Penelopedia: This & That in Northfield

Syndicate content
Updated: 1 hour 23 min ago

Birds and the Vikings Stadium

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 1:57pm
Below is the text of an email I sent today to the Chair, Executive Director and Director of Communications for the Metropolitan Sports Facility Authority regarding the proposed use of special glass that will greatly reduce the incidence of birds striking this glass-heavy, spectacular new stadium located along a key North American bird migration path, the Mississippi flyway. More information on this topic, and contact information for key decision-makers, is available here:And I'd like to follow that last article's title with the comment that because such a major flyway is involved, this is decidedly NOT just a threat to Minnesota's birds. Birds that use the Mississippi flyway during migration may very well be coming from or returning to other states in the U.S., Canada, the Arctic, Mexico, Central America and/or South America. State boundaries have very little relevance here. These are the Western Hemisphere's birds.

My email:
With great concern, as a birder, nature blogger, Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer, conservationist and long-time Minnesota resident, I most strongly urge you to act to protect birds from the foreseeable effects of such a large glass structure located so close to the Mississippi flyway. As a strategic communications professional (at Neuger Communications Group, where I am a vice president and senior communications counselor), I also urge you to take this step. It will be truly a shame if this beautiful, world-class, publicly supported facility is forever tainted in the minds of many game and event attendees, and many more who will not be in a position to attend, as a bird-killer. The pledge to adjust lighting when possible during key migration periods is important, and to be applauded. The choice also to use bird-friendlier glass is one that can still be made, and now is the time to make it -- for good public relations, and because it is the right thing to do for the survival of the beings with whom we share this continent. Please, please, find the funds and make this happen.
(Note: This post was amended August 7 to add the link to the Audubon petition to the Vikings.)
Categories: Citizens

Midsummer Prairie - But Where Are the Bees and Butterflies?

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 7:56am
Yesterday I took a long, leisurely walk through prairie and oak savanna habitats in Carleton College's Cowling Arboretum. It was a day that seemed to presage autumn, with moderate temperatures and a good breeze pushing clouds that occasionally looked stormy, though we got no rain.

Compass plant is the tallest flower on the scene, routinely reaching
 5-6' or more.
Lush mix of grasses and flowering plants
I think this is hoary vervain (Verbena
 stricta
).  I'm sure someone will let me know if it's not.

Purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea) and grasses blowing in the wind
But where were the bees and butterflies? Granted, it was a windy day, which probably accounts for a good part of the quiet, but at least low down among the thick stems I would have expected to see the landscape busy with insect activity -- but I barely saw any.



In fact, I've seen very few butterflies or bees at all this year. At home, my flowering thyme, bee balm and Joe Pye weed should be humming with bees, but I've seen only a couple here and there, and a couple of butterflies. There are many factors at play, including our cold spring, but something certainly doesn't feel right.

Categories: Citizens

Bookmark and Share