Calling all Watershed Champions

Comfort Lake – Forest Lake Watershed District debuts award program & schedules workshops for the spring Seeking award nominations Do you know someone in the community who has gone out of their way to protect local lakes and waterways? Perhaps it is the neighbor who transformed their yard with native plants and raingardens to reduce…

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Designing with nature, braiding science with beauty

I was asked, “So, why do you want to study botany?” And I answered, “Because goldenrod and asters are so beautiful together, and I want to know why. I want to know why these stand together. Why do they grow together and look so beautiful when they could grow apart?” “That’s not science,” he said.…

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Listening for the trees

They say that trees can speak to each other in a language we humans are too busy to hear and too self-absorbed to understand. Peter Wohlleben, a German forester who wrote the now famous book, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, has learned that trees in a forest actually live…

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So long sweet summer! Prepping lawns and gardens for the winter

By now, you’ve probably picked the last of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants growing in your vegetable gardens. The predicted frost never quite made it to my house last weekend, but I know it’s only a matter of time before the winter temps will settle in for good. As you begin to prepare your lawn…

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Living the buckthorn and bittersweet life

Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I have a faint (ever-so-faint) recollection of the carefree joy I used to feel while hiking in the woods. “Aren’t these woods pretty?” I would think. “Look at all those pretty wildflowers along the roadside. Isn’t life grand?” My bliss was permanently disrupted, though, when I took my first ecology class…

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When the sprinklers are running but the grass is still dry

Have you ever wondered why some parts of your lawn remain stubbornly dry even on days when the sprinklers have run? You might be surprised to learn that water pressure is often to blame. According to Lindsay Brown, most cities serve homes with water at a pressure of about 60 psi (pounds per square inch).…

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Putting Down Roots in the Prairie

The roots of the leadplant chart a course toward the center of the earth. Thirsty and longing for stability, they branch, spread and burrow further and further into the soil. Encountering a rock or a flat pan of clay, they will pause, turn, and then continue their travels laterally. In sandy soils, where rainwater is…

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Lessons from a garden

Sometimes you think you have a really good idea, like planting vegetable gardens at your office. Full of enthusiasm, you put your family to work and spend an entire day tearing out sod, piecing together scrap lumber, and hauling in dirt. It is hard work but you feel proud. Then it is the next year,…

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Training the next generation to be “Keepers of the Trees”

The sun shines on a May morning and 23 tiny children gather round, faces up-turned, smiling and eager to begin the day. Kim Lawler, a team leader with Tree Trust, and Joan Nichols, a Master Water Steward in-training, stand before the children with a young white oak that the students will soon plant in a…

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