Group Leader: Louise Watson
Living amidst plant, animal, and water resources is both our pleasure and our responsibility. Let’s understand them and manage them for their roles in sustainability.
As plants, animals, and water resources are subject to climate change, we work to understand and maintain the quality and diversity of our resources. Volunteers from across our neighborhoods help out in seasonally applicable projects in collaboration with professionals, councils, and programs of best practices to help meet the needs in and around Stillwater.
We encourage the following seasonal “good housekeeping practices” for everyone:
Winter: Time for project planning. Resident best practices encouraged include minimal use of salt for deicing; sand for deicing should be recovered and reused all winter, then stored in the yard for next year. Pick up after your dog.
Spring: Clear road gutters of debris before it gets flushed down the storm drain into the nearest water resource or treatment system. Adopt your closest storm drain. Pull invasive plant species before they get established. Before clearing plant debris -- give bees time to warm up and get going. Pick up after your dog. Plant native plants and limit mowed lawn areas.
Summer: Maintain rain gardens. Keep leaves, grass clippings, and dirt off the streets and limit fertilizer and lawn chemicals. Pick up after your dog. Limit lawn watering. Maintain gardens and trees for bees and birds.
Autumn: Plan and implement buckthorn removal, last chance to pull out weeds, assess accomplishments of the year, assess successes and needs, plan for next year.
ADOPT-A-STORM DRAIN PROGRAM:
Residents in older Stillwater neighborhoods are especially encouraged to adopt nearby storm drains because street runoff flows directly into the St. Croix River.
SSMN NRWG provides volunteers as needed in collaboration with Washington Conservation District. Raingarden volunteers are expected to cut down old growth in early spring to start maintenance. Uncut rain gardens get cut back by Public Works or Washington Conservation District in May, therefore may appear to be maintained. However, if there is no maintenance volunteer it will be apparent by July 1. Raingardens that stay unkempt through July 1 will be promoted for adoption on the SSMN website. All rain garden maintenance volunteers are encouraged to join the Adopt-a-Raingarden Facebook Page.
BLUEBIRD RECOVERY PROGRAM:
We are looking for a volunteer to get training this year. The trainer will be Dennis Lindeke who runs the Gateway BC Trail Association's BBRP activities.
DOWNTOWN CIGARETTE DISPOSAL PROGRAM
A Make America Beautiful grant was procured in 2019 to install cigarette disposal canisters around downtown Stillwater. The Natural Resources Work Group manages that project. SSMN, the local business owners, and downtown visitors are all grateful for this project. Bob Barratt has been the volunteer monitoring the boxes since the fall of 2019. He lives downtown and enjoys the social engagement while monitoring the cigarette butt collection boxes.
WHAT'S THAT PLANT? EVENTS
Have you ever wondered what is a plant with the pink flowers? Or red berries? Here is your chance to find out while enjoying a stroll down the Brown’s Creek trail! Plants will be marked with signage along the trail. Attend the event anytime between May 1-7, June 1-7, July 1-7, and September 1-7.
GARLIC MUSTARD PULL
This Garlic Mustard Pull event is open to anyone who either wants to help cull the invasive species or take it home with them to try in a recipe.
Join us in May (watch for the date)
As people are practicing social distancing, with and without kids at home, we want to provide opportunities to connect with the natural world and other like-minded people through engaging events, fun activities, and helpful guides to help foster this connection.
SUPPORTING LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS
The SSMN Natural Resources Workgroup supports and/or collaborates with various local organizations on their projects and initiatives in the Stillwater, MN area.
MINNESOTA GREENSTEPS PROGRAM STILLWATER COMMITTEE:
Stillwater is a GreenStep City and SSMN has a GreenStep Committee.
MINNESOTA EXTENSION MASTER GARDENERS:
Master Gardeners are invited to assist with backyard wildlife habitat projects.
MINNESOTA EXTENSION MASTER NATURALISTS:
Master Naturalists are invited to assist with backyard wildlife habitat projects.
WASHINGTON CONSERVATION DISTRICT
Brown’s Creek Watershed District and Middle St. Croix Watershed Management Organization
GATEWAY BROWN'S CREEK TRAIL ASSOCIATION
Co-sponsors the What’s That Plant? events and Bluebird Recovery Program activities.
LILY LAKE ASSOCIATION
Invites SSMN Natural Resources Work Group for rain garden and vegetation management assistance. December 5 2020 we collaborated on a Buckthorn Bust
POLLINATOR FRIENDLY ALLIANCE
Collaboration as needed.
STILLWATER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION PROGRAM:
Julie Balfanz, Coach, connects student projects with Sustainable Stillwater MN.
Waterbody trash removal and nature photography