2018 habitat restoration and monitoring season.

Elizabeth will conduct rare plant surveys, lead our monarch monitoring program at Pine Bend, and assist with bird surveys. She'll also lend a hand at our volunteer and education outings. Be sure to say hello at an upcoming FMR event!

March 2

If you build it, will they come? Investigating whether restored habitat means more wildlife.

A red fox ventures into an open, grassy area.

Bird surveys and wildlife cameras (one of which captured this red fox on film) have long provided a glimpse of how wildlife use our restoration sites. But recently we've been greatly expanding our monitoring to include amphibians, reptiles, pollinators and other insects.

Since the creation of our land conservation program over 20 years ago, FMR has protected, restored or enhanced over a thousand acres of prairie, forest, wetland and other types of wildlife and pollinator habitat in the metro area. But does increasing native habitat result in the return of native animals?

Learn about bird surveys, wildlife cams and our work with local high schools to find out. >>

February 9

Nature Notes: Snowshoeing grouse?

grouse foot showing pectination

Grown each fall and shed in the spring, the grouse's comb-like foot fringe acts like a snowshoe to help them walk on top of snow. (Photo courtesy of Mary Holland.)

In this month's Nature Notes:  Oh, the surprising things that ruffed grouse have in common with snowshoe hares and aspen trees. >>

December 11

Thank you, Kala and Annie!

 Annie Dubner and Kala Peebles

Annie Dubner (left) and Kala Peebles, our stellar summer 2017 intern and SuperVolunteers, about to examine milkweed plants for monarch eggs and caterpillars.

Surveying wildlife, supporting events, braving mosquitoes — Kala Peebles and Annie Dubner were indispensable and indefatigable throughout the 2017 field season. >>

November 9

Volunteers help scientists gather critical data about monarch butterflies

Volunteer-bred monarch

Monarchs face a complex array of threats, but volunteers are acquiring much-needed data to help the embattled species survive.

Through heat, rain and mosquitos, eight dedicated FMR volunteers surveyed a patch of milkweed plants throughout the summer, hunting for the eggs and larvae of monarch butterflies. Their efforts, combined with hundreds of others', help researchers better understand the complex ecological needs of our iconic, declining monarchs. >>

October 9

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