Minutes- 11/28/12
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:00 PM

District 10 Environment Committee
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Attendees: Val Cunningham, Sharon Shinomiya, Curt Stock, Mike MacDonald, Dana Saeger, Ted Benson, Jessica Currier, Susan Jane Cheney

Committee Chair Curt Stock called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Attendees introduced themselves.

Minutes from the October meeting were approved.

2013 Lecture Series
Specifics of the proposed series of three public lectures were discussed, and a tentative plan was devised, as outlined below:
• The first program, in February, will focus on Como Lake: Past, Present and Future and will take the form of a panel of presenters, including David Arbeit – former Environment Committee member and District 10 Board Chair and current member of the Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), CRWD and St. Paul Parks Environmental Services staff, and a Como Lake Neighborhood Network (CLNN) representative. Mike MacDonald offered to take the lead on this program.
• A March presentation will highlight the historic St. Paul trolley and link the trolley system to development in the Como area. The Street Car Station would be an ideal venue for this program. Jessie noted that Pat Bjorkland gave a presentation on historical trolleys in March 2010; she will contact Pat as a possible presenter. Other possible tie-ins might include the history of biking in this region of the city and a brief review of the how the new light rail system will interface with this area. Jessie will contact the Metro Transit Community Liaison regarding the latter.
• Creative Gardening for Urban Spaces is the working title for an April lecture, which will consist of a panel of several local gardeners with different specialties, including fruit trees, xeroscaping, “square-foot” and container gardening. Curt offered to participate, and Chris Harkness and Mark Granlund were suggested as other panel members. Curt will work on this program.
• St. Tim’s Lutheran Church and North Dale Rec Center were suggested as venues for the February and April programs.
• Planning will continue at the December meeting.

Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom (CWOC)
Environment Committee liaison to the Como Woodland Advisory Committee (CWAC), Susan Jane Cheney reported that the October 29th meeting included presentations by Great River School students regarding projects related to the Woodland they have completed and proposals for future projects. The other major focus of the meeting regarded planning for the researching and writing of a cultural and natural history guide to the CWOC (being funded by a $7000 Minnesota Historical & Cultural Heritage Grant obtained by St. Paul Parks and Recreation staff) and the CWAC’s role in this process. A brainstorming session to discuss the contents of the reference guide was scheduled for November 21st. Adam Robbins from St. Paul Parks Environmental Services also reported on signage in the Woodland and the need to create a volunteer corps to help in the Woodland, perhaps grad students at UMN or Hamline University education or science students.
The next bimonthly meeting of CWAC will take place at the St. Anthony Park Library on Monday, December 17th, 6:30 – 7:45 p.m.
For more information about the CWOC, check their website: www.comowoodland.org.

Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD)
CRWD Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) member Mike MacDonald reported that, as part of their monitoring and mapping programs for Como and other area lakes, the CRWD is collaborating with Ramsey Conservation District in using a new tool, similar to a fishing sonar device, to determine the density and height of underwater vegetation.
For more information about the CRWD, check the website: www.capitolregionwd.org.

New business
1. Val Cunningham proposed that the Committee send a thank you letter to the Friends of St. Paul and Ramsey County Parks and Trails for their annual tree sale which is responsible for many of the trees planted in Como Park. Curt will draft a letter and circulate it to Committee members for comment.
2. Val also brought up the idea of collaborating with the St. Paul Audubon Society in promoting development of urban wildlife corridors and other measures to make city neighborhoods more friendly places for wild birds. She suggested perhaps adopting two species – the American Kestrel and Common Night Hawk – that are in sharp decline due to loss of their habitats. Val noted that Como Park is a natural bird magnet and provides an opportunity to increase the urban bird population with little effort beyond public education regarding birds and their habitat requirements. A block club-led program with kits of materials provided for block club leaders might facilitate cooperation among adjacent households. Val asked that the Committee consider endorsing the project. Some ideas discussed in conjunction with this project included: tie- ins with the Audubon native plants publication and annual Landscape Revival, Tree Appreciation and Garden Tour events; a tier-oriented approach for more or less commitment; coupons for desirable shrubs from local businesses; and availability of information regarding the program on the District 10 website and e-mail “hand-outs.”

Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at about 8:20 p.m.
[Meeting summary prepared by Susan Jane Cheney]

 

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