Saturday, Sept. 10 stacked with opportunities for nature enjoyment and stewardship

When you live in a location as charming and beautiful as the St. Croix River Valley, it’s almost impossible to be bored on the weekends, especially in the fall. This Saturday, Sept. 10 serves up a wide array of activities for nature enthusiasts, including planting trees, stenciling storm drains, chowing down on tacos and ice cream, and enjoying bluegrass in the prairie.

1. River Rally: St. Croix River Clean-up – Stillwater (Sat. Sept. 10, 9am-noon) This annual volunteer event, organized by Community Thread, engages volunteers in cleaning up parks, trails and city streets to protect the St. Croix River. This year, teams will be cleaning up the islands and shoreline of the St. Croix River from the Boom Site to the High Bridge, via pontoon boat; cleaning up litter and painting seal-coat on picnic tables along the Brown’s Creek State Trail; and stenciling storm drains in Stillwater. Volunteers must be 14 or older. Sign up at https://communitythreadmn.org/community-services/river-rally.

2. Crestview Elementary Tree and Shrub Planting – Cottage Grove (Sat., Sept. 10, 9am-noon) Celebrate five years of hard work and habitat restoration at the Crestview Elementary School Forest! Volunteers will plant shrubs and trees in an oak savanna restoration project at Crestview Elementary, in partnership with South Washington Watershed District and Great River Greening. This space is used as an outdoor classroom and is part of the watershed district’s Campus Greening program. All ages welcome. Learn more and register: www.givepulse.com/event/301699.

3. Brown’s Creek Watershed District Community Event – Stillwater (Sat. Sept. 10, 10am-1pm) Join Brown’s Creek Watershed District for a free, family-friendly event with nature-themed activities and free ice cream. Walk, run or ride your bike down to Brown’s Creek Park, which is located off of Neal Ave. near the Coldwater Stop on the Brown’s Creek State Trail. Enjoy music and ice cream while you visit activity stations with live aquatic invertebrates from Brown’s Creek, meet snakes, turtles and frogs, practice fly casting, learn about native plants, and make arts and crafts to take home.

4. Scandia Taco Daze (Sat., Sept. 10, 10am-4pm) This annual event, sponsored by the Scandia-Marine Lions Club, is a quintessential small town festival with games and activities, food trucks, and a parade. The line-up of special events throughout the day includes a Firefighters’ Waterball Competition at noon, Coin Scramble for children at 3pm, and Running of the Meatballs at 3:30pm. While you’re at the Scandia Community Center, stop by the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District booth to learn about watershed programs and drop off used glasses, pop tabs, lead tackle, and items for Eagles Healing Nest (cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels) at the Lion’s Booth.

5. 20th Annual Washington County Bluegrass Festival, Lake Elmo Park Reserve (Sat., Sept. 10, 2-6pm) Bring a lawn chair and enjoy an afternoon of music in the prairie. This annual event is held at the South Pavilion and is free with a Washington County Parks vehicle pass. At 2165 acres, Lake Elmo Park Reserve is the largest tract of public land in Washington County. The park is a mix of prairie, oak savanna, woods and wetlands, and there are numerous habitat restoration efforts underway. Musicians playing this year include King Wilkie’s Dream, The Pale Ale’s, Barbaro, and Chicken Wire Empire.