Monday, April 16, 2012

Conservation Corps Update: April 10th to April 14th

Post contributed by Conservation Corps of Minnesota, Youth Outdoors Crew 2:
The Youth Outdoors 2 crew has been very busy this last week.  One of our major projects was to work at Indian Mounds Park to prepare for a large volunteer event which will be hosted by Great River Greening, City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department,and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area- National Park Service that will be taking place on Saturday, April 21st. This preparation involved cutting down large amounts of buckthorn which will be hauled out of the park during the volunteer event. Indian Mounds Park contains one of the few surviving remnants of native oak savanna in the river valley, as well as oak forest and a skunk cabbage seepage swamp. Once home to 16 burial mounds, the park is a reminder of Minnesota's history for future generations. This hauling event will cap a huge buckthorn removal effort that has transformed this into a nearly buckthorn-free park.
Hauling litter and dead plant debris
out of Hamline-Midway raingarden
   Another project that we worked on last week was cleaning up the Hamline-Midway Raingarden near Como Park. Throughout the past winter, litter had infiltrated the site.  We spent a good amount of time removing the trash as well as the plant debris from the previous year.  Raingardens receive a rush of polluted stormwater from hard surfaces (such as sidewalks, driveways, roofs, and streets), hold the water for a short period of time, and allow it to naturally infiltrate into the ground to remove pollutants and recharge groundwater rather than running off into a storm drain. For more information on raingardens, check out this great article from Capital Region Watershed District.

Citywide Spring Clean-up kickoff at Lake Phalen

On Saturday, our youth crews assisted with the 26th Annual Citywide Clean-Up of Saint Paul. Each crew was designated to a different kick-off location where they ran the registration table and performed other essential tasks. After the kick-off, we all went off to various parks such as Bruce Vento trail and Linwood Recreation Center to remove litter from the area.
The Conservation Corps crew is growing as a productive unit and the efficiency of the team is improving. We are getting to work faster, teach better, and work harder!