Big River Big Woods Wild Ones

On this page: Meeting scheduleAnnouncementsGallery,  Crow-Hassan Park Reserve TourKeller Golf Course Native Garden TourMinnesota Wildflowers Garden TourVolunteer,  Board Minutes

Monthly Meetings

Our meetings are free and open to the public.  
We hold our meetings on the fourth Thursday of the month, except for the following:

No meeting in December.

During the summer months (June, July and August) we provide several tour opportunities, occurring on various days of the week. Tour descriptions and dates and times will be announced on this website as they become available.

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

Meeting Schedule


October 26

Heather Holm

Selecting Native Trees and Shrubs that Support Birds and Bees
presented by Heather Holm
6:30 p.m  – 8:30 p.m.
at Autumn Grove Park, Roseville map

Learn about the habitat and food requirements of birds and pollinators, and what native trees and shrubs provide these resources and maximize ecosystem functionality.

Local author and pollinator expert Heather Holm will discuss the habitat and food requirements of birds and bees, and which of the native trees and shrubs provide flowers for bees, and insects, seeds, or fruit for birds. She will also describe natural communities related to those native woody plants, and cover the range of influences that cue pollinator visits–flower structure, resources and phenology.

Heather Holm is the author of two books, Pollinators of Native Plants and Bees. She is an environmental educator and biologist, and a nationally sought-after speaker. Heather is also a long-time member of Wild Ones and is on the board of the Prairie Edge chapter.

Sweat Bee


Sweat Bee

November 16

native squash bee

The native squash bee co-evolved for maximum pollination efficiency of the Cucurbit group of fruits and vegetables.


The Food Ecosystem Garden
presented by Beth Markhart
6:30 p.m  – 8:30 p.m.
at Autumn Grove Park, Roseville map

Everyone is invited to bring an appetizer to share at the beginning of the meeting.

Beth Markhar’s presentation integrates the essential ecosystem services of soil life, beneficial insects, and pollination. You will learn year-round garden practices to maintain these services at the home landscape scale and larger through your establishment and maintenance of native plants alone or in conjunction with food gardens.

Beth Markhart serves as Outreach & Training Coordinator for Prairie Restorations, Inc., the 40-year old ecological restoration company and producer of local ecotype native seeds and plants. She has served as a board member of the Society of Wetland Scientists and the MN Native Plant Society, instructed biology and ecology, and spoken to many professional and interest groups since 1980. Beth is passionate about native plants beyond aesthetics and for their functional role in agro-ecological and urban ecological systems. She is Trustee of the Markhart Organics Endowment Fund at the UMN for undergraduate education in urban organic food production systems. She holds a B.A. in plant ecology from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in plant physiology from the University of MN.

Speaker on recent trip to learn about the Tundra ecosystem.



photos by Karen Eckman


Crow-Hassan Park Reserve Native Prairie Tour

John Moriarty explains prairie life to the group.

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve in western Hennepin County contains about 1600 acres of prairie habitat.  On Saturday, August 19, John Moriarty, Senior Manager of Wildlife, Three Rivers Park District, led 18 of us through the prairie.  He explained that the park was originally part of the Big Woods.  It was converted into farmland and was used to grow crops for generations.  In the sixties the park district began converting it to prairie.  Mr. Moriarty was clear that this beautiful area is the attempted replication of a prairie.  One of the highlights of our visit was a large planting of liatris ligulistylis (meadow blazing star) covered in Monarch butterflies.   Our Facebook page has more photos of our time there.

Keller Golf Course Native Garden Tour

Keller Golf Course Tour photos

Paul Diegnau and Simba Blood describing Keller Golf Course native landscaping, touring on golf carts, interpretive signage. (Photos by Carol Crowe & Eva Ekola)

What, you may ask, were 20 non-golfers doing zipping around Keller Golf Course on their golf carts Thursday evening?

We were participating in a guided tour led by Paul Diegnau, Golf Course Superintendent, and Simba Blood, Natural Resources Technician with the Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District (RWMWD). Paul and Simba explained how the two organizations developed a partnership to landscape Keller Golf Course with native plants.

Since 1996 Paul has been working to reduce as much as possible the course’s impact on the environment, especially on the Phalen Chain of Lakes. In 2013 and 2014 the Watershed District and Ramsey County received grants to restore a total of 14 acres. It was our privilege to view these restorations in prairie, pond and wetland areas. We all agreed that Keller Golf Course and RWMWD have done a spectacular job.

For a more complete explanation and lots more photos, visit Keller Project.

Volunteer for one of our Service Projects

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

Join us to help with the children’s reading garden. This outdoor area is framed by natural plantings and includes a rain garden as well as a natural prairie. The garden is used frequently by families with young children who enjoy the fenced in area to safely play outdoors while visiting the library.

Schedule (Rain or shine):
Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Bring gloves and hand tools if possible.  Beginners and experts are welcome!

Project Leader:
Nicole Brinkman, 651-724-6032,

For more information, download the flyer.

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

Enjoy time with your kindred spirits while you help restore and maintain a 5-year-old patch of native prairie.

This 36′ x 36′ Eagle Scout project had suffered several years of neglect  until Augusts 21st last year when our Wild Ones Chapter took it on. 

Schedule (Rain or shine – except lightning):
Tuesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon
Come when you can.  Leave when you need to.  Bring water, gloves, and favorite weeding tool(s).

Project Leader:
Karen Eckman, home – 651-483-8460, cell – 651-260-8534,

For more information, download the flyer.

Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom
1199 Midway Pkwy, St. Paul

Our chapter has “adopted” a parcel in Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom (CWOC) – in the Oak Woodland section.   We will tackle invasive species and nurture native plant communities in Como Park.  We are doing this for the EcoSteward Work Days of the St. Paul Parks.

Saturdays, 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
May 27, June 10, June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, September 9, September 23, October 14.
Tools are on site, but dress to work in the woods (pants + sox + close-toed shoes) and we suggest bringing gloves and water.

Project Leader:
Judi Petkau, 612-578-7385.

For more information, download the flyer.

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

Minnesota Wildflowers Garden Tour

Peter giving the tour. (Photo by Carol Crowe)

Combine perfect weather and perfect hosts and you will have a sense of what the tour of Minnesota Wildflowers gardens was like Sunday afternoon. Peter Dziuk guided 40 Wild Ones members and guests through his and Katy Chayka’s extensive native gardens. It’s hard to believe that so much variety can be contained in one suburban lot. Peter and Katy travel the state searching its remotest corners to photograph rare native plants for their excellent web site, Sometimes they are able to obtain seed which they bring back home and plant in hopes that the specimen will thrive so it can be photographed for the web site. This was a very educational garden tour. Thanks to Peter and Katy for their generosity in sharing their time and knowledge with us.

Poke Milkweed (Photo by Carol Crowe)


Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) is pleased to announce the following opportunities to support and recognize outstanding community partners, projects and programs.

  • CRWD is accepting applications for 2018 Partner Grants through 4 pm on October 27, 2017.  These grants range from $2,000-$20,000 for water themed education and outreach projects located in the District.  Click here to learn more and apply. 
  • CRWD is accepting nominations for the 2017 Watershed Steward Awards through October 31, 2017.  Help us recognize individuals, groups, programs and projects that protect nearby lakes and the Mississippi River.  Click here to learn more and submit a nomination.


The Big River Big Woods Board of Directors meets monthly, usually on the second Tuesday of the month.  This year our Board’s officers are Eva Ekola, President; Liz Wendland, Vice President; Carol Crowe, Secretary; Leanne Phinney, Treasurer.  Erica Tenbroek is our Projects Coordinator. Judi Petkau is our Merchandise Coordinator.  Joe Crowe is our Webmaster.  Look in this space for our most recent minutes.

August, 2017

June, 2017

May, 2017

April, 2017