Climate change has and will have profound effects on Minnesota’s economy, agriculture, tourism, and natural resources. While climate change is often discussed in the broader contexts of its potential impacts at a national or international level, research has shown that climate change education and behavior change happens more effectively when the issue is made local and relevant.
The average Minnesotan and even most natural resource managers are not skilled in plant identification, yet the ability to positively identify plants is crucial to a number of conservation activities, including identifying areas that need protection, recognizing new or existing invasive species, monitoring restoration projects, and delineating wetlands. The Minnesota Wildflowers project attempts to fill this need with a free web-based field guide ultimately aimed at providing profiles for each of the over 2,100 vascular plant species in Minnesota.
A state Breeding Bird Atlas is a comprehensive systematic field survey of the occurrence, distribution, diversity, and breeding status of bird species within every region of a state. Atlases are mainly used to set conservation priorities, develop conservation plans, and guide habitat protection, restoration, and management efforts – in addition to being useful for recreational bird watching. Minnesota is one of only seven states in the country that has yet to complete a Breeding Bird Atlas.
Pollinators play a key role in ecosystem function and in agriculture, including thousands of native plants and more than one hundred U.S. crops that either need or benefit from pollinators. However, pollinators are in dramatic decline in Minnesota and throughout the country. The causes of the decline are not completely understood, but identified factors include loss of nesting sites, fewer flowers, increased disease, and increased pesticide use.
The Arts and Access Programs include three major initiatives: 1. Arts and access programming at Minnesota Children’s Museum-Rochester 2. Creativity Jam Exhibit; and 3. Storyland Tour of Greater Minnesota.
Ampers is partnering with the Minnesota Humanities Center to expand the “Veterans’ Voices” project. Focused on widening the narrative surrounding Minnesota’s service members, this series will feature 25 different Veterans and will explore their knowledge, experience and leadership, from their perspectives, and in their own voices. Ampers will produce and distribute 25 different 90-second segments.
Over the past several years six environmental learning centers located around the state - Audubon Center of the North Woods, Deep Portage Learning Center, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, Laurentian Environmental Learning Center, Long Lake Conservation Center and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center – have been implementing demonstrations of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy on their campuses for use as educational tools for the thousands of students and visitors that come to the centers each year.
There has been a sharp decline in participation in outdoor recreation and education amongst youth, particularly in urban areas. Some argue that youth who have meaningful outdoor education experiences are more likely to become engaged in environmental stewardship and invested in outdoor resources as adults.
The Metropolitan Council, in conjunction with CDM Smith and HKGi consultants, reorganized and expanded the water conservation tools on the water supply planning pages of the Metropolitan Council’s website. The revised toolbox was organized into an online, web-based guide format. These tools are supplemented with fact sheets and case studies that serve to educate and provide useful information to support water conservation programs and activities.
Minnesota has widespread water quality impairments due to nonpoint-source pollution generated by agricultural, urban, and other human-altered lands. Mitigation of these impairments requires implementing best management practices (BMPs) that are designed to limit soil erosion and nutrient transport from lands to receiving waters. Long-term data sets of water quality and land-use history are needed to tease apart the many factors that affect water quality. In particular, data sets that span periods before and after BMP implementation are needed to determine BMP effectiveness.