Journal archives for March 2019

March 20, 2019

Welcoming Spring -- City Nature Challenge 2019

Spring is in the air, although winter is hanging on by its fingertips not wanting to leave at the time of this writing. Still, temperatures in the 50s in the next couple of weeks should hurry things along. Red-winged blackbird males are showing up in the Twin Cities area to set up their territories and skunk cabbage is blooming along Minnehaha Creek and other marshy places. It won't be long before spring really takes hold and lots of things will start popping into their spring rituals.

Spring also brings thoughts of wandering the woods, wetlands, and shorelines of the mighty Mississippi and finding that new life to document in iNaturalist. It also brings the City Nature Challenge in which cities around the world compete to find the greatest diversity of life in their area. You can learn more about the City Nature Challenge at

Want to participate? There will be a number of different events around the Twin Cities, including the one sponsored by the National Park Service at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area's Coldwater Spring. Coldwater Spring is the site of the oldest U.S. settlement in Minnesota and the location that soldiers encamped while building Historic Fort Snelling. Learn more about the site at

Participants should arrive with a cell phone loaded with the iNaturalist app and an iNaturalist account, both of which are free. (The app is available from your store.) This combination works well for plants, tracks, and other signs of wildlife. Don't know how to use the app? We'll show you at the start of the program.

One can also upload photos through the website so having a regular digital camera with a macro or telephoto lens also works well, especially for insects and birds respectively. Using this combination, participants can upload their photos through the website and place a pin on a map to document their sightings. These programs are a great way to meet like-minded people, welcome spring, and just have some fun exploring either novel or familiar places.

Our event will be held on April 27 starting at 1:00 p.m. and will go as long as people hang around. Come for an hour, or come for the afternoon. Coldwater Spring's address is 5601 Minnehaha Park Dr S, St Paul, MN 55111 (GPS: 44.901602, -93.198256). Everyone is welcome, including families. We may even find some time for a short hike around the property and talk about its fascinating history.

Questions? Call Ranger Gordon at 651-293-8410. Leave a message and I'll get back to you.

Posted on March 20, 2019 14:56 by gordon_dietzman gordon_dietzman | 0 comments | Leave a comment