Saturday, September 15, 2012

Conservation Corps Update: September 11th-15th

Post contributed by Youth Outdoors (YO) Crews 1 and 2:


Last week was very busy for YO 1.  On Wednesday, we worked as a young adult crew and started the day at Lake Como.  We divided our time between removing invasive plants, and prepping some sites along the lakeshore for a planting event that was coming up.  When the rain started around noon, we transitioned to collecting seeds for the Crosby Farm Regional Park floodplain seeding that will be happening this fall and next spring.  With the help of YO 2, we collected quite a few hackberry seeds.   

Youth Outdoors crew members giving a
planting demonstration to volunteers

On Thursday and Saturday, both the Hazel and Phalen youth crews (led by the YO 1 young adults) worked at the Eastside Heritage Park.  On Thursday, both youth crews did some site preparation for a volunteer event on Saturday.  The Hazel and Phalen crew members raked up and removed dead vegetation, spread mulch and learned how to plant plugs (small plants, about 4 inches high).  
On Saturday, volunteers from the Minnesota State Bar Association--Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law section--arrived at the Eastside Heritage Park and helped plant native grasses and flowers, such as blue grama, little bluestem, and blazing star.  One of the youth from the Hazel crew introduced the Youth Outdoors program to the volunteers, and two Phalen crew members demonstrated how to plant the plugs.  The plant material was paid for by a grant from the Saint Paul Garden Club, which was awarded to a project partner, the Lower Phalen Creek Project. Thanks to everyone who made this planting a success!

Collecting hackberry seeds

The third week of September brought much needed rain to the area and narrowed the project options for the Youth Outdoor 2 Crew. Never-the-less their attention was on two projects. One was forest seed collection for planting later this fall along the Mississippi River floodplain near Crosby Farm Regional Park. Hackberry seeds were the focus for the day but because their seeds are just beginning to fall from the trees.  The crew also collected black walnuts, basswood seeds, and acorns.

The other project focused attention at Como Lakeshore planting native grasses in the Duck Point Rain Garden and along the shore south of the pavilion. The goal is to establish a more diverse population of plants along the shore while continuing erosion control.