Invasive Species in Elm Creek Park Reserve

Osseo, MN, United States; Champlin, MN, United States
Est. 4.6km / 1 hr 26 mins / Map

Invasive Species in Elm Creek Park Reserve - Cya On The Road

Imagine this: the year’s 2050. Parks as you knew them- national, state, and local ones, have all been shut down. Tourism is a thing of the past. What you see is a tragedy- the loss of wildlife and their habitats. But what you didn’t see were the invasive plants and animals that harmed the parks over time.That obviously is not our reality- yet. And I say yet because it can be, that is, if we don’t control invasive species. Good afternoon visitors, my name is Panache Matemba, and today I will be walking you through a guided tour of invasive species in a Minnesota land reserve. Invasive species are the exotic organisms that enter an area and interact with the native flora and fauna. Unfortunately, the damages caused by these invading species are so extensive that some habitats are undergoing irreversible changes. So, the question we will explore on our tour today is, how are invasive species impacting our ecosystems? Also, at each stop I encourage you to think about your role as a steward of the land. How can you be of service to our native species and protect them from these invasions? Think critically about human relationships with different ecosystems.But first, a little history lesson on today’s field site: as many of you know, Elm Creek Park Reserve is a 4900 acre park located in Hennepin County, Minnesota. If you’ve been here before, you know that the reserve is a popular destination for the outdoorsy folk in the area. Offering the landscape and resources for activities year round, it’s a local hot spot for swimming, hiking, bird watching, and even skiing. Nevertheless, the park is currently experiencing a species invasion that puts many of these recreational activities at risk. According to the Three Rivers Park District, Elm Creek is host to dozens of species of plants, animals and diseases that have shown some degree of invasiveness, and there are signs of more potential invaders on the horizon. On this tour, we will examine a small sample of different species at various stops in the park and explore the ways in which they are impacting the ecosystems. We’re first going to head over to the visitor’s center, where we’ll learn about the invasive worm species in the park’s wooded areas. After that, I hope you brought snacks- because we’ll be making our way over to the picnic area to talk about the Emerald Ash Borer- an invasive insect that’s harming our trees. Then, we’ll hop in a pontoon and explore Mud Lake, where we’ll chat about the infamous zebra mussels. For our fourth stop, we’ll visit the Goose lake Wetlands to see how the cattail plant is wreaking havoc on the park’s marshlands. Finally, we’ll wrap the tour in the Off-Leash-Dog Park for an overview of invasive trees and the importance of protecting our fields. Sounds cool? Alright everyone! Let’s get started.

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