District 10 Environment Committee
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Attendees: Val Cunningham, Sharon Shinomiya, Chet Mirocha, Becky Cline, Bob Hale, Betti Iwanski, Sally Worku, Nick Smith (District 10 Intern), Susan Jane Cheney
Val Cunningham, sitting in for Committee Chair Mike MacDonald, called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
December 2009 meeting minutes were approved.
Update on tree appreciation program
- Val provided notes of her meeting with Sharon Shinomiya and Chet Mirocha regarding the project, which will be a two-pronged effort focusing on residential area trees and Como Park trees. The report included a list of selection criteria for trees to be recognized and a tentative time line for producing or procuring a “Benefits of Trees” brochure, preparation of awards, selection of trees (three, including one in each sub-district of District 10), and possibly holding tree seedling swaps to provide free trees to interested residents. Further considerations of the project were discussed.
- Chet will contact Cy Kosel (St. Paul Parks and Recreation) for permission to install tree identification tags in the Park.
- Val, Sharon, and Chet will identify notable trees in District 1. Susan Jane Cheney and Becky Cline will begin evaluating trees for recognition in Sub-districts 2 and 3. Becky also is checking into funding sources for brochures, award materials, and possibly tree seedlings.
Update on grants
- Betti Iwanski reported on the $3000 CERTS (Clean Energy Resource Teams) grant the CHEEP (Como Park Home Energy Efficiency Program) project has received for funding creation of a data base that will incorporate different ways to illustrate energy use (by the month, season, etc.). District 10 Intern Nick Smith will provide assistance to the project. About a dozen of the 14 to16 participating families in the pilot group have had audits and subsequent work done on their homes. Becky reported on her audit by the Neighborhood Energy Connection that turned up interesting discoveries with easy fixes. Participants will check their own utility bills and enter data into the base. Committee member Jess Roberts has prepared a refined mission statement and sent out an information update. The group will meet soon to share experiences. An interim project report is due on June 30th.
- Becky Cline provided updates on other grant possibilities:
- Fiskars grants (up to $2000 for gardening tools and equipment for gardening projects) appears to be particularly appropriate for the Lakeside Pavilion native plant garden, which the Committee maintains. Becky will prepare a proposal for a “tool library” for this project to submit next month.
- Proposals for the next round of Captain Planet Foundation grants ($250 - $2500 for hands-on environmental projects) are due in March. Becky may collaborate with the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom (CWOC) on this funding possibility.
Capitol Region Watershed District report (CRWD)
Val conveyed a report from Citizen Advisory Committee member Mike MacDonald that the CRWD is conducting a groundwater study in the vicinity of St. Kate University to determine the source of flooding complaints by residents of the area. An infiltration raingarden may provide a solution to this drainage problem. She advised checking the CRWD website (www.capitolregionwd.org) for more on this as well as information about public review of the proposed Watershed Management Plan.
St. Paul arboretum update
Chet reported that he had visited Horton Park, designated as a St. Paul arboretum. He noted that Black (Austrian) Pines are the predominant tree species and speculated that the City may have had a plan which was not fully implemented.
Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom report
Susan Jane Cheney gave a brief report on the most recent Woodland Advisory Committee meeting, held on 12/28/09. Discussion focused on review of the LCCMR grant, website redesign, next steps in application for School Forest status and Fall 2010 teacher training, and other potential grants for the project. Visit the CWOC website (www.comowoodland.org) for more information.
2010 rain barrel workshop discussion
A new source of funding will be required for this project.
1. Bob Hale reported on a meeting he attended regarding transforming a wooded 16-acre Frogtown site currently owned by the Wilder Foundation into a garden demonstration center, including orchards, vineyards and chicken coops. Bob also inquired about the existence of community gardens within District 10. Sharon mentioned the public gardens maintained by volunteers along Midway Parkway. Sally noted the garden plots along the east side of Snelling and suggested that the City may assist in locating garden sites.
2. Val brought up a request for assistance from District 10 Board Member Delores Rufenacht in relocating a 7-year-old oak tree which straddles her home sewer line to Tilden Park. She is asking for the Committee’s help in obtaining St. Paul Parks & Recreation and Forestry Department approval for this replanting. Val will refer this matter to Mike MacDonald for further action.
The meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.
[Meeting summary prepared by Susan Jane Cheney]