Huge kudos to the Ramsey County Master Gardener volunteers for their contribution to the Round Lake Restoration Project
This spring, Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District Natural Resources and Education staff, Sage and Tracy teamed up with the Ramsey County Master Gardener Program, Water Stewards, and parent and school volunteers to participate in the Round Lake Restoration Project. The project is part of a long-term ecological restoration effort by Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District to replace turf grass and non-native habitat with diverse native vegetation in Keller Regional Park in upland and shoreline areas as part of our Wilderness in the City projects.
Wilderness in the City projects
Wilderness in the City projects are being created in regional parks across the metro area. These projects feature native plants attractive to local pollinators, including the endangered Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee and Monarch butterfly. Garden installations provide inspiration to the public on ways to emulate the project gardens on a smaller scale in their own yards and neighborhoods. They challenge the status quo of turf lawns in public parks and provide educational opportunities for the large audiences that frequent our east metro parks.
In the first phase of planting of our large Wilderness in the City pollinator project, students from L’Etoile du Nord school, Ramsey County Master Gardener volunteers, and Watershed District education staff began work at Battle Creek Regional Park this late spring 2023. When the Battle Creek Regional Park project is complete, an area over 6,000 square feet will have been planted with 25 different native wildflower species, four species of native grasses and four native species of sedges, with walking paths around and through these demonstration gardens. There will be additional plantings at the Wilderness in the City project in this park during the summer and fall of 2023.
Also in spring 2023, Ramsey County Master Gardener volunteers and Minnesota Water Stewards collaborated with 400 students between third grade up to 12th grade from the area schools (Farnsworth Aerospace, L’Etoile du Nord French Immersion, Weaver Elementary, Lionsgate Academy, Hazel Park Preparatory Academy, American Indian Magnet and Mounds Park Academy) in planting 4,800 native flowers and grasses in upland areas in the park adjacent to Round Lake. Before each of these classes planted, students were taught an introductory lesson about the project and information was incorporated into classes all year long to teach them about watersheds, water quality, pollinators and grew native plants. In many classes, student practiced stratifying seeds, planting them, and transplanting seedlings for the restoration projects.
These plantings are being watered regularly during these drought conditions. Natural Resources interns with the watershed district maintain an intensive watering regime with quite elaborate process every several days depending on whether there is rain. (A rare occurrence these days!) The interns have to draw water out of Round Lake to fill up tanks using a large pump, fill large containers and then drive them around to the sites to water the plantings using a gator. It takes a village (including the hard work of our NR staff and interns) to raise a garden!
This project will continue in the summer of 2023 and 2024 in areas along the shoreline in Keller Lake as well as other buffer areas next to Keller Creek in the park.
A second Wilderness in the City project is currently being designed in Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District in partnership with Blue Thumb/Metro Blooms on Keller Island in Keller Regional Park in Maplewood.
Thanks to everyone involved
A big thanks to the Ramsey County Master Gardener volunteers, Kerry, Beth, Barbara, Laurie, Cherie, Laura, Nancy, Shari, Dawn, Sharon, Jayme, Simba, Bill, Betsy, Sylvia, Michelle, Aimee, Susan D, Sue B, Susan C, Molly, and Ed for dedicating your time this spring to this education service learning project! They did an awesome job helping us plant thousands of plants under some very challenging conditions. Several even came back and helped on more than one day during some really hot and dry weather.
We look forward to continuing to work with Ramsey County Master Gardener volunteers in the next Keller Regional Park planting projects in the spring of 2024.
Please come back and see it as it matures!
Support invasive species management and native species conservation and restoration in home and community landscapes.
Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District
Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District has been engaging thousands of students at many schools and many teams of Ramsey and Washington County Master Gardener volunteers, Minnesota Water Stewards and other community volunteers since 2000 in a variety of shoreline and upland restoration projects, rain gardens, neighborhood projects, the Boys and Girls Club demonstration garden and school yard demonstration gardens.
These include large scale projects at Ames Lake, Gervais Lake, Casey Lake, our seven year restoration project on Lake Phalen, single year/multi-year projects on Keller Golf Course, Keller Creek, Snail Lake Regional Park, and Lake Owasso shoreline projects, our large scale school pollinator and native plant projects at both Farnsworth campuses, American Indian Magnet, Battle Creek Middle School, Mounds Park Academy, St. Peters Elementary School, the former L’Etoile du Nord campus, and our large scale school rain garden projects at Weaver Elementary, Roseville Area Middle School, Central Park Elementary School, Lionsgate Academy (including the school courtyard pollinator project), Woodbury Elementary, the former Maplewood Middle School (now Justice Page Elementary School) and Harmony Learning Center.