Photo Essay for Daily Planet


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A photo essay was developed by the students of Urban Stewards at Great River School for the use of The Daily Planet. The photo essay outlines the information in support of the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom including, background, quotes, and importance of the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom

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Photo Essay for Daily Planet

  1. 1. Eco Education Urban Stewards Fall 2008 Great River School
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>We are a group of junior high students from Great River School, located near the Como Woodland in St. Paul. At first glance, there is nothing remarkable about us. But we are enthusiastic advocates of the environment, the voices of the many trees that are mowed down every year in the Como Woodland, and the bluebirds who's habitats are being destroyed.The Como Woodland is a forested area on the border of Como Park. It's environment is suffering. Ignorant BMX bikers have blazed trails through its vegetation, leaving the bare ground vulnerable to the growth of invasive plant species. Non-native invasive plants such as buckthorn and garlic mustard have grown into the woodland where healthy native plant cover used to be. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction cont… <ul><li>Every year, baby trees are run over by lawnmowers in the woodland and park. This destroys bluebird habitats in the area while aggressive, non-native invasive bird species claim the remaining nesting space. Bluebird houses were built to attempt to control the problem, but they were designed incorrectly: the nesting holes were built at strange angles, and many houses were clustered together on one pole. The woodland bluebirds remain without homes. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction cont… <ul><li>A historic war memorial in the woodland, the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Fireplace, has been vandalized. Graffiti and destruction have transformed the memorial into rubble. A system of once-lively cascades at the woodland's border have dried up, and become a site of litter and drug abuse </li></ul>
  5. 5. Introduction cont… <ul><li>A plan has been written to save the woodland ecosystem. It is called the Como Outdoor Classroom Comprehensive Plan. It was designed by the St. Paul Parks and Recreation committee to improve the environment. It involves changing the woodland into an outdoor classroom that could be use as an off-campus resource by surrounding schools, like Great River. If the plan were put in place, the woodland would be transformed into seven different ecosystems available for observation. This would involve tree replanting, invasive pulling and native vegetation restoration. The seven ecosystems would be separated by various new trails, including a boardwalk. Learning stations would be set up throughout the ecosystems, along with overhead viewing centers. The cascade would be restored, as well as the war memorial: the memorial would actually become the entrance to the classroom, a testament to the woodlands history, complete with permanent restrooms built alongside. </li></ul><ul><li>To View this plan, visit </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>We are vigorous supporters of the Como Outdoor Classroom Comprehensive Plan. </li></ul><ul><li>We met with the plan's most enthusiastic supporter, and its voice to the public, Deb Robinson, who took us on an invasive pull in the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>Bob Fossum, of the Capital Region Watershed District came to our class and evaluated the plan. </li></ul><ul><li>We met with Brian Murphy, who helped construct the Como Woodland Outdoor Comprehensive Plan funded by a grant from the CIB committee. </li></ul><ul><li>We met with the we met with D'Ann Urbaniak - Lesch, of the Capitol Improvement Budget (CIB) committee, who would provide the plan's funding. We constructed a presentation and educated D’Ann about the Plan. </li></ul><ul><li>We constructed a presentation and spoke to city council members Lee Helgan and Samantha Henningson (of Russ Stark’s office) at St. Paul City Council. </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, we interviewed teachers from our own Great River School about their views and opinions on the plan. They were in favor of the plan. Eric Lanners, the junior high science teacher, told his interviewers that he would use the woodland much more than he currently does (almost never) if the seven ecosystems were put in place. Currently, to experience different ecosystems from the ones located in a city park, we have to take a long city bus ride to the Mississippi River Gorge. This plan's renovations would limit energy and labor to transport an entire junior high around the city. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Introduction cont… <ul><li>This plan has multiple benefits to Great River, the city of St. Paul, and the Como neighborhood. The following slideshow is a journal compiled by our eco education class, telling the story of what we did in support of the comprehensive plan, and the views and opinions of the many people we interviewed, met with, and presented to. </li></ul>Joyce Kilmer Memorial
  8. 8. Bob Fossum <ul><li>Bob told us about the CIB and the Como Woodland area. He also informed us on how the CIB process works. And how he really wants (along with everyone else) to change the whole Como woodland area. </li></ul><ul><li>Bob works for the Capitol Region Watershed District. Bob informed us about how the watershed district functions and what it does for the community. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Bryan Murphy <ul><li>Bryan Murphy is a landscape architect for the city of St.Paul, he is in charge of; storm management, recreation facilities, land management and housing development. Bryan wrote the Como woodland and outdoor classroom comprehensive plan. He went out and mapped out how Como looks like now, then he wrote ideas for what could be added. He combined his ideas and made the comprehensive plan. </li></ul><ul><li>The master plan for the Como Woodland & Outdoor Classroom illustrates the hard work and input from many community members.  This plan will serve as a guide through the development of the classroom.  The classroom can be developed in phases as funding allows.  Eight woodland classrooms will provide students with a variety of study opportunities and experiences.   </li></ul><ul><li>A major goal of the master plan is to provide a guide for restoring a degraded woodland and to provide education opportunities for school children and adults. </li></ul>
  10. 10. D’Ann <ul><li>One person we talked to was D’Ann. D’ Ann talked to us about the C.I.B. The C.I.B. stands for capital improvement budget. The C.I.B is a council that decides fundable projects for the next two years. Another thing D’ann helped us with is what we could do to help Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom, like going too meet with city council members, educating others,emailing the C.I.B and help Deb Robinson present. Out of those things we talked to city council members and educated the public. D’Ann helped better our understanding on how to get the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom funded. </li></ul><ul><li>D ’A nn ’s Quote: </li></ul><ul><li>The students at Great River did a wonderful job of providing detailed information regarding the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. I appreciated hearing from students as to why they thought this project was a important one. Its great to have community members see their stake in the city ’s capital projects and wanting a nd working to influence the proposal project. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Deb Robinson <ul><li>Deb Robinson came to our class, which is the urban stewards class to help us remove invasive from the Como woodland. She taught us how to pull out invasives, like the buckthorn and the garlic mustard. This is one of Deb ’s quotes about the Como woodland.If we want to stay connected to the natural world that we depend on, we need to make places for nature in out everyday lives and the Como woodland looked like a great place to bring that concept to reality. Even though I ’v e lived my entire adult life in the city, I ’v e always been interested in wild plants and animals. I knew from my involvement with the District 10 environment committee, that there were many local people (of all ages) who felt as I did and were willing to volunteer their time to help. </li></ul>
  12. 12. What We Think <ul><li>We, the Urban Stewarts class of Great River School, are focusing our main support on the Como woodland and outdoor classroom Comprehensive plan. As a class we all had different feelings for the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom Comprehensive Plan, but in the end we could all agree that it is a very important issue that shouldn’t be ignored by the public and the community. This is important to us because not only will it be healthy to our environment and park but also it will educate people of all ages. Also for the schools that surround the park can use the improvements to the park in their studies. We also agree that it is pretty cool to be involved in such a big issue and be able to make a difference in our community! </li></ul>
  13. 13. What Can You Do? <ul><li>To volunteer or lend support to the Como Woodland Outdoor Comprehensive plan visit </li></ul><ul><li>Brought to you by Urban Stewards, Great River School, St. Paul. </li></ul><ul><li>In support of this project, we have educated visitors at Como Woodland, completed a second Buckthorn Bust at Como Woodland, donated bluebird houses to Como Woodland, and educated you! </li></ul>