Take Me to the River offers fresh opportunities to enjoy art and nature

Last week, I had a day off of work and wanted to do something fun with my son, spend some time outside, maybe see some art. Also, the dog needed a walk.   With luck, a solution presented itself in the form of the Franconia Sculpture Park, located just south of Hwy 8 on Hwy…

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In the battle against aquatic invasive species (AIS), key weapons include research, inspections & early detection

Last month, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) announced nine new research projects scheduled to begin this summer. Included in the list are two projects aimed at controlling common carp – one to develop carp removal strategies that utilize social behaviors and one to explore a herpesvirus that could act as a potential…

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Land wanted – Must have bugs

I’m standing in the middle of a prairie making a conference call on my cellphone because that’s what working moms do. Every few minutes, I catch a glimpse of my son as he lopes into view, diving into the bee balm and through the black-eyed susans. Then suddenly he appears directly in front of me and,…

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Tales from the Great Lakes: Big waves, clear water, and research on killer bacteria

You can’t swim slowly through waves. Approach the churning water timidly, and it will slam against your face, choke you, and push you backwards towards the land. Neither can you swim over a wave or around a wave. The only path is through. The trick is to swim hard until you get past the break.…

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Enjoying the St. Croix River and working to keep it clean

Picture, if you will, a woman serenely paddling down the St. Croix River on a standup paddleboard with a boy and a dog balanced on either end. The sun is warm, the water is calm, and all is right with the world.     Level: Expert Total time to complete: 5 hours   Instructions Step 1: Pack your car the night before. (No –…

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The Power of the Universal Experience

“Look!” I yelled backward into the house as I flung open the front door and ran barefoot out into our yard. “Charlie, Gary, come see!” Across the street a brilliant rainbow arched across the sky, perfectly framing the cross and brick of St. Paul Lutheran Church. Two blocks further down the road, the rainbow poured…

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Give me a home where the butterflies roam

On May 11, 1858, the United States of America welcomed its 32nd state to the union – 18 million acres of prairie, 21 million acres of wetlands, 31.5 million acres of forests, and 11,842 lakes, now lovingly known as Minnesota. Over the years, Minnesota has grown and prospered. Settlers drained wetlands to make way for…

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Long Lake “Water Critters” program offers intergenerational learning and an introduction to The Lakes at Stillwater

Wednesday, July 10, 6-7pm On the outdoor terrace of The Lodge, there is a large fire ring, a dozen oversized deck chairs, and a tranquil view of the wooded lake below. Standing on that terrace, you might think you were at a resort in northern Minnesota, or perhaps a hunting lodge in Montana. In reality,…

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New funding coming soon for bee-friendly yards

Cheryl Seeman is a Master Gardener and bee-lover who lives on Crooked Lake in Andover.  “They call me the Queen Bee,” says Seeman with a laugh, as she leads visitors through her verdant yard and gardens. The lawn is dotted with white clover and dandelion blooms. A wide rain garden borders a curbside city storm…

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Orangutans, sun bears, and elephants – oh my!

Three days in Malaysian Borneo “I think that we are the luckiest people in the world,” my son announced as he tossed me an impish smile from the front of our boat. Yesterday, we’d been thrilled to find a pygmy elephant down by the river’s edge – our guide said it was the first he’d…

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