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.

Seven tons of pollutants are no longer in Minnesota's atmosphere.

Put another way, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) partnership with small businesses has taken the equivalent of 13-thousand cans of spray paint out of the air.

And they've even helped pay for the retooling, distributing about $500,000 dollars in grants from the 2014 Minnesota legislature.

Eric David has the details.

 Kelly Wallin, head mechanic for the Bike Cave in Duluth, talks about how the Bike Cave creates access to bicycles for everyone.  Located at 1712 Jefferson Street, it is run completely by volunteers and functions on a skill-trade system. Those who wish to build a bicycle can trade parts, knowledge, volunteer hours or even food for the community as payment for a bicycle. 

Pheasant_JasonBowler
Jason Bowler // Flickr

It turns out that the same kinds of habitat that benefits endangered pollinators like monarchs and bees are also good for pheasants.  And even though we're a little north and east of the prairie grassland that all three prefer, David Lood, youth events coordinator for the St. Louis/Carlton County Pheasants Forever chapter says the habitat restoration projects kids are working on educates them about the natural world and gets them outside.

For the first time since 1978, sometime this summer there won't be steam coming out of the iconic Duluth steam plant smokestack in Canal Park. The plant's been operating continuously for the last 37 years, but the shut down for a few weeks will be part of its transition to Duluth Energy Systems.

Northlanders can join the international March on Monsanto this Saturday.  The multinational agrochemical corporation is under fire for, among other things,  genetically modified seeds and the herbicide Roundup, found by the World Health Organization to be a "probably carcinogen."

Abby Splittstoesser is the event organizer here in Duluth.  And while she agrees the protests won't shutter Monsanto, she says there is a surprising amount of change people can effect right here in the Northland.

ThoseGuys119/Flickr

The liquid propane-powered buses of the Proctor School District are really something.

Ask School Superintendent John Engelking.

They're more fuel-efficient and get better gas mileage (.35 per mile compared with .65-$1.25 for diesel), they're cheaper to operate (7 qts. of oil/$5 filter compared to 30 qts. of oil and a $35 filter for diesel) and they've got an unexpected benefit that may have parents running to get their gas-powered vehicles converted.

Dave Huth/Flickr

Citizen-scientists,  frog enthusiasts and lovers of moonlit walks can join Ryan Hueffmeier of the NRRI for the frog survey work now underway at Hartley Park.  It's part of a national frog survey that involves listening and identifying frog calls - much like the annual bird counts Laura Erickson and Larry Weber take part in.  But you don't have to be a naturalist to join in; when it comes to frog calls, Hueffmeier says, there's an app for that.

Thorsburg Photography

National - and international - attention made the Apostle Island National Lakeshore and its ice caves the most visited national park in the country for a time in 2014.

But, caught by surprise, Park Service resources were stretched to the breaking point and beyond.  Bob Krumenaker, the National Park Superintendent for the park says they needed  a plan.

There's a move afoot to do something kind of unusual in northeastern Minnesota: create a state game refuge on Butterball Lake in east-central St. Louis County.  The idea is to create a resting and feeding place for migratory waterfowl in the fall.  But it would only be closed to hunting and trapping between September 1 and November 25 every year.  Melissa Thompson is a Shallow Lakes Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and she tells us more. 

Lisa Johnson

Tips for Hardy Gardeners host Tom Kasper joins us this morning to talk about plants and gardening for apartments and senior living situations, Mother's Day gifts and his own generous offer for members who pledge their support this morning on Northland Morning!

Wrenshall pork farmer Matt Weik joins us to talk about how fatal viruses spread in farm animals, and how he feels humane and anti-biotic free practices create healthier populations.

Shaye Moris is the executive director of the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank. She talks about their work keeping food out of the landfills and into hungry Northlanders.

Kim LaBo of the Healthy Legacy Coalition talks about a bill before the Minnesota Legislature that would make sure the public has information about any children's product that might contain toxic chemicals. 

Hartley Nature Center

Tom O'Rourke, executive director of Hartley Nature Center, describes what the $600 thousand dollar award will do for park improvements.

UMD's Alison Hoxie is a professor of Renewable Energy Systems at UMD and she talks about UMD's small wind turbine project.

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