Habitat restoration at Nature Center opens view

redbellied woodpecker cropped Sharon Somero

Visitors to the 127-acre Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley now enjoy more of the oak woodland, savanna, prairie, and wildlife within the popular city-owned park than they have in years.

Great River Greening has made significant progress on a multi-year habitat restoration of 66 acres, which called for removing invasives that comprised about 80% of the woody understory of the park. Prescribed burns will restore the health and vigor of native vegetation.

“You couldn’t see five feet,” said staff ecologist Todd Rexine of the buckthorn and exotic honeysuckle choking Springbrook’s forest and prairie. “Now it’s so open, last week, I saw three pileated woodpeckers, two red-bellied, and many smaller woodpeckers.”

A pristine urban refuge to discover the wonders of nature

Springbrook draws 180,000 visits every year; more than 15,000 are students – pre-k through college. Six hiking trails allow visitors to explore Beaver Pond, Springbrook Creek, and the surrounding natural areas. Park programs educate youth and adults about why and how to protect and preserve the natural environment.

This urban reserve is also a MN DNR-designated Important Bird Area.

An estimate 2,000 species live in or pass through the Nature Center each year. By banding birds and recording data, volunteers have worked over several decades to establish a long-term database of song birds in the middle of a major urban environment.

Nature Center Director Mike Maher said, “Springbrook Nature Center features a remarkable abundance of wildlife and plant diversity. Our setting makes a pristine natural experience accessible to visitors that may not otherwise have opportunities to discover the wonder and beauty of nature. This restoration project will make this experience possible for future generations and maintain the health and diversity of a vital natural area.”

Visit the park:
100 85th Ave NE, Fridley, MN 55432
(763) 572-3588

Major funding for this project comes from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund, City of Fridley, and Springbrook Nature Center Foundation.