Project Profile: Pilot Knob Hill
A place of gathering, peace, and now research, Pilot Knob Hill is a beautiful natural space in Mendota Heights with 24-acres of rolling prairie and wooded forest overlooking the downtown skylines. The City of Mendota Heights purchased the property in 2005 to prevent developers from building on the site, and has committed to restoring Pilot Knob Hill to its native oak savannah habitat. Over the last ten years, Great River Greening and our 1,800+ volunteers have partnered to help in the transformation.
Innovation at Pilot Knob Hill
Great River Greening launched a conservation grazing project that uses sheep, goats and horses to restore degraded areas of Pilot Knob Hill. Conventional techniques, such as mowing and prescribed burning, fall short of the tremendous impact animals have on native vegetation. We are one of the only groups in the Twin Cities metro area to use grazing animals for restoration purposes – a truly remarkable innovation.
Great River Greening also hosts pollinator surveys at Pilot Knob Hill in partnership with The Xerces Society. Pollinators, including bumblebees, are critical to our food supply chain and vitally important to our existence. As a part of the surveys, volunteers catch, identify, and release bumblebees.
“The information we’ve gathered has provided excellent baseline data. We know which flower species are most beneficial to pollinators, blooming gaps in the season, and management practices that strengthen bumble bee habitat,” – Project Manager Wiley Buck.
In 2016, Great River Greening volunteers found nine species of bumblebees, three of which are extremely rare.
How You Can Help
Great River Greening relies on the generous support of our donors to restore degraded habitats like Pilot Knob Hill. Together, we’re changing more than 2,000 acres of land and water each year.
Keep us mind on November 17 during Give to the Max Day, and help us continue inspiring, engaging, and leading local communities in conserving and caring for the land and water that enrich our lives.