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Meredith Cornett from The Nature Conservancy takes part in The Minnesota Bee Atlas Program

Meredith Cornett has directed The Nature Conservancy’s science program in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota since August 2003. Between the months of April and October, Meredith took part in this year's Bee Atlas survey project. You can read all about her experience here - from learning about the program to signing up, installing a bee nesting block on her property, and making observations with her family. 


The Minnesota Bee Atlas, a four-year project funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF), is a citizen science program designed to use volunteer participants to create a state-wide list of native bees found in Minnesota. The last time a survey of Minnesota bees was completed was in 1919 when only 67 species were listed. 



We recently sat down with Elaine Evans and Britt Forsberg from The Bee Atlas program to discuss bees, the impact of citizen scientists on their surveying efforts, and how people can get involved. You can listen to that conv…

The Naturalist - 03 Bee Atlas and Citizen Science

Episode 3 - Bee Atlas and Citizen Science


On this episode of the Naturalist we get a chance to sit down and discuss bee populations in Minnesota with Extension Educator, Elaine Evans, and Bee Atlas Program Coordinator, Britt Forsberg.  

Music by Twin Musicom and Silent Partner


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National Public Lands Day 2017 in Minnesota

National Public Lands Day in Minnesota National Public Lands Day is the largest, single-day, service effort for public lands. Since 2012, the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program has facilitated this effort at sites across the state. More than 850 volunteers have removed invasive species, planted pollinator gardens, and protected newly planted trees, among other projects, for over 4,000 service hours to date. This year, the MN Master Naturalist Program encourages residents to join this growing tradition of stewardship through service at one of 12 locations in Minnesota.

Locations can be found all over the state. From Indian Heights Park in Rochester to Boulder Lake ELC in Duluth. If you are interested in registering for this year's NPLD, log on to www.minnesotamasternaturalist.org/courses/. If this is your first time visiting the site, you'll be asked to make an account. With this account, you'll be able to sign up for any future Master Naturalist classes. Register before …

The Naturalist - 02 Getting Involved in the World of Phenology

Episode 2 - Getting Involved in the World of Phenology


On this episode of the Naturalist, we get a chance to talk phenology with Staff Phenologist John Latimer from KAXE Community Radio in Grand Rapids and Associate Extension Professor Eli Sagor. 

Music by Twin Musicom


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Mason Bees

Mason bees, one of the earliest spring bees in Minnesota, are out pollinating in full force. In contrast to most other solitary bees, mason bees spend the winter as adults in cocoons.  This allows them to emerge earlier in spring than many other bees that overwinter as larvae and still need to pupate before emerging as an adult.

Mason bees get their common name from the habit many have of lining and sealing their nests with mud.  In spring, a single solitary female mason bee will start building a nest in an empty cavity like a hollow stem, beetle burrow, or hole in the ground.  Starting at the back of the hole, she will place a ball of pollen, lay an egg, and then seal off the chamber with mud or chewed leaves.  She will continue this way until the entire tunnel is full.

There are 30 species of mason bees (genus Osmia) in the eastern United States and Canada.  Of those, 15 species are likely to be found in bee blocks in Minnesota. Female mason bees use the hairs on the undersides of …

City Nature Challenge 2017: Update

The 2017 City Nature Challenge is coming to a close. Over the past four days, people from all over the country have been using the iNaturalist platform to make observations and identify species in various cities around the the nation. As of today, 88343 observations have been made with 7093 species IDs and 3410 participants.

In the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro Area, over 800 observations where made. You can find more information about the iNaturalist statistics for all the participating cities here.

Below are some of the images taken from the Minneapolis/St. Paul iNaturalist page! Thank you, everyone who took part in this year's challenge.




Introducing the Naturalist, a new podcast from Extension

On the Naturalist, we set out to explore the world of Minnesota natural resources, all while capturing great stories and talking to people about the environment. Produced in-house by the FWCE team. Let us know what you think!








Episode 1 - Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center and EAB 


For this episode, we get a chance to talk to John Geissler and Nick Wagner from Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center about the challenges associated with running an 18,000-acre center with a two person staff. Also, we talk to Angela Gupta, an Extension Educator/Forester, about a pest by the name of Emerald Ash Borer and the potential impacts it can have on Minnesota's forest.


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Become an Aquatic Invasive Species Detector

Are you a member of the public that has a desire to learn more about getting involved with the fights against the threat of Aquatic Invasive Species in Minnesota? Are you looking to build your skills in AIS identification and reporting? Do you want to be a part of the solution to AIS problems in Minnesota?
Become an Aquatic Invasive Species Detector, a volunteer network and science-based training program launched by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center in partnership with U of M Extension. Registration is now open to become an Aquatic Invasive Species Detector! More information about the program and how to register can be found on the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center site.


City Nature Challenge: Minneapolis/St. Paul

Which city in the United States has the most nature? The City Nature Challenge 2017 (April 14-18) will help us find out!
Just in time for National Citizen Science Day (April 15) and Earth Day (April 22), 16 U.S. cities are asking residents of and visitors to these urban areas to explore nature all around them and document the species they find. It all starts on Friday, April 14th and runs through Tuesday, April 18. Not only will these observations help build up the baseline of Minnesota biodiversity, but it also provides data for our local scientists, land managers, and governments about the areas they study and care for.
Who will come out on top? Which city will have the most species found, the most observations, the most citizen scientists involved?
University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension firmly believes that this challenge is something all Minnesotans can get behind. Let us show the rest of the nation what Minnesota biodiversity is all about!
So what can you do to help the Minne…

Sharing the Spotlight: Native Bees

As spring nears, you may start to see headlines like "10 Amazing Facts About Bees!" or "How to Attract Bees to Your Garden."  These articles and the photos in them almost always refer to honey bees.  Although they are an important and charismatic part of our agricultural system, honey bees are not native to North America.  With an estimated 400 different species of native bees in Minnesota, we think they deserve their own list of amazing facts.

1.  Bees in Minnesota show tremendous diversity, ranging in size from small sweat bees to large bumble bees.  They may be black and yellow striped like cartoon bees but can also be green, orange, or metallic blue.
2.  Most Minnesota bees are solitary, meaning they do not nest with other bees and do not share responsibility for maintaining a hive or colony.
3.  Many bees spend most of their life as larvae or pupae and may only be active as adults for a few weeks of the year.  You probably have many bees in your yard that yo…

North Woods, Great Lakes Curriculum Premiere

The first Minnesota Master Naturalist Program North Woods Great Lakes course was taught in Duluth in 2008, making the Great Lakes Aquarium an appropriate venue for the premiere of the latest curriculum book, North Woods, Great Lakes: An Introduction to the Natural History of Minnesota’s Coniferous Forests. Hundreds of Master Naturalist volunteers have since completed the course, graduating into service to promote awareness, conservation, and understanding of Minnesota’s natural environment in their communities.


On Monday, February 3rd, over one-hundred Master Naturalist graduates, instructors, specialists, University of Minnesota Extension & DNR staff gathered at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth to celebrate the premiere of the North Woods, Great Lakes (NWGL) curriculum. This 316-page curriculum focuses on the unique features of the environment found in the northeastern part of the state and serves as the textbook for northern Minnesota-focused NWGL Master Naturalist classes. Amy…

Rochester Master Naturalists to Restore City Park Environment

Quarry Hill Park and the adjacent Silver Creek form a critical and frequently visited urban green corridor in Rochester, Minnesota. Through a non-profit neighborhood resource center, this parcel of nature recently received a $111,900 grant from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) thanks to the skills and commitment of the Rochester chapter of Minnesota Master Naturalists.

When complete the Quarry Hill Park project will restore sections of stream banks within the city limits to form greenways extending from the rural areas of Olmsted County to the Zumbro River. This project will also enhance the prairies, savannas and woodlands of Quarry Hill; a large city park well known for its natural environments and busy educational nature center.

The Quarry Hill/Silver Creek restoration proposal was initiated and prepared by volunteer Master Naturalists to address ecological damage caused by common buckthorn, non-native honeysuckles and garlic mustard. The applicati…