February and March in Minnesota is sure to be sweet. Why? Because it’s maple syrup time! With the gently unthawing of the earth, the trees start to come out of hibernation. This means the sugars stored in their roots start to make their way up the trunk and out to all the branches to help unfurl little buds later in spring. During the rush upward and onward a delightful sap is created that we’ve enjoyed for a LONG time. Recorded events go back to 1557 (Learn More Here). Amazingly, we love it still to this day, maybe increasingly each year. Learn how to maple syrup or offer your knowledge by volunteering at one of the many upcoming events.
Looking for more sweet events? Check out the Dorothy Molter Memorial Snowmobile Ride in Ely. Don’t know Dorothy? She lived up in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and made her own rootbeer, thus became known as “The Rootbeer Lady.” She used ice from the lakes. If you visited BWCA back in the day as a Boy Scout or Girl Scout, you may have had the privilege of meeting her.
• Today you can visit the Dorothy Molter Museum
• Buy her rootbeer (and support the museum)
• Read more about this inspiring lady — she’s one tough Minnesotan!
As always, events here are free unless otherwise noted*. Enjoy!
FEB 05 – Last Day of St Paul Winter Carnival!
St Paul Winter Carnival
The state capitol’s annual winter celebration. Enjoy Saint Paul’s unique history and emerging heritage through fun and educational experiences, including ice sculptures, snow sculptures, winter Beer Dabbler, ice skating, outdoor music, parades, cat shows, and more. Come on out and see what Minnesota does in the thick of winter when all the land is a frozen tundra. Once you leave, you’ll have new “winter goggles” — kind of like rose-colored glasses but special for surviving and even growing to appreciate below-weather winters in MN. Suit up and head out! Visit the website for more info.
FEB 02 – 12
Ely Winter Festival
Over the years, activities such as a crafts fair, musical concerts, Sled Dog Rides, and several food events have become part of the festivities. See the full list of events at the official Ely Winter Festival website.
Seed Packaging Event: White Bear Seed Library
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm This is an open event, so stop by when you can. Also, during this time Pam Frink will demonstrate the ‘Winter Sowing’ method you can use to get a head start on starting seeds. We will be packaging heirloom seeds. Seed packaging is very easy, no experience necessary and older children can certainly help too. Also, consider donating a packet of fresh seeds to the seed library. We really could use non-hybrid tomato, peas, beans, lettuce and sweet pepper seeds. The first year of the seed library we had people take over 500 packets of seeds! We hope to continue to build on this success with your help.
Ramsey County Library, White Bear Lake (2150 2nd Street, White Bear Lake)
Native Plants for Birds
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Over a 3 year period Michelle converted her Richfield yard of mostly sod to a vibrant landscape with 70% native plants and no more grass to mow. She will take us on a photographic journey of the changes made and the resulting biodiversity of life that found its way into her garden including more songbirds. It’s like a chapter right out of Douglas Tallamy’s book, Bringing Nature Home. Michelle is an amateur gardener and photographer and was inspired by her work at The Nature Conservancy to preserve biodiversity and decided to extend their mission into her own back yard.
Fairview Community Education Center (1910 County Road B West, Roseville)
NATURE-DEFICIT DISORDER AND THE NEW NATURE MOVEMENT — Dodge Nature Center 50th Anniversary Event
7:30 p.m. Learn how to nourish your life with nature. Richard Louv is an internationally renowned journalist and author whose work, including the books Last Child in the Woods and Vitamin N, are at the center of a movement to connect people nature. He will discuss alienation from nature and the remedy for it. Join us for an extraordinary evening of ideas in celebration of Dodge Nature Center’s 50th Anniversary. Book signing and guests speakers to follow. For ticket information visit DodgeNatureCenter.org
Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul, MN
Nature Playdate: Frozen Pond Romp*
10-11:15 a.m. Cost: $7 per child; Dodge naturalists make spending time in nature easy by providing new experiences each month. This is a sensory early childhood experience to play and explore our featured nature theme. Please come dressed for the weather. Designed for Pre-K. Ages 2 and under are also welcome to come play. All children must be accompanied by their adult. Pre-registration required. 651-455-4531, DodgeNatureCenter.org
Dodge Nature Center (Farm Entrance 3, 1701 Charlton St., West St. Paul)
Design with Nature Conference*
9 AM – 4:30 PM, $15 Wild Ones Annual Design With Nature Conference has been growing along with advancement of both the design and practice of naturalized landscapes.The conference offers insights into topics impacting the native plant movement, always encouraging us to embrace the connection of native plants to the ecological health of our communities. More info at Design With Nature.
James B. Woulfe Hall. Anderson Student Center, St. Paul Campus University of St. Thomas (2115 Summit Avenue – St. Paul)
Cooking with Maple Syrup
10-11:30 a.m. Maple sweetness isn’t just for pancakes. From practicing techniques for candy making to creating your own recipe for Asian maple stir fry, this class will test your notion of what maple syrup can be. For adults and youth 16+. Cost: $9 per person, 651-455-4531, DodgeNatureCenter.org
Dodge Nature Center (Farm Entrance 3, 1701 Charlton St., West St. Paul)
Afton State Park Orienteering Meet*
11 AM – 1:30 PM Pre-registered Pricing: $11: Adults, $10: Juniors (Day-Of Pricing: $15: Adults, $13: Juniors). The course will be a 90-minute Score-O with a mass-start. Grand oaks and delicate prairie flowers grace the rugged, rolling landscape of this park. Trails traverse remnant and restored prairies, wind down deep ravines and rise up to the grassy ridgetops and bluffs overlooking the scenic St. Croix River. The trails are perfect for hikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. The park offers visitors a swimming beach, backpack campsites and a visitor center with interpretive displays. (Event Shown in Featured Photo)
MNOC – Other Events Open for Registration Now, Visit: mnoc.org/events
FREE Emerald Ash Borer Field Workshops
Hour-long workshops begin each day at 9 am, 10:30 am, and 1:30 pm. Minnesota Department of Agriculture staff will be leading FREE emerald ash borer (EAB) field workshops in Rochester February 21-24, the Twin Cities Metro area February 27-March 3, and the Duluth area March 7-9. The workshops will provide an opportunity to get a firsthand look at EAB-infested trees and will help attendee’s become familiar with early detection. General EAB biology, distribution, management and regulations will also be covered. Workshops are provided free of charge with support from the US Forest Service. Sign up using the online registration form, by e-mail Jennifer.Burington@state.mn.us, or by phone at 651-201-6097. Maps and instructions will be provided with registration confirmation.
For on the fly and regular updates on the latest activities, volunteer opportunities, and more — Follow MN Nature on Facebook