Meeting Archives

MARCH 2018 
Minnesota Wildflowers
Katy Chayka & Peter M. Dziuk

www.minnesotawildflowers.infoFor anyone who is interested in learning about Minnesota’s native or invasive plant species, Katy Chayka and Peter Dziuk have developed one of the best online field guides of any state. Find out how this online guide was started and how to search for plants, learn photography tips and view beautiful photos of rare/endangered and other plant species.


The Importance, Care, and Feeding of Native Pollinators
Presenter: Dave Crawford, retired Minnesota State Park Naturalist

Dave will share photos and videos of pollinators to illustrate a sample of the diversity of this group, and the specific needs which must be provided for in order to maintain pollinator-friendly habitat.  He’ll illustrate a proposed “palette” of native plants which can help provide for pollinators’ nutrition throughout the growing season, based on what has worked in his own native plant gardens.

Dave Crawford is a retired Minnesota State Park Naturalist who has worked and volunteered at parks up and down the St. Croix Valley for over 40 years. After retiring, he developed a growing interest in the many hundreds of species of pollinating insects that are native to Minnesota. He documents his pollinator finds in parks and in his home’s native plant gardens through video and still photography. He’s presented talks on pollinators and native plant gardening to a variety of audiences across central Minnesota.


Restoring Native Soil Microbes To Support Native Plants
Presenter: Bob Dahm ‘Organic Bob’

Bob will explore the connection between soil microbes and ecological restoration. He will discuss exotic invasives and the damage they cause to soil, the link between native plants, pollinators and native soil microbes. Attendees will learn what to do to heal the soil in a way to support native plants and create an environment that discourages exotic invasives.

As a farm-raised son of a farmer and school teacher/soil conservation activist, Bob watched his Dad and Grandpa and many of their farmer friends die of cancer. He was convinced there had to be a better way.

Later, as grounds manager for a children’s psychiatric hospital, he refused to use chemicals on the playground. After using organic methods and products, the playground grass looked better than the chemically treated turf. Staff asked him to do it on their lawns and Organic Bob was born. That was in 1986.

Landscaping for Water Quality
Presenter: Matt Kumka, Landscape Architect

Find out the latest in designing for water quality improvement.  See examples of innovative projects with inspirations from nature including proven planting strategies.

Matt Kumka has a master’s degree in landscape architecture and specializes in sustainable site development and green infrastructure, including regenerative design, stormwater best management practices, and native plant community restoration. He has served as lead designer and project manager on numerous landscape projects related to stormwater quality improvement and ecologically-appropriate placemaking.

The Microbial Revolution: Harnessing Soil Microbiomes to Feed a Hungry Planet
Presenter: Dr. Linda Kinkel, Plant Pathologist, University of Minnesota

Soil and plants support complex microbiomes composed of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Microbiomes have significant impacts on agricultural productivity, and have attracted enormous interest as the ‘new frontier’ for advancing capacities to sustainably produce sufficient food, feed, and fiber to meet the projected global population of 9 billion by 2050. However, we have much to learn about the complex relationships between plants and their microbiomes. Current research efforts focus on developing practical strategies for managing plant microbiomes for enhanced plant productivity in the face of increasing global population, drought, climate change, and reduced availability of nutrient and pesticide inputs.  

MAY 2017

Grow Native: Bringing Natural Beauty to Your Garden
Presenter: Lynn Steiner, Author
Lynn will provide inspirational photos of native-plant landscapes and detailed information on selecting plants to help people develop an environmentally friendly native-plant garden that will be just as attractive to birds, butterflies, and other wildlife as it is to the gardener who tends it.

Lynn Steiner is the author of numerous books including Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota and her most recent book Grow Native. Lynn will have copies of her book(s) for sale at the meeting for $20 each, please bring cash or a check.

APRIL 2017

Restoring Native Pollinator Habitat

Presenter: Cheryl Culbreth
Learn how to increase the value of your property for pollinators, wildlife and even resale value.

Cheryl Culbreth is a specialist in restoring and protecting native woodland habitats, and passionate about teaching others management practices that will restore and preserve our valued native wildlife habitat.

MARCH 2017

Harvesting Rainwater with Creative Outcomes 
Presenter: Roxanne Stuhr
How do I capture and reuse rainwater?  With a BWMP (acronym for Best Water Management Practice), of course!  BWMP is a shorthand expression for a type of water pollution control.  The myriad of possibilities for each of us to incorporate in our own landscapes are as broad as our imaginations, but most commonly we think in terms of water catchment  (i.e. rain barrels, cisterns); water infiltration (i.e. rain gardens, dry wells, French drains, permeable paving, native plants); and water redirection (i.e. dry creek beds and terracing).  We will explore each of these areas and others; discuss which option(s) may be best for you and your home; and learn how to make these a real part of YOUR landscape this spring!   What should you bring?  Please bring your goals, questions, and an open, creative mindset.

Roxanne Stuhr grew up gardening; is educated as a landscape architect; has been professionally gardening since 1981 and designing landscapes since 1995.  She is a certified MNLA professional and is a certified Master Water Steward.  She owns True Nature Design, and her work emphasizes creative integration of nature supportive practices.  


Wild Ones Design With Nature Conference

What plant??? …Which plant??? …Why???
Keynote presenter: DOUGLAS TALLAMY
University of Delaware, Entomology & Wildlife Ecology, Author of Bringing Nature Home
Wednesday January 11, 2017
Reptiles and Amphibians of Minnesota
Presenter: John Moriarty
John will be talking about the natural history and conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Minnesota and what homeowners can do to help them. He will have copies of his books available for sale.
reptilesAmphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota – $40.00
Turtles and Turtle Watching – $10.00

John Moriarty is the author of Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota (U of MN Press 2014)and Turtles and Turtle Watching in the Northcentral States (MNDNR 2004).  John has been involved in reptile and amphibian conservation in Minnesota for 30 years John started the Minnesota Frog and Toad Surveys in 1995.  He has served on a number of state committees involving reptiles and amphibians.  

During the day, John is the Senior Manager of Wildlife for Three Rivers Park District in Plymouth MN. He successfully reintroduced Bullsnakes in the District’s prairies, initiated a long term (25 year) Blanding’s Turtle monitoring program and just received a $250,000 with the Univ. of St. Thomas to study an urban turtle community in one of his parks.

Native Alternatives to Commonly Planted Exotic Plants
Presenter: Ruth Peterson, Carver-Scott Master Gardener
While working on restoring the woodland areas on our property, I learned about the many benefits that native plants offer to our landscapes. Prompted by my search for a better option to the common orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva), I began to explore ways to incorporate more native plants into my more traditional gardens, especially as replacements for invasive non-native plants.

This talk proposes Minnesota native alternatives that deliver beautiful flowers and structure to the garden, along with food for birds and insects, while providing better ecological solutions and easier care than many of the traditional garden plants that are commonly used.


Woodland Gardening: Converting Urban Shade Gardens into Natural Retreats Using Native Plants

Presenter: Julia Vanatta, co-president of Wild Ones Twin Cities

Many of our city lots have mature trees shadowing traditional shade gardens. 

What does it take to transition a shady yard or garden into a woodland garden of native plants 

Over the past 15 years, Julia Vanatta has naturalized her backyard by building plant communities that mimic those she loves in nature. In her presentation, Julia will lay out a stepbystep process she has learned, from where to begin, to how to manage a woodland garden in a sustainable manner.

Julia Vanatta is co-president of the Twin Cities Chapter and a Wild Ones member for more than 10 years. She regularly visits natural areas and has attended two botany workshops on Isle Royale, whose natural flora are a primary inspirationJulia continues to experiment in her own Minneapolis garden, learning about which plants perform well in its site conditions. Her passion for native woodland stems from her love of natural diversity and of wildlife who need our help.


A Non-Gardener’s Wildlife Garden Journey
Presenter: Liz Stanley
LizGardenI began 9 years ago with the goal to create habitat for birds in my Bloomington back yard. With no gardening background, and not having any real plan other than the vague notion of using native plants, I began the experiment with the help of a neighbor who donated a few plants, and an order from Prairie Nursery. Since then it’s been a lot of hard work, trial and error, and a sometimes frustrating but ultimately very rewarding learning experience that has gone well beyond birds. In this presentation I’ll share photographs I’ve taken throughout the process and what I’ve learned from my perspective as a non-gardener.Bio: I’m originally from Atlanta, but have lived in Minnesota for almost 12 years. Professionally I’m a software developer, and in my spare time I’m a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer. I’ve been involved with several organizations such as the Raptor Center, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Richardson Nature Center. As an avid birder and photographer, I
enjoy observing and documenting the garden as well as the wildlife it attracts.

 MAY 2016

Taming Prairie Gardens for City Living:  Design for Small Urban & Suburban Residential Landscapes

Presenter: Erik Olsen
Landscape Designer, Out Back Nursery
Prairie gardens are springing up around our metro area as our communities seek more environmentally friendly land practices at home. Often enough, many of these gardens offer much to insects, pollinators and birds, but may seem lacking in aesthetics. This presentation will cover various design strategies regarding how to plan, arrange, and modify existing prairie gardens with simple techniques so that these gardens will be attractive to wildlife and people.

Erik James Olsen graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Environmental Design and a Masters in Landscape Architecture in 1995. Shortly thereafter, he was introduced to native plants by a friend who worked for a local prairie restoration company. Erik joined Out Back Nursery & Landscaping in 1997 and began designing and installing landscapes using primarily native plants. Erik brings vision into his designs that merge ecological processes with horticultural practices.

APRIL 2016

Restoration and Management of Prairies in Three Rivers Park District
Presenter: John Moriarty
Join John Moriarty as he discusses the history of the prairies within Park District and learn how they are restored and managed.

John Moriarty is the Senior Manager of Wildlife for Three Rivers Park District and has been managing prairies in the Metro area for over 25 years. He is currently managing three legacy grants that will restore an additional 500 acres of prairie to Three Rivers Park District.

MARCH 2016 

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Presenter: Craig Mandel
The Minnesota Valley NWR is one of 520 Units in the National Wildlife Refuge System.  Operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Minnesota Valley NWR is also one a handful of Urban NWR’s.  This creates conflicts and opportunities for this unique Refuge.  During this presentation you will visit some of the Refuges units and learn about the Flora and Fauna that can be observed at them.Craig has been a volunteer at the Minnesota Valley NWR, since 1989.  He has participated in a number of wildlife surveys and conducts interpretive programs at the Refuge throughout the year.


Wildlife Considerations for Habitat Management on an Altered Landscape
Presenter: Christopher E. Smith

Chris is a Nongame Wildlife Specialist for the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources’ Nongame Wildlife Program. Chris has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences in Fisheries and Wildlife Management; he also holds master’s degree from the same school in Conservation Biology with a minor in Entomology. Chris’ work tends to focus on amphibian, reptile, and terrestrial invertebrate conservation biology, but he has experience working with other groups of wildlife as well (mammals – including bats, birds, etc.).


Monarch Butterflies
Presenter: Vicki Bonk
Where have all the monarchs gone? The monarch butterfly population has plummeted in recent years. But you can help monarchs by creating habitat in urban and suburban areas. Vicki will cover the monarch life cycle, habitat needs, the role of milkweed, and the annual migration through the presentation of her ongoing community outreach project “Grow Monarch Habitat”.monarchVickiBonk
In 1995, Vicki proposed and shepherded a Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program project for a butterfly habitat garden at nearby Lake Nokomis. In 1998 a 4-acre native plant installation, the Nokomis Naturescape, became a reality. She has served volunteer coordinator for the demonstration prairie gardens ever since. In 2006, she developed Grow Monarch Habitat, to promote the benefits of native plants with the beloved monarch butterfly as the ambassador. The workshop gained popularity, acting as a catalyst for the Minneapolis Monarch Festival (, now in it’s 8th year and attracting 8-10,000 attendees.


LindenLeafSueFilbinNature Printing
Presenter: Sue Filbin
We will apply water-soluble printmaking ink to plants with a soft-rubber brayer. By pressing mightily with our hands—or feet!—the impression of the plant will easily transfer to acid-free paper, creating an original print that each person will take home. Bring a favorite leaf or two with you to the meeting.

Since 2002, Sue Filbin has applied ink to leaves and flowers to create distinctive prints. The impression made by the specimen beckons people to really see the dazzling bounty of shapes, sizes, and details of the plants—a discovery Sue very much enjoys sharing with others through her prints and note cards, and during demos and classes.

Invasive Plants: What are they and what’s the big deal?
Presenter: Angela Isackson
Invasive Species Coordinator – Three Rivers Park District

Buckthorn and garlic mustard are invasive plant species that have become household names these days as the media pleads with the public to help stop their spread or pull them from nearby parks. In the U.S., about 3 million acres are lost to invasive plants each year (twice the area of Delaware). Invasive species, if left unchecked, will limit many uses on lands now and for future generations. Now is the time to act to reduce the threat of invasive plants in our region.  Will you join the front lines of our defense team? Growing up in the Minnesota River valley of New Ulm, I found myself exploring and connecting with nature at an early age.  I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology at Mankato, Minnesota State University and pursued a career in which I could utilize my passion for being outdoors and ensure the conservation of the natural heritage of our lands.  I started working at Three Rivers Park District as a wildlife seasonal aide in 2009 and in 2013 transitioned over to the newly created position of Invasive Species Coordinator.

MAY 2015

Saving Our Planet One Yard (36″) at a Time

Speaker: Douglas Owens-Pike
Join celebrated local landscape designer and president of EnergyScapes Douglas Owens-Pike for an evening of conversation centered around his new book, Beautifully Sustainable. Doug’s presentation will feature gorgeous views of gardens he has designed, installed and maintained over his 25 years following ecologically sound principles.  We will learn step-by-step how modify our own landscape to succeed with the least care. Doug will explain how to convert lawns to native habitat at a pace you can handle. While it may seem our world is overwhelmed with strife and turmoil this will be an evening helping us imagine calmer lives, while supporting other creatures who are under assault.

APRIL 2015

Growing and Gathering Native Edible Plants

Speaker: Wesley Nugteren
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden Naturalist


Landscaping for Water Quality

Speaker: Seth Bossert
Urban Conservation Technician, Carver Soil & Water Conservation District

Watershed District Cost-Share Grants

Learn about the cost-share grants available in Nine Mile Creek Watershed DistrictMinnehaha Creek Watershed District and other local watersheds. Watershed representatives will present for five minutes before the main presentation about the cost-share grants available and answer questions after the main presentation.


Dragonflies of Minnesota

John Arthur, Board Member of the Minnesota Dragonfly Society


Wednesday December 10th
Nature Poetry

Speaker: Larry Wade
Participants will be writing poetry from the inspiration of images and natural objects. They will be introduced to using metaphors and similes in their poetry; cinquains; haiku and free verse. In addition, participants will learn techniques and forms they can use in the field with students.

Presented by educator, author and biologist Larry Wade. Larry served as Hopkins School District Naturalist for 8 years and taught nature and art classes at St. Thomas University and others. He also specialized in oceanography as a resident of California.


Wednesday November 12th
Climate Change in Minnesota Forests

Speaker: Dr. Lee Frelich
Research Associate and
 Director, University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology

Because Minnesota has three major biomes–grasslands, temperate forests of oak and maple, and boreal forests of spruce, fir, pine and birch–the native vegetation of the state is very susceptible to a warming climate. With a business as usual scenario we expect grasslands and temperate forests to move north into the boreal biome of the Boundary Waters. A number of other changes in the environment will reinforce the effects of warmer temperatures, including more droughts, storms, fires, deer grazing, and invasive earthworms.

Lee E. Frelich is Director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology. He received a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1986. Frelich teaches courses in Forest Fire Ecology and Landscape Ecology on St.Paul Campus, and has advised 23 graduate students. Frelich has authored more than 110 publications with 90 coauthors from 14 countries, including major works for Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press. He is listed among the top 1% of all scientists in the world in the Thompson-Reuters Essential Science Indicators, Ecology and Environment Category. His research has been featured in the news media 400 times, including such venues as The New York Times and National Geographic. Frelich has provided consulting services on forest management for many government agencies, including The U.S. Army, Air Force, National Forest Service, National Park Service, and Departments of Natural Resources in several states. Current research interests include fire and wind in boreal forests, old-growth hemlock and maple forests, invasive earthworms in forests, deer and moose browsing, patterns of tree height, and impacts of climate change.


Wednesday October 8th
With a Shoebox and a Spoon!

Speaker: Bonnie Harper-Lore
Bonnie will describe gardens she has designed since age 12 and discuss what worked and what did not – lessons learned. Yes, she was a school teacher about 15 years and continues to learn from every garden, including one for her daughter begun this summer.

Bonnie’s interest in native plants began with her first wildflower garden at age 12. Following her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she taught ecological principles at the University of Minnesota; established MnDOT’s native wildflower program; designed residential native gardens; and oversaw the FHWA national wildflower program for 17 years. After retirement she taught sustainable landscaping through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the U of M. She is currently writing a native gardening book.


Top 30 Native Plants for your Garden
Speaker: Shirley Mah Kooyman
With rain falls being so unpredictable during the growing season, it makes sense to take a careful look at Minnesota native plants.  Remember the adage of “right plant, right place”.  Selected plants for different habitats will be discussed.

Shirley Mah Kooyman is a botanist with a specialty in plant taxonomy (plant names and identification), award-winning teacher, plant information specialist, and Vice-President of the MN Native Plant Society.

In February 2009 she received the Bruce Beresford Horticulture Educators Award from the MN State Horticultural Society.  She worked at the Arboretum for 25 years and was the Adult Education Manager there for 2 decades.  Currently she works as a Native Plant Specialist at Natural Shore Technologies, Inc. in Maple Plain.

She has lectured on numerous botanical and horticultural topics for various groups.  She has traveled widely around the world to study the area’s local flora and garden designs.


Wednesday May 7th
6 pm Social, 6:30 pm Program
Eden Prairie Library
565 Prairie Center Dr.
Eden Prairie, 55344

Native Plants For Minnesota Landscapes: Choosing the Right Plant for the Right Place

This talk details native plants for shaded woodlands, sunny upland sites and low-lying moist sites. Learn how to choose the right plant for the right place and why you want to maintain and incorporate natural components into your landscape. The role that native plants play in providing valuable habitat and food sources for wildlife including pollinators will also be discussed.


Wednesday April 9th
6 pm Social, 6:30 pm Program
Chanhassen Library, Chanhassen, MN

Maintaining Native Plant Landscapes
Speaker: Paul Erdmann
In a perfect world, native landscapes would be “maintenance free.” Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and our native plant landscapes need to be maintained. Come and learn management techniques and other tips to make your native area healthy, diverse, sustainable, and attractive. Paul will also discuss management of some common invasive plants, as well as some “new invasives” to watch out for.

Paul Erdmann is the Caretaker and Conservation Chair at the Bush Lake Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America. He maintains the Chapter’s 5 acre property on Bush Lake in Bloomington, working to restore native plants and to provide wildlife habitat. Prior to working for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in the Stormwater Program, Paul served as the Maintenance Manager at Natural Shore Technologies, an ecological restoration company and native plant nursery based in Maple Plain.


Wednesday March 12th
6 pm Social, 6:30 pm Program
Chanhassen Library, Chanhassen, MN

Botanical Wanderings
Speaker: Michael Lynch
Finding nature close to home and afield. Seeking inspiration from area native plant communities and enjoying the beauty of the natural world at the same time. What started as an effort to find out what the prairie really looked like turns into an exploration of nature and the environment.

Michael has found that exploring the Twin Cities diverse landscapes is a great source of ideas for the garden and helps to understand the history and future of Minnesota’s environment. Since then, he has sought to share his experiences with others and bring people out into the wild.

Join Michael’s Facebook group, Botanical Wanderings

Wednesday February 12th
6 pm Social, 6:30 pm Program
Chanhassen Library, Chanhassen, MN

Garlic Mustard

Invasive Weeds and Wild Nasties: Identification, Life Cycles & Control 
Speaker: Janet Van Sloun, City of Minnetonka, Natural Resources Restoration Specialist

There are those who would like to reduce landscape maintenance by letting part of their property “go natural”. In today’s world full of invasive species, this is a naive plan in an urban and suburban environment. Untended landscapes can lead to a property full of bad plants that can get you in trouble with your neighbors and the local weed inspector. Come to this workshop to learn what plants you want to get rid of in that un-maintained, “wild” area.

Restoration Specialist Janet Van Sloun has been working to restore native woodland habitats in Minnetonka city parks since 2006. She has been teaching plant identification since 1991 and invasive species workshops since 2002. Prior to her position in Minnetonka, Janet was an adjunct instructor for the University of Minnesota and Hennepin Technical College while she owned a small consulting business. She holds a B.S. degree in Urban & Community Forestry and minors in Horticulture and Forest Resources. She is also an ISA Certified Arborist.