Welcome to Big River Big Woods Chapter

Twin Cities East Metro Chapter

Welcome to Big River Big Woods.  We are a brand new Wild Ones Chapter in the East Metro area of the Twin Cities, MN.  We are excited to offer residents of St. Paul and the eastern suburbs opportunities to learn more about native plants and sound landscaping practices. 


Monthly Meetings

Our meetings are free and open to the public.  We hold our meetings on the fourth Thursday of the month, except December.  Our meetings start with social time between 6:30 and 7 p.m.  From 7 to 8:30 p.m. we have the educational portion of the meeting.  We meet at Autumn Grove Park, 1365 Lydia Avenue West, Roseville, MN  Map

If you’d like to learn more about native plants and natural landscaping, we’d like to see you at our next Wild Ones event!  Help us grow!

Meeting Schedule

January 26
Seed Exchange and Seed Sowing Workshop
Raina Kujawa, Prairie Restorations
6:00 p.m. social time, 7 – 8:30 p.m. meeting

Join us for native seed sowing and get a head start growing native plants for spring! This will be a hands-on experience led by Raina Kujawa, the Plant Production Manager for Prairie Restorations, Inc. , so this is a chance to get your hands dirty!

Raina has been employed with Prairie Restorations since 2005.  She is responsible for overseeing native plant propagation, creating and maintaining small scale production plots and participates in many different aspects of seed harvesting.  Her presentation will start with the collection and storage of seed.  She has photos of what she uses to clean her seed and some of the tools she uses for propagation.  She will go over the different ways she treats her seed to get the best germination rates.  She will go over sowing, growing conditions, and common obstacles she faces with propagating native plants.  She can also talk about starting ferns from spores if anyone is interested. 

Please save and bring quart yogurt containers and lids: rinse them thoroughly. If you have native seeds or pollinator-attracting annual seeds to share bring them to this event with a label indicating common and scientific names, plus the seed source if you know it.

February 18 (Saturday)
Design with Nature Conference—Planting Matters
Anderson Student Center, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus

KEYNOTE: Douglas Tallamy—Are Introduced Plants “Bad”? Professor & Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware, author of Bringing Nature Home

Peter Reich—Principal Investigator, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve; Senior Chair in Forest Ecology and Tree Physiology, Regents Professor University of Minnesota

Natalie Shanstrom—Sustainable Architect, Kestrel Design Group

Details coming at www.designwithnatureconference.org

March 23
Plant Identification for Everyone
6:00 p.m. social time, 7 – 8:30 p.m. meeting

Katy Chakya and Peter Dzuik, from MNWildowers.info will share amazing photographs as we discover the website that they have developed for identifying Minnesota native and non-native plants.

April 27
Invasive Plants: Know Thy Enemy
6:00 p.m. social time, 7 – 8:30 p.m. meeting

Are invasive plants driving you mad? Discover how to identify and manage invasive plants in your yard with Kao Thao, Naturalist, Fort Snelling State Park.

May 25
Native Plant Gardening Best Practices and Projects
6:00 p.m. social time, 7 – 8:30 p.m. meeting

Join us for a Big River Big Woods Project Roundtable!  Learn about restoration projects we are helping to sponsor and volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood.  Share ideas on these projects and help plan next steps. The evening will begin with a presentation on the Como Park restoration and Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom.

Following the presentation, the group will break out into roundtables where project coordinators will describe sponsored projects and lead discussions related to those projects.


Board Meeting January 19

The Big River Big Woods Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on January 19 at the Caribou Coffee located at 1127 Larpenteur Ave. W., Roseville.  (map)  The public is invited to attend this meeting.  We still do not have a vice-president, so be sure to let us know if you are interested!


Volunteer for one of our Service Projects

These projects are in their dormant phase for now.  Check back in the spring to see when they will resume.

Roseville Library Children’s Native Garden
2180 North Hamline Avenue, Roseville

Every Thursday morning join Kris O’Brien, Master Naturalist and Wild Ones member, in caring for the library’s native garden.  Meet at the main doors at 8:30 am or if you’re late, look for us in the garden. It’s the fenced are on the east side of the library (by Dunn Bros). Bring gloves and hand tools if possible.  Beginners and experts are welcome!

Island Lake Native Garden
Island Lake Elementary School, 3555 Victoria Street N, Shoreview

On Saturday and Tuesday mornings, from 9 am to 11 am, help Karen Eckman, Big River Big Woods member, and her crew work on this rain garden. The garden is on the school grounds.  The biggest need is for people to do weeding.  Bring gloves and wear long pants.  All are welcome.

Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom
1199 Midway Pkwy, St. Paul

Judi Petkau, Big River Big Woods member and Como Eco-steward leads a team of volunteers periodically to remove unwanted vegetation so native plantings can prosper in a corner of Como Park.  Our volunteers work just south of Como Avenue and west of the swimming pools.  Further details will be forthcoming.

If you have suggestions for other projects in the East Twin Cities Metro area please send your suggestions to  bigriverbigwoods@gmail.com.  Let us know if an evening gardening time would work better for you and which day and time. Everyone welcome!


What’s New

Art Meets Ecology

Lake Phalen Tour

Our First Garden Tours

Wonderful Evening with Nature Photographer

Julia’s Garden

Neonicotinoids — “neonics”

Recommended Reading

Help Maintain Roseville Parks