Kelly McCann – Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

We’ve transitioned to winter volunteer activities here in the Twin Cities. According to the natives, we’ve had a downright balmy December, but still… it’s in the 30s and 40s, so we are trying our best to keep new volunteers indoors.


Over 200 volunteers collected prairie seed this fall. Seeds are collected with a lot of other’stuff’ like the heads and chaff. We’ve saved all of it in the fridge and waited for winter to recruit groups who want to volunteer indoors. It’s a simple service project of shaking and straining the small seeds from the unwanted seed heads and stems. For our first group, we headed to the University of Minnesota to work with the new club, Wilderness 50. They’re a group of students that visit a different National Park every year and are looking to get more involved locally.

IMG_1903Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, and the balmy snow was coming down fast enough for NPS to start sending people home hours early! We stayed strong and went to the 7 pm Wilderness 50 club meeting. 6 brave club members trekked across campus in the snow to work with us. We had a PowerPoint presentation with NPS trivia, information about prairies, and instructions for cleaning and packaging the seeds we brought. The students got really competitive when it came to packing the seeds up (my group won by a landslide, but who’s counting). It ended up being a great venue for us to work out the kinks of this new program. We hope to continue it with volunteer groups all over the Twin Cities from apartment complexes, corporate groups, and retired groups.

Stay warm.