Welcome to Wild Ones Big River Big Woods Chapter



November 15

Appetizer Potluck, Board Election, My Life Among Suburban Wildlife

Presentation by Gordon Dietzman

photo of Gordon Dietzman

Gordon Dietzman

Everyone is invited to bring a tasty appetizer or snack to our November potluck.  Our members always bring the most delicious treats to our November chapter meeting.

At this meeting we will elect our Board for 2019:  

President, Vice-president, Secretary, Treasurer

We are seeking candidates for these offices and encourage you to contact us if you are interested.  Send an email letting us know which office you’re interested in: contact@bigriverbigwoods.org.

Gordon Dietzman will give a presentation on My Life Among Suburban Wildlife

There are hidden savannas, prairies, and forests in our backyards and parks. They are replete with predators and prey, herbivores and carnivores, parasites, and parasitoids in a network of life not unlike, in some ways, the savannas of Africa or the prairies of Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. But one has to look closely to find this diversity. This is a world dominated by humans that have destroyed or modified the habitats of a myriad of animals. Some disappeared under the onslaught of blacktop and manicured lawns, but others have adapted to our of backyards and parks and life there can be diverse. Gordon will share his adventures among that wildlife and the places that support them. 

Gordon Dietzman grew up on a dairy farm in southwestern Wisconsin where he spent much time observing wildlife and creating wildlife habitat.  The love of the out of doors led him to a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in environmental interpretation. He has worked at the International Crane Foundation where he led education programming at ICF’s headquarters in the Baraboo, Wisconsin area, but also worked on endangered species issues and preservation in Southeast Asia. He currently works as a park ranger with the National Parks Service.

Date:  November 15
Time:  6:30 pm to 7 pm informal sharing and social time, 7 pm to 8:30 pm presentation
Place:  Autumn Grove Park, 1365 Lydia Avenue West, Roseville, MN Map



No chapter meeting this month. 
We wish you Happy Holidays!

photo of red-bellied woodpecker


January 24

Seed Sowing – Planting Seeds for the Spring / Lightning Talks

Join us for a fun seed planting activity.  We supply the dirt and native plant seeds.  Or bring your own seeds to plant.  Bring plastic 1 quart cottage cheese or yogurt containers with lids.  Our volunteers will drill drainage holes in your containers for you.  Our members will share their native seed planting secrets!

Lightning Talks:  5 minute presentations on a native plant-related topic.  We are looking for people willing to do a Lightning Talk.  If you are interested, contact us at contact@bigriverbigwoods.org.

Date:  January 24
Time:  6:30 pm to 7 pm informal sharing and social time, 7 pm to 8:30 pm presentation
Place:  Autumn Grove Park, 1365 Lydia Avenue West, Roseville, MN Map


February 16

Design with Nature Conference

Healing and Restoring our Relationship with Nature

To truly live in relationship with Nature we must first realize we are “a part of” Nature, not “apart from” Nature.  Only when we acknowledge and celebrate our relationship with the rest of the living world, will we be able to fully understand the generous gifts we receive from the Earth can only be sustained by the giving our own gifts in return.

Featured speakers:

Living in the Liberated Landscape: How our gardens and landscapes can be a source of environmental change

Botanical Wanderings – Building a personal relationship with Nature

The language of plants – How traditional indigenous teachings can help heal our relationship with Nature

Registration will begin November 1.

To register and for a great deal more information about the speakers and the events of the day, go to Design with Nature Conference.

Date:  February 16
Time:  9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Place: James B. Woulfe Hall in Anderson Student Center, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus Map

We Have a Winner !

photo Bumble Bee on Common Milkweed by Leanne Phinney

Bumble Bee on Common Milkweed by Leanne Phinney

Leanne Phinney, Big River Big Woods Chapter member and Treasurer, won first place in the Pollinators Category of the Wild Ones 2018 photo contest.  Excellent work, Leanne!

Big River Big Woods 

Big River Big Woods is a chapter of Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes.  We draw our membership primarily from St. Paul and the surrounding communities.

Our chapter has regular monthly meetings most of the year and garden tours in the warmer months.  We meet at Autumn Grove Park, 1365 Lydia Avenue West, Roseville, MN  Map

Meeting times: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.  The first half hour is a gathering/social time.  The program begins at 7 pm.

Meeting schedule:

In January, March through May and September through November we meet on the 4th Thursday of the month.  (No February or December meeting. The Design with Nature Conference takes the place of the February meeting.)

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

Mission Statement:  Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes is a national non-profit organization that informs and teaches people how to use native plants in their landscapes.  Wild Ones distinguishes itself from other garden organizations by encouraging gardening with native plants and moving away from the use of chemicals, watering, excessive mowing and other practices commonly used by traditional gardeners.

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, nicole.m.brinkman@co.ramsey.mn.us

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 our Wild Ones Chapter took it on a few years ago. 

July Schedule (Rain or shine – except lightning):
Thursdays, July 19 and 26, and Saturdays, July 21 and 28.
Anytime between 9 and 11. Even an hour makes a difference. 

Come when you can and leave when you need to.  Bring water, gloves, and favorite weeding tool(s).
Contact Karen to confirm specific date and time as weather and other factors can affect the schedule.

Visitors are welcome anytime. This is a full sun pollinator garden where you can see giant versions of some full sun natives. e.g. Butterfly milkweed.

Project Leader:
Karen Eckman, home – 651-483-8460, cell – 651-260-8534, k.eckman@comcast.net.

Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom
1199 Midway Pkwy, St. Paul

Members of Big River Big Woods have adopted an area of the Classroom and have become regular EcoStewards.  EcoStewards work from May to early October and help to build this unique wild learning space in our capital city.

Being an EcoSteward is a volunteer position with St Paul Parks & Recreation focused on restoration and maintenance of CWOC. Interested volunteers will be trained and directed to work on an assigned parcel of CWOC. EcoStewards (or teams) can work on their own hours, independently and log their progress online. Tasks include weeding invasives, picking up trash, reporting new growth, and planting natives.

Watch this space and the calendar for future scheduled volunteer days at Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom.  Contact the Project Leader if you need more information.

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

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