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.
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.
Forest Farming shiitake mushrooms
With summer hitting full swing, the garden crew is working long hours outdoors. Keeping the garden functioning properly (not to mention filling CSA shares and many programs off the campus) requires a full time effort from everybody.
Therefore, we decided to change up the format of Turtle Talks just a bit. Instead of a short garden update at the beginning of the episode, we are going to dedicate the episodes to sharing what is going on in the garden.
We plan on keeping each episode 20 (ish) minutes, but will keep to what is happening in the garden.
We are calling these episodes “Summer Appetizers” as they will whet your appetite until we head back to the original podcast format at the beginning of fall, as the garden eventually gets put to bed.
So, we’re still planning on updating twice a month and bringing you information you can use, just at a more leisurely pace.
We hope you’re enjoying the summer!
Summer is here, and we are dedicated to squeezing every last drop of sunshine out of these warm months as we can. In the spirit of summer, we are giving you a look at a few of the fun things you can do in the area.
Starting off, let’s hear from Jim C, who is writes about how mountain biking has invigorated the small community of Crosby-Ironton.
I’m a Crosby – Ironton Ranger, class of ’82. Growing up in Deerwood, we kind of looked down on Crosby as a washed up mining town. Businesses were dying and the economy struggled. An important source of high value ore, the Cuyuna Range played an important role in WWII, but production slowed after the war, and the last open pit mine closed in the early ’70’s. The Scorpion snowmobile plant closed about the same time. In high school the “mine pits” were a playground where we drove three wheelers and had parties. We called them the “mine dumps,” a wasteland with barren overburden hills and lots of bare soil. But some “Rangers” saw potential. A few visionaries and community leaders worked tirelessly to protect these “dumps” and give them a chance to heal, and in 1993 the Cuyuna State Recreational Area was formed.
Red tires are the symbol of the MTB riders in the area.
Fast forward to current day. The barren overburden hills are now covered in forest. The slopes leading to the clean, clear mine pit lakes are vegetated and, for the most part, stable. Though a struggle to make happen, there are currently over 25 miles of world-class mountain bike trails with plans for another 50. Snorkeling, trout fishing and kayaking in the pit lakes provide additional recreational opportunities. And like the natural environment of the mine lands, the town has begun to heal. New businesses are opening to cater to the tourists that flock to the area and new residents are moving to the area for the abundant recreation. Both the land and the community are healing…
Happy Dancing Turtle is excited to offer another summer of overnight camping opportunities for kids! These camping trips provide youth with a chance to visit parks across the state. Through Turtle Treks, children have the opportunity to experience the ins-and-outs of camping while building friendships and enjoying the great outdoors! Youth learn vital camping skills, such as how to set up tents, how to make a fire (and cook over it!), and Leave No Trace responsibilities, as well as information about Minnesota’s natural resources! We talk about Minnesota’s land, water, plants, animals, and the night sky while kids are entertained with games, lessons, activities, songs, riddles, and stories. Payment plan option available.
2018 Turtle Treks Schedule