- Invasive Plants – Our Biggest Challenges & What to Do About Them
- A More Sustainable Mode of Transportation
- How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse with Seeds
- Winona Area Pollinators
January 23rd: Winona’s Energy Action Plan and You: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Options for Your Home
Don’t let your home’s heat (and your money) fly out the window! Attend a free educational session to learn about Winona’s Energy Action Plan, and how you can cost effectively reduce your energy bills. Presenters will describe multiple ways to save energy fitting even small budgets including options for utility rebates and incentives. Renewable energy options like solar and wind will also be discussed.
The event is free to attend, but those who are interested should register with the Friendship Center (507-454-5212 or email@example.com) or John Howard (Jhoward@ci.winona.mn.us).
Invasive Plants – Our Biggest Challenges & What to Do About Them
After a successful Landscape Resiliency Seminar hosted by Winona County in October 2017, attendees requested the opportunity to explore four of seminar’s topics in greater depth. The first of these in-depth seminars has been set for Tuesday, January 16th, at 6:30 pm at Minnesota State College – Southeast, 1250 Homer Road, Winona. The topic for the January 16 seminar is Invasive Plants – Our Biggest Challenges and What to Do About Them. Attendees will hear from two excellent presenters who are deeply involved in invasive plant management efforts in southeast Minnesota and across the state.
Angie Gupta, University of Minnesota Extension, will open the seminar with information on cutting edge technologies and effective strategies for identifying areas of infestation and how to successfully eradicate them. Jaimie Edwards of the Minnesota DNR will follow Ms. Gupta, and will identify the top plant threats for the Winona area, and how homeowners can manage them on their land.
Winona County has some serious infestations of invasive plants, and we need to do something about it. So if you’ve ever wondered how to be good stewards of your landscape, whether in a back yard or rural woodlands, this is the seminar for you! Please join us, and register in advance by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507-457-6574.
A More Sustainable Mode of Transportation
As one of the top-five most “bicycle friendly” states, Minnesota is graded on aspects such as our efforts to seek federal and state funding, adoption of complete streets policies, and a greater than 1% average of residents commuting by bike. Named a Bike Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists with around 14% of residents commuting by bike, Winona has done its part in helping Minnesota reach such a status. Flat topography in town, compact development, ease of reaching destinations, and recreational opportunities expanding from the Mississippi river to the bluffs have really given our city excellent bikeability. In fact we are featured in the inaugural issue of the Have Fun Biking National Guide on page 39 for the “Mississippi River Trail; a bike adventure of a lifetime in Minnesota” highlighting Winona for these points and our several attractions. The guide includes other best places to ride, access to the latest information on bicycling, and tips for maintenance, gear, and safety.
With the goal of being a premiere biking destination for the region and aiming to capitalize on the features already mentioned above, Winona City has adopted its first-ever Complete Streets Policy and Pedestrian Bicycle Plan requiring the city to consider the plan’s goals when rebuilding streets. According to the plan developing a bicycle network will connect bicyclists to destinations, improve safety, increase ridership, and provide greater livability and social equity. In addition, one of the most important benefits this will bring to Winona is significant economic development. Biking trails impact local economies creating access to small businesses, restaurants, and hotels, they increase property values, create more jobs per dollar, and are a more sustainable mode of transportation.
Being that the transportation industry is one of the leading causes of global warming – contributing to carbon emissions, noise pollution, traffic, and unsafe streets – creating opportunities that invite more people to bike helps lessen our impacts environmentally. This pollution-free mode of transportation can save over 3000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions a year per person just by biking to and from work. Bikes use less energy and natural resources to make compared to cars, keep more land free for green space (cars need wider roads, larger parking spots, parking ramps, etc), and save you money.
How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse with Seeds
By Alison Bettin
In 2017, I began creating the WSU Seed Bank and Library as a capstone to my biology degree, under the guidance of Dr. Robin Devinney. I think many of you reading this know the economic, social, cultural, and environmental reasons why a project like this is vital. Preservation of seeds is essential, but so is preservation of the knowledge and awareness of how food is grown, cultivated, and delivered to our tables – something many of us are generations removed from. The knowledge has not been passed on, and this is something that must be revived for basic human survival.
Many of my conversations with WSU students and Winona community members started from the joking perspective of “what will you do when the zombie apocalypse comes – how are your cross-bow skills?” People get the joke, but after a few minutes of thought they begin to recognize how very little control they have over their food. Then their interest in seed saving, and food growing, is piqued.
With support of funding and resources from the American Association of University Women, WSU’s Green Fee Fund, WSU Student Senate, Seed Saver’s Exchange, the Ohm Family, and a WSU Foundation Food Equity Campaign, this project has successfully engaged WSU community and beyond. We have worked to partner with a variety of groups, most notably the City of Winona at the East End Rec Center, which will be the main check-out location for the Seed Library. Overall, the project strives to educate, exchange, and preserve seeds for the Winona community while inspiring awareness and action on food equity, insecurity, and biodiversity.
Over the course of the coming months, we will continue to expand our work, including the opening of the Seed Library on Saturday, February 10 at the East End Rec Center after the Winter Carnival. We will have hands-on fun for all ages, in addition to allowing individuals to get seeds for the 2018 growing season.
Other events for 2018 include a workshop for high school students through the Youth Energy Summit organization in Mankato, MN (January 15), presentations at the Winona Friendship Center in conjunction with the Frozen River Film Festival (February 9), the Winona Public Library (March 22), and on campus for the WSU Earth Talks series (March 26). On the first day of Spring, March 20, we will host a spring expo and screening of the award-winning documentary, SEED: The Untold Story, in the Science Laboratory Center on the WSU campus. Throughout March and April, we hope to be giving away seedlings, as well as hosting more workshops, and providing a hands-on experience at the East End Rec Center on Earth Day (April 21).
Winona Area Pollinators
Since 2014 Winona Area Pollinators has been a group focused on promoting a more pollinator-friendly city. Flower-hopping insects are crucial to the lifecycle of many crops and native plants but decreasing habitat, available food, and use of insecticides has led to dwindling numbers – however the Winona Area Pollinators aims to target each. They have worked with the city of Winona to draft legislation that will increase habitat for pollinator species and are currently at work advocating for the restoration of habitat for the Rusty Patched Bumblebee. Cutting back on mowing and spraying are a few of the pollinator-friendly policies being adopted, making Winona the first Minnesota city south of the metro to do so. Actions like these not only protect the environment but can save money too.
In addition to their work with the city, the group hosts an annual “Pollinator Party” in March, during which they disseminate helpful information about pollinators and pollinator gardens, sell buttons and yard signs, sing “bee songs” and recite poetry. They also sponsor an annual pollinator garden tour in the summer. Locations on last summer’s tour included Winona State Integrated Wellness Complex, Minnesota Marine Art Museum, and two residential gardens – Debbie Vonarx at 527 E. Fourth St and a well-established garden including two active bee hives at Fred and Laurie Krouse’s at 713 Main Street.
The Winona Area Pollinators typically meets twice a month and would welcome any new members. Check out their Facebook page for more information and get added to their mailing lists by contacting email@example.com.