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Greenspace: Planting projects get a green light

December 30, 2018

Hey, Rochester students — want to help the butterflies?

Olmsted County is one of 20 Minnesota counties in which people are encouraged to apply for $1,000 grants to create pollinator habitat.

Loss of wildflowers and adequate food sources has led to a dip in the monarch caterpillar and insect pollinator population worldwide in recent years.

The Sand County Foundation and Enel Green Power North America Inc. will supply the grants, which include plants, growing materials, and the $1,000 to high school agricultural and science departments.

Accepted applicants will receive about 600 seedlings of native wildflowers in March, which they must raise in school greenhouses, transplant to appropriate sites in the spring, and maintain through the summer.

“For transplanting, we encourage applicants to find nooks and crannies within the working landscape,” said Craig Ficenec, Sand County Foundation program director, in a press release. “This could be a field buffer, a private roadside, open space around agricultural facilities, or other uncultivated areas.”

The deadline to apply for the grant is Jan. 18. To apply, visit www.sandcountyfoundation.org/SchoolGrant.

These counties are eligible for the pollinator grant: Blue Earth, Carver, Chisago, Clay, Dodge, Goodhue, Kandiyohi, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Meeker, Olmsted, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, Sherburne, Stearns, Steele, Waseca, Washington and Wright.

Free cover crops class

Mower County farmer Tom Cotter will lead two free cover crops courses at Riverland Community College in Austin late next week.

Cover Crops 101 will be offered at the west campus Ag Center at Riverland Community College, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and again from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., both Jan. 3.

Cover crops are a secondary, unharvested crop planted with a normal harvest to keep soil in place and improve its health, and reduce pollution from agricultural activities.

Soil scientist Steve Lawler and TJ Kartes of Saddle Butte will also contribute to the lesson.

Each session will discuss cover crop origins, species, step-by-step production, and the benefits of cover crop technology.

Visit landstewardshipproject.org to learn about more workshops by Cotter in 2019.

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