Thursday, November 10, 2016

Learn to Grow Native!

By Sage Passi

Harmony Learning Center Adult ESL
 student models a cardinal flower mask
 at a Watershed District Office tour.

Photo credit: Sage Passi

Big River Big Woods, a Wild Ones Chapter in the East Metro area of the Twin Cities, partnered with our Watershed District, along with their sister organization, Twin Cites Wild Ones, for a showing of the film "Hometown Habitat" at the Ramsey County Roseville Library in late October.

The film emphasized how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems. Nearly eighty people watched this documentary that tells the story of projects around the county that have energized communities to use native plants to solve a variety of issues and improve water quality.

We are excited to be building a partnership with this organization, Wild Ones. Together we can participate in the work and pleasure of promoting native plants and native landscapes.

Master Water Stewards, Linda Neilson and Hallie Finucane, hosted a table to highlight their capstone outreach project and interface with the public, providing photos of their recently completed rain gardens in Roseville, near Bennett Lake. Wild Ones members answered questions and offered resources.

Graphic from Big River Big Woods Wild Ones website

Big River Big Woods Board invites you to help their Wild Ones Chapter grow! They meet monthly. Everyone is welcome! Visit
their website for details.

Check out some of the exciting opportunities that Wild Ones is offering in the coming months.

Join Big River Big Woods for a celebration of their first year as a Wild Ones Chapter!
Thursday, November 17
Autumn Grove Park Building, 1365 Lydia Avenue W, Roseville
6:00 PM - Social time with appetizer and dessert potluck / 7:00 – 8:30 PM - Meeting

Lynn Steiner in Steiner prairie;
author shot
Lynn Steiner - Garden Writer & Photographer
Grow Native: Bringing Natural Beauty to Your Garden

Learn more about responsible gardening, creating a beautiful garden where we can satisfy our love of tending plants without causing further damage to the natural world. Inspirational photos of native-plant landscapes help people get started in environmentally friendly native-plant gardening that will be attractive to birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. The program also highlights special situations where native plants are great choices, such as rain gardens, boulevard gardens, and shade.

Lynn Steiner is one of the Upper Midwest’s best-known garden writers and a frequent speaker at gardening and environmental events. She is the author and photographer of several books advocating the effective use of native plants typical home landscape. Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota, the first book designed to identify Minnesota’s native plants and plant communities and to demonstrate how to use them effectively in a typical home landscape, was a finalist in the 2006 Minnesota Book Awards in the Science and Nature Category.

Lynn’s most recent book, Grow Native: Bringing Natural Beauty to Your Garden, will be available for purchase (cash or check).

2017 Wild Ones Big Woods Meetings

Seed Exchange and Seed Sowing Workshop
Thursday, January 26
6:00 PM - Social Time / 7 – 8:30 PM - Meeting

Join us for native seed sowing and get a head start growing native plants for spring! Please save and bring quart yogurt and lids: rinse them thoroughly. If you have seeds to share, label them with common and scientific names, plus the seed source if you know it.

Design with Nature Conference—Planting Matters
Saturday, February 18

Anderson Student Center, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus

  • Douglas Tallamy—Are Introduced Plants “Bad”? Professor & Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware, author of Bringing Nature Home
  • Peter Reich—Principal Investigator, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve; Senior Chair in Forest Ecology and Tree Physiology, Regents Professor University of Minnesota
  • Natalie Shanstrom—Sustainable Architect, Kestrel Design Group
  • Details coming at

Plant Identification for Everyone
Thursday, March 23

6:00 PM - Social Time / 7 – 8:30 PM - Meeting

Katy Chakya and Peter Dzuik, from will share amazing photographs as we discover the website that they have developed for identifying Minnesota native and non-native plants.

Invasive Plants: Know Thy Enemy

Thursday, April 27
6:00 PM - Social Time / 7 – 8:30 PM - Meeting

Are invasive plants driving you mad? Discover how to identify and manage invasive plants in your yard with Kao Thao, Naturalist, Fort Snelling State Park.

Native Plant Gardening Best Practices and Projects

Thursday, May 25
6:00 PM - Social Time / 7 – 8:30 PM - Meeting

Join us for a Big River Big Woods Project Roundtable! Learn about restoration projects we are helping to sponsor and volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood. Share ideas on these projects and help plan next steps. The evening will begin with a presentation on the Como Park restoration and Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom.

Following the presentation, the group will break out into roundtables where project coordinators will describe sponsored projects and lead discussions related to those projects.

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