Minutes - 10/2009


District 10 Environment Committee

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Attendees:  Val Cunningham, Sharon Shinomiya, Chet Mirocha, Deb Robinson,   Steve Greenwood, Mike MacDonald, Susan Jane Cheney

Committee Chair Mike MacDonald called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

September meeting minutes were approved. 


Buckthorn bust

Deb reported on arrangements for the bust:  Parks staff Nate and Alison will be present and have arranged for two crew leaders from the Youth Conservation Corps; the City will provide water and a port-a-potty; brush will be hauled to two sites near the woodland; Deb will provide cider, coffee, pretzels and cookies; Mike will bring hot water and hot chocolate; Susan Jane will prepare a sign-up sheet and supply trash bags for alternative activities -- litter pick-up and burdock seed head cuttings.    


Lecture series

Discussion continued regarding effective publicity, such as different organizations’ websites and newsletters, for stimulating community interest in lectures.  Garden clubs were suggested.  Potential hot topics will be addressed at the next meeting.  Note:  Erik Olsen will be presenting the first in a series of gardening talks, “Putting Your Garden to Bed,” November 8th at the Java Train, 7:00 p.m.  Future events include: Winter Gardening and resources for the gardener (January), Plan Your Garden workshop (March), Digging In, It’s Safe to Plant (May), Garden Tour (July), and Harvest Potluck and Recipe Exchange (September). 


Urban tree work

  • Chet reported on his survey of notable trees in the Midway Parkway area, for example, the silver maple in Dennis and Molly O’Rourke’s backyard.  He stressed reinforcing a positive public valuation of trees and suggested a hand-delivered letter of commendation to homeowners.  Chet will continue to inventory special trees in the neighborhood and park.
  • Deb shared the city-wide magnificent tree program criteria list prepared by St. Paul arborist Carl Mueller and suggested that the Committee might collaborate with the City.
  • Mike proposed that future discussion focus on developing Committee criteria for trees which will determine who receives awards and why and identifying who will decide on awards.
  • Val suggested preparing a flyer on the benefits of trees
  • Other suggestions included soliciting nominations for trees of significance through an e-blast and newsletter and posting a nomination form and photos of nominated trees on the District website.            




Neighborhood focus on runoff

Mike proposed that the Committee consider collaborating with the Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) and a new neighborhood group, led by Janna Caywood, which has formed to focus on Como Lake water quality, on a study of residential stormwater Best Management Projects (BMPS).  Les Everett has advocated inclusion of a control group to provide a means of measurement.  Mike will meet with Janna and Elizabeth Beckman and Bob Fossum at the CRWD to discuss the project.  Val will look into a program regarding alley garden awards in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood. 


Como Park Arboretum

Mike conveyed another suggestion from Les to explore the possibility that the City designate Como Park an arboretum.  Area nurseries might be inspired to donate specimen trees to an “arboretum in the park.” 


“Audubon Woods” information

Deb reported on research by Sally Worku regarding the Como Park woodland area presently used primarily by Parks & Rec for storage known as “Audubon Woods,” which revealed that this parcel was dedicated in 1952.  


Ash removal on California Avenue

Deb, a member of the St. Paul Tree Advisory Board, will obtain details of the pilot Ash removal project slated for the first two blocks of California Avenue east of Lexington.


Residential buckthorn

A residential buckthorn identification session will take place on Saturday, October 31st.  To participate, meet at Susan Jane’s at 1:00 p.m. 



The meeting adjourned at about 8:45 p.m.

[Meeting summary prepared by Susan Jane Cheney]


District 10 Como Community Council | 1224 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55103 | 651.644.3889 | district10 [at] district10comopark.org

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