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Helping the Natural World

After a very successful Lily Lake Buckthorn Bust at Lily Lake Park, Sustainable Stillwater MN's Natural Resource team is organizing follow-up activities and we hope YOU will be around to help us: more forest management, more native plants throughout the park and along the shoreline, partnering with My Wahoo! Adventures kayak tours for Lily Lake, and more. Many thanks to Dan MacSwain and SSMN member Mike Lyner for their leadership and to Lily Lake residents and some Rotary Club members for helping get that job done in a little over 2 hours! And thanks to Public Works for following up with herbicides on the buckthorn stems.

The 2020 "What's That Plant?" events along the Gateway Trail at Neal Park in early July and early September will expand to include May and June 2021. The Gateway Browns Creek Trail Association will be promoting those events too. Caitlin Bergh will be in charge of this program expansion and coordination! We may also hold a garlic mustard removal event along the Trail in May.

We have 4 rain garden maintenance volunteers planning to continue from last year, and around May, if other rain gardens look unattended, we will coordinate with Angie Hong to help search for more volunteers. Thanks to Matt Dynan, Matt Valek, Fitzie Heimdahl, Joanna Schneider for volunteering in 2020 and 2021! Thanks to Maren Rosas for your efforts in 2020! In 2021 Kathleen Anglo will join the effort in Settlers Glen.

Stormwater runoff is a persistent problem in any city, as streets and driveways collect rainfall and snowmelt. We are excited to have learned about an "adopt-a-drain" project that was created by Jared Kooiker in Woodbury, and we will be working with him to copy his procedures. This would be a great young-family activity, so if YOU think you might be interested, please contact Natural Resources team leader so she can send you the details.

Speaking of stormwater, did you know that the many cigarette butt containers around downtown are there to keep cigarette butts out of the river? Tar, nicotine, and other tobacco additives are known to be carcinogenic and/or toxic. Thanks to Bob Barratt for keeping those cigarette containers working!! And there is always trash to clean up off the streets — many thanks to Dale Tennison for his efforts.

Since there are opportunities in every yard and park in town for more natural habitat, we will be using input from Pollinator Friendly Alliance, National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat program, Bluebird Recovery Program, UMinn Extension Master Gardeners, and Community Food Forests programs to give Stillwater residents some widely supported online guidelines and recognition.

- Louise Watson, team lead, Natural Resources

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