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Return to Weaver - Field Report


Fri, Apr 27th, 2001
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Monday, April 30, 2001

Early Spring 2001

Regular readers may recall my article on the Blanding’s Turtle research project at Weaver Dunes near Wabasha, Minnesota, which appeared in the August 14, 2000 issue of the Fillmore County Journal. As briefly mentioned at the conclusion of that commentary, a large number of questions important to understanding the regional management needs of this state threatened species still remain unresolved and research activities will be continued at least through the end of the turtles’ 2001 nesting season. Largely because of the generosity of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Non-game Wildlife, I luckily will again be able to participate in the study this year as well.

Since much of my time and attention has been focused on Weaver, making the region the topic of this month’s column would seem the most logical course of action. Doing so will hopefully convey at least some idea of the topography, wildlife, and ecological diversity of this truly unique portion of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. This is perhaps best accomplished by providing a field report of sorts, adapted and compiled from the somewhat hastily scrawled comments of my notebooks. And so it begins.

As is probably true of many northlanders, by mid-March I suffer from an acute case of "cabin fever," compounded no doubt by my growing anticipation of the forthcoming field season. Unable to restrain my enthusiasm longer, I toss binoculars into the Jeep Pickup and head off in quest of the year’s first glimpse of Weaver.

Upon arrival, it is clear that old man winter has yet to relinquish his icy grip. Rolling sand prairie dunes, some places perhaps 100 feet tall, are overlaid by a wavy blanket of snow. The many ponds and "potholes" remain ice capped and entombed. Our research trailer and the quarters of my colleagues are dark, desolate and deserted.

A flock of 25 or so Tundra Swans passing directly overhead banishes any thoughts of disappointment. At first, I think their raucous squawks are the barks of some distant pack of dogs. Coming closer, the noise sounds vaguely goose like, a riotous cacophony of weirdly garbled honking calls. When the massive birds finally emerge from behind the screening wall of "cultivated" White Pine their squadron-like "arrowhead" flight formation, gleaming white bodies and seven-foot wingspans dispels all doubts regarding their identification.

Havi .....
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Tree & Shrub Pruning 101

Fri, Apr 27th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, April 30, 2001

The best time for pruning most ornamental trees and shrubs is now, before the buds break. You can really see the branching structure when there are no leaves. Pruning promotes plant health and stimulates n ..... 
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Talking to Strangers

Fri, Apr 27th, 2001
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Monday, April 23, 2001

Those of us who live along quiet and sparsely populated township roads pride ourselves on knowing what is going on around us. After all, how tough should it be to keep track of the few neighbors with whom we are privileg ..... 
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“It’s all about roads”

Fri, Apr 27th, 2001
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Monday, April 30, 2001

“The only thing the county board is concerned about are roads,” one person commented to me a few weeks ago.

And the way in which she said this implied that this was not necessarily a good thing.

About th ..... 
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Fri, Apr 27th, 2001
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Fri, Apr 27th, 2001
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Fri, Apr 27th, 2001
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Fri, Apr 27th, 2001
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Submit a Letter to the Editor here

Fri, Apr 27th, 2001
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To the Editor,

There are some bills coming out of this legislative session that would appropriate our tax money to two specific controversial animal-feedlot projects. This money is specifically targeted to cover the expense of court-ord ..... 
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