Love Water Not Oil Riders Make a Stop on Campus

On Friday, August 3rd, the Honor the Earth Riders made a stop on their journey west to east, trailing where a proposed oil pipeline is scheduled to be laid. With much delicious food and lots of uproarious music, the group made their stop on campus for their third straight year. You can find out more on their site, http://www.honorearth.org.

bannersetup

Honor the Earth is a group that brings awareness to the way water is used. They are currently dedicated to stopping any oil line going through their lands.

tuningup

Kerri, from the Celtic duo Sister Tree, takes a moment to tune her fiddle before playing.

dinnercrowd

A potluck dinner brought people from all around.

horsearc

Protesters ride their horses along the proposed pipeline location to draw awareness to how delicate in which our water ecosystem lies.

sistertree

Kerri and Dee of Sister Tree brought the beat and harmony

womantanktop

There was plenty to do and see at the concert.

discussions

Citizens were engaged with discussion and dialogue concerning all sorts of things.

 

Introduction To Camping: Car Camping

In my opinion, this is definitely the place to start. It can be done with relatively little investment (so you can decide if camping is for you before you go all in) and it can be done with relatively little risk (which can increase with wilderness camping). When I say car camping, I don’t mean sleeping in your car, although that is an option some people choose. I mean you drive your car and park it at your campsite, cabin, yurt, or other camp lodging option, allowing you to bring some luxuries along that wilderness camping does not.

DSCN5299

Not exactly packing “light”

Continue reading

An Introduction to Camping: The Why & The Where

campfire

We’re talking about camping all this month here at HDT. It’s a great time to squeeze in that last minute camping trip with the family before the school year starts, a trip with your best pals, or a solo trip all by yourself! Whoever is involved, it’s one last time to relax in your hammock, lounge at the beach, get your heart beating on a hike, or hang around the campfire while enjoying the summer weather. Time in nature has a multitude of mental, physical and emotional health benefits. You can read all about them in our previous blog. But to sum it up, time in nature helps us hit the reset. It’s a chance to relax, unplug from our screens, clear our minds, analyze life’s challenges with a different perspective, and to appreciate all the natural beauty in the world around us.

“Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.”

– Sigurd Olson

20170815_203602.jpg

For folks who are relatively new to the world of camping, it can be a little overwhelming as there are endless ways to camp! There are public campgrounds and private campgrounds; state parks, national parks, and regional parks; you could camp in a tent, RV, yurt, or cabin; you can get to your campsite by car, boat, bikes, horses, feet, and probably a few other ways I haven’t been creative enough to think of. Even once you decide what type of camping is for you, you have to decide where to go, what to bring, how to select your site, what safety precautions to consider, what you’re going to eat and how to keep yourself entertained once you’ve arrived. It’s all a lot to consider, but we’re going to try our best to walk you through it in this month’s blog post! The first thing you have to decide is where you’re going to go. Continue reading

Turtle Talks Podcast – Episode 10: Your Summer Appetizer 3

We love taking the time from planting, harvesting, weeding, and maintaining our garden and grounds to talk on camera. Sometimes, it’s a well-planned and methodical back and forth between speakers. Other times, like this episode, it’s a loosey-goosey and chaotic back and forth between speakers.

We discuss the current CSA shares, Colin gives parsley a try, we talk about the winter cover crops, and what we do with rabbits in our “rabbit-proof” garden. A real fun episode to make. Hope you enjoy.

Eco Camp – 3 Down, 1 to Go!

2018 was designated the Year of the Bird by the National Audubon Society, so Birds of a Feather seemed like a natural theme for this year’s Eco Camp. With August now upon us, we have just one camp left. Our first three camps were a huge success and so much fun was had by all!

There are favorite activities that we do every year with each group. The week always starts with introductions, making name buttons, and tie-dying our themed t-shirts. This year, each group also made a version of the bird that was their mascot for the week to put up on our Eco Camp wall.

IMG_0144.JPG

For the second year, we were able to take our three oldest groups to the lake! This was a great day with swimming, kayaking, yard games, and jumping off the dock. Each week ends with the campers’ family and friends gathering Friday afternoon to see what the kids have been doing all week. The campers turn into the counselors, with an opportunity to teach their families all about campus and the weeks’ activities!

1st-2nd Grade – Nature Nuthatches

Our 14 Nature Nuthatches were a lively group that made every day fun and exciting! We started camp with a tour of campus, our favorite snack – Moose Lips, a bird banding activity where the campers made a band, in this case, a bracelet, which helped us identify certain facts about each camper, and wrapped up with the ever-popular papermaking.

IMG_3288DSCN2472IMG_3489

The week continued with homemade bath bombs, bird Olympics, and a nature walk. Each camp takes a field trip, so our 1st and 2nd graders went up to Paws and Claws Animal Rescue in Hackensack where they toured the facility, met and played with some of the furry residents, made chew toys from recycling for the cats and dogs, and learned about the building’s solar installation. We also stopped at the park in town for lunch and some play time.

3rd-4th Grade – Sustainable Sparrows

This camp had 12 girls and only 2 boys, although that didn’t seem to bother them at all! The campers got crafty using recyclable items such as toilet paper tubes and cereal boxes to make their own cardboard creations, which were so fun to see. The week continued with a Venn diagram activity about reptiles and amphibians, and a lesson on raptors followed by Nightstalker, a game about owls and prey.

For their field trip, we traveled down to Northland Arboretum in Brainerd. We started our day there with a bird walk led by local birder Judd Brink. The campers helped Judd check the bluebird nesting boxes that he monitors and spied many different birds along the way. After lunch on the porch, we learned about some different animal tracks, then took a walk to see what tracks we could find. Before we returned to campus we went on a tree id scavenger hunt in the woods.

5th-6th Grade – Conserving Chickadees

This oldest group of campers were an incredibly fun-loving, considerate, and helpful bunch! After a lesson on true flight vs. gliding, the kids designed gliders which we tested out by throwing them off the living roof of the mani shop. We ventured to the roof the next day, as well, after the campers, working in groups, designed a vessel to keep an egg from breaking when dropped from the roof. With the age of this group, we were also able to walk to town, geocaching along the way, then fish at the dam with pop can fishing reels we made earlier that morning.

We headed to Deep Portage Learning Center in Hackensack for this field trip. Once there, we ventured to the rock wall where the campers tried their hand at climbing. After lunch, we walked to a small lake where we honed our paddling skills in canoes. While out there, we saw lots of bugs, fish, and even some turtles. From there, we climbed the observation tower for an amazing view of the countryside, with some of the campers overcoming their fear of heights to get to the top!

Our final PreK-Kindergarten camp starts on Monday and more fun is sure to be had!

Happy National Blueberry Month

The official Minnesota State Muffin is the blueberry muffin. Almost anyone who lives in the north star state can recite this fact. It’s simply because blueberries are awesome.

It’s true.

In fact, all the way back in 2003 (two years before YouTube, even!) the US Department of Agriculture declared that July would be the month of the blueberry. And, why not! These little guys pack tons of flavor in their tiny bodies. They’re also high in vitamins and nutrients a body needs. So, it’s not even that bad when you help yourself to a couple containers.

basketblberry

Aren’t they beautiful?!

Continue reading

Eating Healthy, Shopping Locally

Finding the time and money to eat healthy has been a problem ever since the microwave was invented. So, I’ve put together a short list of ways to make organic eating a habit. Also, there are several links of local resources where you can learn more about eating organically.

1) Buy from your local farmers market.

There are so many great deals at farmers markets. You can find local meats, cheeses, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and many other goodies in one place. The food is fresh and grown locally and you have direct access to the farmers where you can ask questions about how they grow their food. They usually start in may but the best selection becomes available as the growing season gets into full swing. Farmers markets usually last through September in this area. Plus, if you’re on EBT (SNAP/Food Stamps) many markets will accept them. The Lakes Area Growers Market in Brainerd, the Pine River Market Square in Pine River, and the Onamia Area Farmers Market are great places to get started locally.

tomatoesfarmersmarket

Eating healthy is easy when you’ve got delicious food to choose from.

2) Buy into a CSA.

A CSA is a community-supported agriculture program. Every week you will get a new box of fresh produce (often delivered directly to your door!) Variety is good. You’ll get so many different fruits and veggies that you never would normally purchase. I’ve even heard of CSA programs actually providing recipes and cookbooks with their produce in an effort to give the buyer an idea of how to prepare with the different produce. This is a great way to experiment with different varieties and eat produce that you wouldn’t be as used to. There are so many ways to choose which CSA you’d like to invest in, so go to Minnesota Grown to pare down what you want and where to sign up.

Continue reading

Turtle Talks Podcast – Episode 9: Your Summer Appetizer 2 (Agroforestry)

 

podcastgroupsmalledits

This is the Garden Crew Podcast team. Not pictured: Colin M, who does whatever he can to keep his hands as clean as possible.

In this week’s episode, we talk about the different ways you can incorporate trees and woody shrubs into your garden or farm. This is called “Agroforestry,” and has five different methods to use.

  1. Alley Cropping
  2. Riparian Buffers
  3. Silvopasture
  4. Windbreaks
  5. Forest Farming

HDT is using two methods (alley cropping and forest farming) and will introduce a silvopasture method next year. You can read more about our attempts in Allison’s recap of her trip to the Agroforestry Institute, OR you can listen about it right here. 🙂

Continue reading

Take Time To Recharge (In The Great Outdoors!)

20180613_205419

During the first week of June, I left for a 10 day adventure in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). This was the third annual trip I’ve taken with a friend of mine, Bry. Although traveling is one of my favorite pastimes and I am always careful to carve time out of my busy schedule for trips, the annual Boundary Waters Trip holds a special place in my heart. From the moment my paddle hits the water, I’m enchanted by the mesmerizing colors and reflections in the endless waters. The dark water against the bright blue sky, with the light green of the new leaves of the deciduous trees blending with the dark greens of the conifers, and the sunlight making it all sparkle just so – it captivates my attention, letting all my worries from the “real world” slip away.

DSCN4483

Continue reading

HDT and Agroforestry

On June 19th, fifteen forestry, conservation, and agricultural professionals gathered at the U of M Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton, MN. This lucky gardener, from a plucky little non-profit in North Central MN with a mission in sustainability, was excited to be among them. We were all ready for a 3-day intensive workshop on agroforestry.

FullSizeR

Community food forest in Mountain Lake

Agroforestry: Intensive land-use management that optimizes the benefits (physical, biological, ecological, economic, social) from biophysical interactions created when trees and/or shrubs are deliberately combined with crops and/or livestock.  

IMG_1037

Forest Farming shiitake mushrooms

Continue reading