Conservation Program’s Eco-Design and Bikes and Tours Crews are hard at work! This new, two-tracked program offers interns more voice in the work that they choose and the opportunity to expand on their previous work experiences with Urban Roots.
The eco-design crew has been busy planting a large pollinator garden at Sunray Natural Library. This garden incorporates over 40 different species of native plants with bloom times spanning from late April to end of October. Youth interns have planted nearly 1,400 plants, spread compost, created mulched trails, and of course weeded, weeded and weeded! Building on this experience, the eco-design crew toured the U of M’s Monarch Lab and learned about current research. The visit was followed with surveys conducted outside, where interns searched for monarch eggs and larva on milkweed plants, and counted all adult butterflies in the vicinity. The crew plans to utilize their citizen science experience conducting surveys at their primary worksites, Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and the DNR Central Region Headquarters in the following weeks.
Bikes and Tours Crew have been trained to use bikes as active transportation while at work, and to interact with their community giving park tours and conducting informational interviews. Early on in the summer the crew received training from a National Parks Service Ranger, on how to give an engaging and fun tour of a park. The crew then split into small teams and developed their own content for incorporating the history and ecology of Indian Mounds Park. They then presented their tour to three groups of middle-schoolers. They have also been very active conducting research for the City of St. Paul to see how youth perceive and use/don’t use green spaces in their community. Youth interns have conducted interviews with their co-workers and visited rec centers, libraries, and the YMCA to interview other youth in the community. The HarveStars have been busy analyzing all the interviews to create a final report they will present to the City in early next month.
During August, both crews will share a trip to Belwin Conservancy, continue their work on parkland restoration AND enjoy some fishing in the DNR’s stocked fish pond!