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Volunteers can help maintain natural space in Rosemount

In 2008, Rosemount High School science teacher Veda Kanitz had her ninth grade students participate in a unique project. The students planted wildflowers and other native vegetation to help create the Rosemount Wildlife Preserve.

"They learned about the benefits of native plants and that one person can make a difference," said Kanitz.

Residents can make their own difference at the preserve from 6 to 8 p.m. July 7. The Friends of the Mississippi River are asking for a few hours of time to do some maintenance work.

FMR outreach and volunteer coordinator Sue Rich said the group is looking for 10 to 12 people to nurture the preserve, which is located in north central Rosemount.

Rich said the evening will begin with a brief training, which will include an overview of the area with FMR ecologist Karen Schik. The people will be divided into small groups and put to work alongside Friends of the Mississippi River staff. All supplies will be provided.

Rich said the FMR joined the preservation effort because the land is part of a migratory route and is located within the natural greenway corridor known as the Northern Dakota County Greenway.

The wildlife preserve is a 16-acre parcel that was donated to the city in 2006 by Aina Wiklund. Wiklund sought permanent protection for her entire 26-acre woodland property. That was achieved in 2005, when the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Dakota County Farmland and Natural Areas Program and the city of Rosemount teamed up to purchase a conservation easement for the property.

FMR helped officially protect the preserve in 2005-06, and has since led the effort to restore the wildlife preserve with support from other local institutions including the city of Rosemount, SKB Environmental Rosemount Foundation and the Vermillion Watershed Joint Powers Organization.

A lot of the work the work done July 7 will be to maintain what's already been done. Rich said the evening will include weeding, planting more native species and mulching the area.

Working with the FMR will give people the chance to preserve increasingly rare wildlife habitat and improve watershed health. The work done will help reduce the presence of plant species that threaten to crowd out the native plants essential for wildlife habitat. In addition to helping to provide wildlife habitat, the native plants volunteers will help protect also have deeper root systems to better filter runoff pollution and help protect the health of the Vermillion River watershed.

Rich said it's a fun way to spend an evening and to make a difference. To register to volunteer call Erika Guenther at 651-222-2193 ext. 23.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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