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.

©Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

It's mud season.

Which has Minnesotans thinking about spring which has them thinking about summer which has them thinking about being outside.

This year, the Minnesota State Parks and Trails unveil a new park, a new bison, and a variety of times and places to get yourself seriously sticky.

USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center

There it sits at the end of the breakwater in Chequamegon Bay, much as it has since 1915: the Ashland Breakwater Lighthouse.

But it's more than a tidbit of history or a photo op these days; it's part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a USGS weather station and home to monitoring equipment for everything from currents to water quality to time-lapse photography.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

With the abnormally warm temperatures in the region over the last couple months, ice safety is a paramount concern, as ice is much thinner than usual for this time of year.

©Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Cleaning up Minnesota Slip - containing 2500 cubic yards of contaminated sediment and sealing it off - isn't the hard part.

Nor is repairing the dock walls lining the slip.

Not even getting the  610 feet by 60 feet by 32 foot SS William A Irvin out of the way so it can undergo some needed maintenance the hard part.

The hard part is figuring out how to do it at the same time.

The Food Farm

"Burning agricultural questions"

A Food Farm event at the Zeitgeist.

Ivy Vainio, Askov's Rutabaga Queen.

And a free rutabaga for everyone.


Bag It: The Movie

The movie Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? proposes that it's not just plastic grocery bags that are the problem.

It's all kinds of plastics, from single-use disposables like straws and take out containers to the plastics that end up in landfills and foul our oceans.

Gene R. Clark, UW Sea Grant Institute

No PowerPoints.

There aren't many rules to the River Talks, a series of informal science cafe-type evening talks about the St. Louis River, but that's one of them.

Wisconsin Sea Grant's Marie Zhuikov organizes the series. She wants people to sit and talk with the presenters and ask questions.

Journey 4 Renewal

Chelsea Froemke, Steph Branchaud, Tessa Larson, and Whitney Vogel shared something special: years of guiding canoe trips at the Wilderness Canoe Base in the Boundary Waters.

So when the four found themselves needing some much needed personal renewal -- and discovered Wilderness needed some help, too -- they embarked on a 66 day canoe trip of over 12oo miles, from Seagull Lake to Hudson Bay.

Oh, and they'd never been all together before.

If Sharon Moen isn't up to her ears in clay penguins, she soon will be.

The potter (and co-producer of The Sea Grant Files on KUMD) is all laughs when talking about her creations (or trying to fit headphones on one for a photograph), but all hilarity slips away when she starts talking about climate change, changes in the Antarctic ice shelf, the atmosphere and the oceans, and how the current administration will be dealing with - or not dealing with - those issues. 

Duluth has the same potential to generate solar energy as Jacksonville, Florida.  Or Houston, Texas.

Don't believe it?  Ask Bret Pence of Ecolibrium 3 ... or better yet, check out Duluth Shines!

Duluth Shines! is a solar map application that lets you see what kind of solar energy you could generate from your home or business.

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.

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