Land Conservation

Land Conservation
Harnessing fire as a conservation tool

Fire was once commonplace on the American landscape. After nearly a century of suppression, it’s making a comeback. Find out why fires are on the rise, and how FMR uses fire as a tool to restore habitat on many of our restoration sites.

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Unpredictable weather, fuzzy eaglets and great horned owls

This time of transition between winter and spring can be a wishy-washy, ambivalent affair. It’s sunny and 50 degrees, then 20 and snowing. Likewise, some bald eagles are still hanging out in their winter homes or migrating along the Mississippi River, while others are nest-bound, feeding fuzzy eaglets. Another impressive hunter, the great horned owl, is also nesting these days. Luckily, there's great local spots to see all of this avian action, both outside along the Mississippi River and online.

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The eaglets have hatched!
Oh, deer. Whitetails and Minnesota's future forests

Perhaps drinking from the river or bounding through blufflands, deer are a welcome sight on any oudoor excursion. From an ecological perspective, however, an overabundance of deer are creating problems. It turns out many uncommon native plants are especially tasty. But invasive species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard? Not so much. Compounded by earthworms and climate change, our treasured whitetails may play a large role in the future of our forests. 

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Unfortunately, deer don't enjoy munching on invasive plant species.
The green amidst the gray: the distinctive phenology of non-native shrubs

It’s finally (or already!) November and the leaves have fallen from the trees. Well, not quite all of them. If you take a close look at a nearby forest, you’ll likely notice a dense layer of green still present in the shrub layer. What are these shrubs and why are they still green when other species have all dropped their leaves? In and around the Twin Cities, it’s a good bet that these shrubs are either common buckthorn or one of a few species of bush honeysuckles, and their “distinctive phenology” actually plays a large part in their success in Minnesota’s forest ecosystems.

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A layer of green on an otherwise gray and brown backdrop is evidence of buckthorn’s distinctive phenology.
Join us for a fall hayride, hike or haul! (Heads up: Capacity is limited.)

Join us for a crisp autumn morning in the bluffs above the river Saturday, Oct. 17 in Cottage Grove or Saturday, Oct. 24 in Pine Bend Bluffs near Rosemount. Sign up for the hayride and hike, join the buckthorn hauls — or both!

After exploring and restoring river-lands not normally open to the public, we’ll celebrate our volunteer and community partners’ impact on our local wildlife and waters. Thanks to Cottage Grove partner 3M and Pine Bend partner Flint Hills Resources, there’ll be great food, raffles and other special activities. 

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Groups wanted: Get your hands dirty for the river!

Whether you’ve got a group of five or fifty, FMR has a fall event for you and yours. Join us to haul buckthorn and restore habitat in the beautiful river bluffs, or let us know if you'd like to set up your own St. Paul service outing.

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It has been scientifically proven that volunteering together increases group camaraderie, especially when it's benefitting the Mississippi River.
Pine Bend Bluffs Natural Area
Critical for wildlife, this 1,300-acre corridor of protected lands along dramatic western bluffs of the Mississippi River south of the metro includes Pine Bend Bluffs SNA, an award-winning restoration, and one of our favorite places to bird. Read more
Pine Bend Bluffs in the fall

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Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 25, 2024 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Nicollet Island, Minneapolis
New date: Saturday, August 10, 2024 at 5 p.m.
Hidden Falls Regional Park, St. Paul
Wednesday, August 14, 2024 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific & Natural Area, Inver Grove Heights