Utilizing our restoration sites for research

Great River Greening volunteers have helped restore metro sites that are now healthy enough to be used for research in pollinators, forest ecology, and citizen engagement.

Our ecologists have teamed up with experts in these fields to conduct multi-year studies on a number of our restoration sites. In Lindstrom, volunteers planted trees for a climate resilience study in partnership with The University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology.

Link to event page

Studying Bur Oak Ecotypes for Climate Resilience

The oak tree is revered in Minnesota for its strength, shade cover, and longevity. But the slow growing acorn dropped from a Twin Cities’ tree today may not mature well in tomorrow’s Minnesota weather. Other, faster growing, often weedy, plants adapt quickly to change and can take over.

This study is aimed at discovering what we can do to help new trees to take root and thrive under extreme weather conditions. It will compare early year growth and survival of three ecotypes of bur oak – local, southern, and northwestern – planted in Lindstrom and three other metro site.

“We are looking at human‐assisted accelerated migration, to defend the oak from faster adapting plants. If we can determine which if any ecotype of bur oak fares better, it will inform and guide oak restoration throughout the state.”Great River greening ecologist Wiley Buck.

See our news posts on the other research projects:

  • Citizen Engagement for Pollinator Habitat Restoration and Monitoring
  • Prescribed Haying for Pollinators and Prairie

Bee Aware!

Bee experts and volunteers combed through acres of prairie restored by Great River Greening this summer, documenting bumble bee species and the flowers they prefer. It was the start of a three-year project with our partners, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and Maplewood Nature Center.


Making hay!

Great River Greening has been working in the South Washington Conservation Corridor (SWCC) since 2010 to restore 80 acres of natural greenway and public open space on the border of Woodbury and Cottage Grove. Research is a part of the restoration. In 2013, volunteers cast 120 different species of spring flowers and grasses, like prairie hay, to be mowed later for animal feed.