Zoo Site and Habitat and Landscape

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$116,576
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$131,729
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Recipient
Minnesota Zoo
Status
In Progress
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws 2011, 1st Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 4, section 2, Subdivision 7
Appropriation Language

Laws 2011, 1st Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 4, section 2, Subdivision 7, appropriates $1,500,000 in each year of the FY12-13 biennium to the Minnesota Zoological Board “for programmatic development of the Minnesota Zoo.”

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$116,576
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.5
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

A Zoo site plan has already been developed. In the long run, the steps that are called out in the Plan will be reviewed and a work plan put in place to aid restoration efforts across the Zoo. With the plan, the Zoo will be able to leverage our restoration efforts with money from other sources, i.e. the DNR’s Woody Biomass project, which would help fund the removal of invasive species portion of the Plan. The Zoo will then concentrate on native plantings, and other aspects of restoring the landscape.We will measure the number of volunteers recruited for the prairie project, and number of classes/tours using the prairie trails.The Minnesota Zoo has existing partnerships with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Pheasants Forever (PF), and the MN Prairie Chicken Society (MPCS).  Each of these groups has a strong history restoring and/or enhancing grassland habitat across western Minnesota.  These groups will be leveraged to assist the Zoo’s efforts to raise the public’s awareness of the importance of prairies and prairie wildlife.   

Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws 2011, 1st Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 4, section 2, Subdivision 7
Appropriation Language

Laws 2011, 1st Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 4, section 2, Subdivision 7, appropriates $1,500,000 in each year of the FY12-13 biennium to the Minnesota Zoological Board “for programmatic development of the Minnesota Zoo.”

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$131,729
Other Funds Leveraged
$15,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
1
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

The plan will be developed by June 2012. In the long run, the steps that are called out in the Plan will be reviewed and a work plan put in place to aid restoration efforts across the Zoo. With the plan, the Zoo will be able to leverage our restoration efforts with money from other sources, i.e. the DNR’s Woody Biomass project, which would help fund the removal of invasive species portion of the Plan. The Zoo will then concentrate on native plantings, and other aspects of restoring the landscape. We will measure the number of volunteers recruited for the prairie project, and number of classes/tours using the prairie trails. The Minnesota Zoo has existing partnerships with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Pheasants Forever (PF), and the MN Prairie Chicken Society (MPCS). Each of these groups has a strong history restoring and/or enhancing grassland habitat across western Minnesota. These groups will be leveraged to assist the Zoo’s efforts to raise the public’s awareness of the importance of prairies and prairie wildlife.

Source of Additional Funds

Private funding

Project Overview

Looking at Minnesota’s heritage of land stewardship, preservation and restoration, Legacy funding is allowing the Zoo to use our 485 acres to demonstrate these practices and educate the public.

An overall site plan has been developed. We have accelerated our buckthorn removal on site. We are also in the process of developing a demonstration prairie plot which will provide the opportunity for Zoo guests to connect with this rare and important part of Minnesota’s natural history.

The prairie project is rehabilitating the mown, dysfunctional parking lot berms to represent one of the three biomes that covered pre-settlement Minnesota.

The Zoo prairie demonstrates plants of the short grass prairies. The prairie itself is largely in place, and will continue to develop over time. The Zoo will place graphics adjacent to areas where the visitors congregate as they approach the entrance. These signs will discuss prairie ecology, certain species of plants and animals in the prairie, the status of today’s prairie in Minnesota and the Midwest compared to their historical range, as well as discuss modern prairie conservation and the agencies/NGOs that are most active in this work. There will be a few paths for people to enter into the actual prairie without trampling the vegetation. These trails will allow visitors, especially children, to go further into the prairie. In the late summer, children can look up at the grasses and feel a sense of immersion in the prairie. The smallest and most inconspicuous species will be planted along the trail where they are easiest for the tours to see.

These trails will also be used by volunteers who are involved in some of the upkeep of the prairie plot during the growing season. Volunteers will be recruited from a variety of sources including the over 1100 Minnesota Zoo adult and teen volunteers, local Pheasants Forever chapters, the School of Environmental Studies, the Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Club for teens and other organizations and clubs interested in volunteering to support conservation efforts at the Zoo. These volunteers will be coordinated by Zoo education staff and Zoo volunteers that are also Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteers.

Project Manager
First Name
Mary
Last Name
Robison
Organization Name
Minnesota Zoo
Street Address
13000 Zoo Boulevard
City
Apple Valley
State
Minnesota
Zip Code
55124
Phone
952-431-9469
Email
mary.robison@state.mn.us