Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring Restoration Highlights

Volunteers removed garlic mustard from the floodplain forest near 34th St & W. River Parkway in Minneapolis on May 1. Volunteers have been working in this area every spring for years to protect the floodplain habitat and the nearby oak savanna and prairie bowl from invasive garlic mustard.

A carpet of wild ginger at Crosby Park's spring wildflower patch in St. Paul. Wild ginger's single purple flower is at the base of its stem, low to the ground to attract insects like ground beetles to pollinate it. Rain storms and an unexpected road closure could not deter volunteers from pulling garlic mustard in this area on April 24, and pledging to return to pull for an additional 6 hours!

If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you will see a variety of ephemerals and other spring wildflowers growing all together - the mottled leaves of trout lilies, yellow flowers of violets, and the fine feathery leaves of dutchman's breeches. Rest assured that the solitary garlic mustard stalk sticking up was promptly removed after this photo was taken! This wildflower patch is looking better than ever, thanks in part to the efforts of our volunteers!

For their first Team Outing of the season, the Gorge Leadership Team worked at a spring ephemeral patch at Hidden Falls Park that has gotten less attention over the past few years. Team members removed garlic mustard as well as narrowleaf bittercress, an invasive species that was only first reported in Minnesota in 2008, and has been rapidly invading forested areas along rivers in eastern Minnesota.

Ecologist Karen Schik teaches Gorge Leadership Team members about the biology of invasive earthworms.

To learn about upcoming volunteer events and how you can participate, check our events calendar or sign up for our twice monthly e-newsletter, the Mississippi Messages.

photos courtesy of Karen Solas and Karen Schik

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