Arbor Day events put the community to work to save a city forest
(April 23, 2019) This Arbor Day weekend, 260 Rosemount High School students and 80 community members joined Great River Greening, over two days, in volunteer restoration events aimed at overcoming the buckthorn that is currently destroying Carroll’s Woods/Schwarz Pond Park. The city park, located right behind the school, is favored for its forest habitat and recreation opportunities.
Both groups will cut and haul buckthorn or pull and bag garlic mustard – depending on conditions of each of these plants.
Great River Greening Ecologist Becca Tucker said: “The buckthorn dominates the understory of the park. It is so established that the shrub plants are tree-like. Removing it will give new life to the area, bringing with it birds, pollinators, and healthy soil that will protect the pond from storm water runoff.”
The events are the result of a partnership Great River Greening began with Rosemount, in 2018, to implement an extensive management plan the city commissioned for the natural area.
Carroll’s Woods/Schwarz Pond Park is an important community park featuring 107 acres of secluded woodland with trails, a pond, and family-friendly play areas.
Much of the management plan focuses on buckthorn removal, which is severely the diminishing plant diversity, wildlife, and the hiking experience.
Rosemount’s population has grown from 8,700 to 21,000 in 20 years, and is expected to reach 30,000 by 2040. As the city looks to its future, preserving its existing natural areas is a top concern.
Urban natural areas promote well-being, according to studies by the World Health Organization. They also play a critical role in cooling cities and provide space for community building.
With 75% of Minnesotans living in a city, these benefits are substantial. That number is projected to grow by 2040–creating more need for accessible, healthy parks and public lands, wetland buffers, and greenbelts on the edge of towns.
Yet, many cities struggle to protect their parks and public lands from invasive plants, erosion, and biodiversity loss. Some lack the expertise on staff while others simply don’t have the financial resources to protect against further decline.
Great River Greening fills the gap for many of these communities. For more than 50 sites, annually, GRG provides resources, expertise, and engagement opportunities to transform degraded habitat into healthy, vibrant areas.
Funding is provided for by the City of Rosemount, Dakota County’s Environmental Legacy Fund, and Lessard‐Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund