So you want to restore some habitat? That’s great! This photo guide from the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area will step you through the process of giving your restoration area the boost it needs for native plants to thrive. These step by step directions use photos from our three different National Public Lands Day events to illustrate all the amazing work completed at our sites. Over  300 volunteers total worked  965 hours at three different sites: Riverfront Regional Park, Spring Lake Preserve: Schaar’s Bluff and Coldwater Spring.

Step 1: Determine where you want to plant, mark your plots and divide up supplies for your volunteers.

Photo Credit: NPS/L&R Kosek

Photo Credit: NPS/L&R Kosek

Step 2: Gather up a great group of volunteers. As a partnership park, this means we worked closely with Mississippi Park Connection, Anoka County, Surly Brewing and Dangerous Man Brewing, Dakota County, and REI.

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Photo Credit: NPS/L&R Kosek

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Photo Credit: NPS/Gordon Dietzman

Pro Tip: Use colored buttons to divide volunteers into smaller groups.

Step 3: Introduce yourself, the site, and how to plant to your volunteers. Go over safety information. It’s a good idea to do some stretching to make sure that everyone is warmed up.

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Photo Credit: NPS/L&R Kosek

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Photo Credit: NPS/Gordon Dietzman

Pro Tip: Find a partner that can bring snacks and coffee to keep volunteers warmed up inside and out!

Step 4: Decide where to dig a hole for your first plant.

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Photo Credit: NPS/Regan Baker
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Photo Credit: NPS/L&R Kosek

Pro Tip: Clustering plants of the same type helps both the plants and native pollinators. It makes it easier for pollinators to find food, and helps the plant establish itself.

 

Step 5: Gently remove your little plant from the container, being careful not to tear the roots.

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Photo Credit: NPS/Gordon Dietzman

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Photo Credit: NPS/Gordon Dietzman

Pro Tip: It’s even better if you “tickle” the roots. This means carefully loosening up the root ball so that your baby plant can easily adapt to its new home.

Step 6: Place your plant in the ground. Remember you want the top of the soil from the plant to be even with the soil surrounding it because too high will be dry and too low will be wet.

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Photo Credit: NPS/Regan Baker

Step 7: Give your baby plant a drink.

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Photo Credit: NPS/L&R Kosek

Now that you’re planting expert, get out there and make a difference!

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Photo Credit: NPS/ Gordon Dietzman