Friday, March 29, 2013

Youth Outdoors: Protecting Saint Paul's Trees from Oak Wilt

Post contributed by Conservation Corps of Minnesota's Youth Outdoors Crew 2:

The Saint Paul Youth Outdoors crews got to meet our youth crew members this week. We were also excited to get outside for the first time since our chainsaw training in February. We have been busy getting all trained up in the skills we will be using this year such as wild land fire fighting.

Removing tree tags from trees at Henry Park
We all got to know each other on Tuesday for Youth Outdoors orientation. After going through our handbooks, the youth got their snazzy personal protective equipment, and we worked on learning each other's names. Today, the Youth Outdoors crew that is based out of West Minnehaha Recreation Center crew got to go to the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom and spread seeds that will grow in the Oak and Transitional Woodland ecosystems this spring. The students found it interesting to learn that some seeds have to experience winter in order to know when to sprout.

The Youth Outdoors crew based out of Baker Recreation Center went to Henry Park to remove metal tags from trees so they can continue to grow and be healthy. It was important to get the tags off now, before April to avoid exposing the oak trees to the disease oak wilt. Oak wilt is most commonly spread in the months of April, May and June, so be sure to avoid wounding oak trees (i.e. pruning or removing tree tags) during this time of the year. For more information on oak wilt, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.

When we weren't leading youth this week, we got to visit some of the parks that we'll be working in this year, and began working on buckthorn removal. It has been good to be working back in the outdoors, especially now that spring has arrived at last!

Here's to hoping this wonderful weather is here to stay!

Youth Outdoors crews after a day of hauling brush

Friday, March 8, 2013

Getting back in the field!

Post contributed by Conservation Corps of Minnesota Youth Outdoors Crew 2:

Conservation Corps crews are back to St. Paul this week to kick off a new year with new crew members! We began the week working in Como Woodlands Outdoor Classroom (CWOC) removing ash trees that could be threatened by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Unfortunately, EAB has made its way to Saint Paul, and in an effort to slow its spread, selected ash trees are being removed across the city to reduce opportunities for EAB. The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect with no native predators. It targets ash trees, eventually killing the tree. Minnesota has the largest concentration of ash trees in the country, according to the University of Minnesota, meaning there is much here for us to protect.
Here are some tell tale signs of EAB activity according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:
·         heavy woodpecker activity on tree
·         dying branches in the top canopy
·         sprouts around the tree base
·         vertical cracks in the bark
·         S-shaped tunnels under the bark
·         1/8 inch D-shaped exit holes in the bark
To learn more about Emerald Ash Borer, check out these links:
The crews also spotted a red fox, Vulpes vulpes, and a mated pair of red tailed hawks, Buteo jamaicensis,  while out working in CWOC. Who knew there was such diverse wildlife right here in the city?