Minutes - 8/2008
Friday, August 01, 2008 12:15 PM

 1 

District 10 Environment Committee 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 

Attendees:  Mike MacDonald (Chair), Val Cunningham, Deb Robinson, Chet 

Mirocha, Betti Iwanski, Susan Jane Cheney 

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

Updates and reports 

1. Tree trek: 

Chet Mirocha reported that he had 16 (high school and college age) 

participants in the tour he led on Thursday, 7/31.  Chet plans to conduct 

tours next year. 

2. Como Pavilion native plant garden: 

Val Cunningham reported that 65 to 70 hours of volunteer time have been 

invested in the garden so far this year.  She and Sharon Shinomiya have 

been watering it regularly and the garden crew planted Little Bluestem 

obtained from the Ramsey County Correctional Facility on Sunday, August 

3rd.  Garden planners Erik and Molly will be adding shrubs, and Val will 

schedule a late fall clean-up session. 

3. Como Park bird list: 

Val consulted with Joan McKearnan and learned that Joan is not at a point 

where she can accept help with this project. 

4. Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom: 

Deb Robinson provided an update on the Como Woodland Outdoor 

Classroom: 

The third Comprehensive Site Plan review with Parks Design 

Staffer Bryan Murphy took place at the August 18th CWOC Advisory 

Group meeting.  Mike reported that Advisory Group Members and 

District 10 Board Members Sehoya Cotner and Matt Schmitt had 

presented a request for a letter of support from the District 10 

Board at last night’s (8/19) meeting and the Board referred it back 

to the Environment Committee.  The Committee approved the 

request and Mike will submit an action item at the September Board 

meeting. 

Funding possibilities were discussed.  Deb is planning to contact 

Senator Ellen Anderson about funding sources for restoration of 

historic features in the Woodland. 

Upcoming projects include the Fall Field Day on 9/19 – contact Deb 

to participate as a mentor – and the October 11th Buckthorn Bust, 

co-sponsored by the Environment Committee, for which Audubon 

and Toyota TogetherGreen grants may help with expenses.  Susan 

Jane will contact Renee Peek at the HHH Job Corps about 

participation. 

Announcements

2 

1. Mike announced that the Neighborhood Clean-up is scheduled for 

Saturday, September 20th.  Board Member Dennis O’Rourke is soliciting 

volunteers to direct traffic, collect fees, and assist at drop-off locations; 

shifts run from 7 - 10 a.m. and 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.  Anyone who helps out 

may dispose of their own stuff for free. 

2. Deb reported that she has learned from Meghan Manhatton that Parks 

Environmental Services has run out of funds for working on the Como 

shoreland this year.  Deb is investigating the feasibility of applying for a 

Mississippi Watershed Management Organization Stewardship Fund grant 

– possibly a mini-grant ($2000) to help finish up the Committee’s 

macroinvertebrate study.  She plans to attend an informational meeting on 

9/8. 

Review of 2008 goals / Discussion regarding 2009 goals 

Mike noted that the Committee has achieved 2008 goals with the exception of 

the upcoming buckthorn bust, Como Pool task force, and a project to educate 

neighborhood youth that might tie in with the neighborhood block club program. 

Betti Iwanski reported that she and Jess Roberts have been discussing ideas for 

an energy-related study the Committee might undertake and have been 

especially focusing on residential air sealing tests and remedial measures. 

Resources include MetroCerts (community energy resource teams), the Center 

for Energy and Environment (CEE), and the Neighborhood Energy Collective, 

which works with Xcel Energy on educational material.  Mike suggested that this 

would be a good topic for the speaker program discussed at the last meeting. 

Deb mentioned that she has been contacted by two teachers from the Great 

River School (Montessori Charter School on Energy Park Drive) interested in 

educational projects for 11th and 12th grade community service requirements; she 

will forward contact information to Betti and Jess.  Other possible lecture topics 

might include: geothermal home heating; insulated concrete form homes; and 

woodburning stoves, old fireplaces and particulates. 

Adjournment 

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 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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