Green Visions

A Northland Morning feature focusing on local environmental issues, heard Wednesdays at 8:20 a.m.  Green Visions is brought to you by Duluth Grill and Heritage Window and Door.

Gabrielle R.

The good news is the cyclotella algae turning up in sediment samples from the Great Lakes aren't a problem - like blue-green algae is, for example.

The bad news is that they're indicating a problem: in the food web and with climate change.

Bill Burris/Flickr

Hartley Nature Center says they're just taking advantage of the snow cover to safely burn a series of debris piles (and a little storm damage) left over from a logging operation this summer.

It's not an official park activity or anything, but the park is still open, and if you're out for a ski or a walk in the 20-below wind chills and you happen upon some folks tending a nice blazing fire ... and you happen to have some marshmallows in your pocket, well - so much the better.

Thanks to the Minnesota DNR and Laura Erickson, we're becoming more and more aware of the dangers lead shot poses to bald eagles.  But at this time of year, there's another hazard to an eagle's life and limb: our national symbol's fondness for road kill and its difficulty, especially after gorging on a meal of venison, to avoid becoming road kill itself.

Britt Rohrbaugh

Duluth is famous for its hiking and skiing trails, but the Duluth Area Horse Trail Alliance is trying to get the word out about its opportunities for horseback riding.

Only two things stand in their way at the moment: the repairs needed to the Ely Peak Loop on the Magney-Snively Trail ... and the gentle tendency of saddle clubs toward disorganization.

More information about their December event can be found here: 

Rachel Breckenridge

UMD's Masters of Tribal Administration and Governance degree program was developed with the University taking a back seat to tribes.

And Howard Mooers laughs when he talks about it; saying that's a hard thing for a university to do.

But the University worked in response to and as a consultant with tribes in developing the program, just as it's doing now with a new masters degree program in Tribal Natural Resource Stewardship, a program which could be coming along at just the right time.

Tom O'Rourke/Hartley Nature Center

Why isn't there a "Yurts 'R' Us"?

Where do yurts come from, anyway?

Hartley Nature Center still has some unanswered questions after July storms destroyed their yurt, but the 100 schoolkids on their way to Hartley for a field trip today will get to enjoy the new yurt in all its 30' in diameter glory.  Plus it will be open as a learning space for kids year 'round: out at Hartley they also have a lifetime supply of firewood for the yurt's wood-burning stove.

US Forest Service

It makes perfect sense when you think about it.

Everything rolls downhill.

So, depending on the landscape, it may end up in the nearest lake.  In our case, that's Lake Superior.

There's the potential for a fascinating confluence right here in Minnesota: energy efficiency, the development of solar power ... and a unique way to effect social change based on a model in use in rural India.

Lisa Johnson

No one's figured out how to literally plug in students and run lights and power from their boundless energy ... but UMD is coming close.

In addition to all new and renovated buildings being LEED-certified  (like Cina Hall, seen here), Sustainability Month at UMD is designed to educate students and the community about the work and research being done on campus.

But the students already get it.  In fact, many of the new initiatives in their early stages are led by students.

Corey Templeton/Flickr

Dr. Marcos Algara-Siller doesn't mess around.

He's an environmental engineer at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi in Mexico, and he's teaching a class on sustainability communication for environmental scientists - from Mexico - with Dr. David Syring of UMD's Anthropology department.

Kate Brady/Flickr

The aquarium needs cleaning and the kids have lost interest in the fish.  Or the frogs. Or the gecko. 

But flushing or dumping everything outside is a bad idea for two reasons:  one, it's inhumane for the animals and two, it's a really bad idea for the environment.

The same hardiness that makes milfoil and goldfish such great aquarium dwellers means they also excel as  invasive species. 

    Leading up to this Saturday's Lake Superior Harvest Festival at Bayfront Park, we continue our KUMD Sustainability Week series with a conversation with Sarah Lerohl, Environmental Program Coordinator at the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) and we are talking about composting, and non-toxic homecare practices.

Hartley Nature Center

April showers bring May flowers ... and this year, July storms brought August fundraisers.

The community raised over $10,000 for Hartley Nature Center's Yurt Got Hurt event to restore damaged outdoor education centers, but the scramble to get the park back up and running for the over ten thousand kids who come through on field trips every year continues.

Luckily, so do offers of help from local volunteers.

bamonahan [via Flickr]

  Now that the storm clean up has been (mostly) completed, the next big question is what we can do with the now empty spaces in the landscape. We talk with Louise Levy, an arborist and founder of Levy Tree Care in Duluth, about what kinds of trees to consider planting, when is the best time to do it, and what planning and work needs to be done first.

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