Big River Big Woods Wild Ones

On this page: Meeting scheduleGalleryNative Plant Restoration in Our CommunityVolunteer,  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 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

Meeting Schedule

photo by Karen Eckman


July 2 
Katy Chayka and Peter Dziuk’s Garden (Minnesota Wildflowers)
1590 Long Lake Rd., 
New Brighton  map    
3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

July 27
Keller Golf Course 
Maplewood, MN
6:30 p.m. –  8:30 p.m. 
Simba Blood, Natural Resources Technician, RWMWD, and  Paul Diegnau, Golf Course Superintendent, Keller Golf Course, will tour us on golf carts.  

Space is limited, so reserve your spot here. 

August 19 
Crow-Hassan Park Reserve
Hanover, MN
9 a.m. –  11 a.m. 
John Moriarty, Senior Manager of Wildlife, Three Rivers Park District, will lead us.  

Let us know if you would like to carpool.  We could meet at the Autumn Grove Park.  If you are interested in carpooling, send an email to

Space is limited, so reserve your spot here. 

September 28
Spring Peeper Meadow Restoration
presented by Julia Bohnen
6:30 p.m  – 8:30 p.m.
at Autumn Grove Park, Roseville map

Julia Bohnen will talk about the restoration of the Spring Peeper Meadow at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  Originally a wetland, the meadow had been drained to be used as farm land.  Once the drainage process was reversed, the seeds of 115 different kinds of native plants were introduced.  The meadow is now teeming with a diversity of plant and animal life.  The story of this project has a lot to teach about how to successfully complete a wetland restoration.

Julia Bohnen has about 25 years of restoration experience, both on the ground implementing and managing restoration efforts, as well as developing instructional resources and teaching about restoration and conducting research into past restoration efforts funded by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.



photos by Karen Eckman

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

Native Plant Restoration in Our Community

Deb Robinson describing the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom

Como Park in St. Paul is a busy place all year round. Most visitors focus on the zoo, the picnic areas, Como Town, and the conservatory. Fewer visit, or are even aware of, the wooded area in the southwest corner of the park. On Thursday, May 25, Deb Robinson, a founder of the Como Woodland Outdoor Advisory Committee, presented the history of this hidden gem – the story of how a neglected, overrun, buckthorn-infested woods, originally an arboretum dedicated to Joyce Kilmer, was transformed into the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. Deb described for us the 8 plant communities to be found within the 18 acres of the classroom. She also explained how local teachers are using this area as a classroom to give children hands-on experiences with the natural world. Of course none of this would have been possible without the work of hundreds of volunteers over more than 10 years. The work of restoration continues, as does the need for volunteers. Big River Big Woods is sponsoring a service project in a section of the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom for the second year in a row under the leadership of Judi Petkau, as part of the EcoStewards program. (Teri Heyer, a Como Woodland Outdoor Committee member and National Park Service employee, and Alicia, of St. Paul Parks and Recreation, also participated in this presentation.)

The Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom contains 27 interpretive posts to aid in learning about the many features of this unique area. Download the Guidebook, which contains the narrative for each post, here.

Volunteers needed for the Green Team at the Arboretum in Roseville

2525 North Dale St., Roseville, MN, 55113

Join the team of volunteers who assure that the public gardens are picture perfect and continue to spark community pride.   Help weed and maintain beautiful flower beds that make this free public access space.  Join us weekly or as your schedule permits throughout the season.  Join as an individual or bring your own team of friends, co-workers or family members.  A gratifying way to spend some time outdoors with a FUN group of fellow flower fans.


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.

June, 2017

May, 2017

April, 2017