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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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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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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Restoring habitat successfully also means learning to live with wildlife again

Two years ago, before my family embarked on a trip-of-a-lifetime to Australia, we sat down for a frank discussion around the dinner table. “Here’s the deal,” I announced, as I looked at my mother, my husband, and especially my then 4-year old son. “There are saltwater crocodiles in tropical northern Queensland, and we need to…

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Local school groups release baby trout into Brown’s Creek

“Put your hand over the cup so no one falls out!” Evan Griggs calls out as he leads a dozen 4th and 5th grade students through a tangle of trees to the edge of Brown’s Creek. The students, who hail from St. Jude’s of the Lake in Mahtomedi, have been raising rainbow trout in their…

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Hopping into spring…again

Explore a local wetland or attend a Wonderful Wetlands workshop in Hugo, Oakdale or Lake Elmo The snow is melting again, which means that spring is just around the corner…again. Last weekend, I bundled up to walk the dog through 9-inches of fresh, fallen snow and paused with surprise when I encountered warm-ish air and…

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Brown’s Creek fish hoping for a big chill

This is a story about trout. It’s also a story about local history, changing landscapes, and people trying to do the right thing. Somewhere in the wetland dappled landscape near the now-closed Withrow Elementary, water begins to gather and form a stream we now call Brown’s Creek. The stream flows through soggy fields in Grant…

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It’s all about the bees

Washington Conservation District recognizes Pam Arnold & Laurie Schneider for their conservation efforts The bee is a curious ambassador for the Earth. They are little. They sting. They tiptoe across flowers on insect legs, waving insect antenna, and peering out at the world through kaleidoscoped insect eyes. The females do all of the work, and…

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Mooneye, sturgeon and microplastics in trout

In the swiftly flowing waters of the St. Croix River, a federally endangered species of mussel called the spectaclecase shelters among boulders on patches of gravel and sand. It’s not easy to make babies when you’re spectaclecase. First, the male must release sperm into the river current, hopefully upstream of a lady mussel. If a…

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