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Paynesville Press - September 17, 2003

Volunteer work days to be held at Regal Meadow

By Michael Jacobson

The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota will hold two volunteer work days over the next two weekends at the Regal Meadow, a nature preserve located between Regal and Hawick. Volunteers are needed on Saturday, Sept. 20, and again on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help with seed collection for prairie restoration.

Located two miles north of Hawick in Roseville Township, Regal Meadow is a 585-acre nature preserve owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy.

To maintain and restore habitats at the Regal Meadow, staff members and volunteers remove non-native and invasive woody plants through both physical means and prescribed fire. They also collect and distribute prairie seed. These practices restore native prairie by creating a selective pressure to which native species are adapted.

The Nature Conservancy acquired the Regal Meadow in stages between 1979 and 1985 from four separate owners, including Annabelle Ruhland and her family, who were naturalists and took great pride in land preservation.

As a result, special care was taken to protect species found at Regal Meadow especially the small white lady's slipper that is found where the wet prairie and marsh meet the drier parts of the preserve. Other interesting flowers found within the preserve include the small fringed gentian, Riddell's goldenrod, Seneca snakeroot, wood lily, and Indian paintbrush. Drier portions of the preserve are dominated by little bluestem and Indian grass.

Interested volunteers should equip themselves for outdoor work. Work attire should include sturdy work boots, work gloves, hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Volunteers should also bring plenty of water and a bag lunch.

To get to the preserve, take Highway 23 south from Paynesville to Hawick. Turn right on 160th Street NE, a gravel road, and drive two miles. The preserve is on the west (left) side of 160th Street.

Questions about the work days can be directed to land steward Colin McGuigan at 1-218-575-3032 ext. 11.

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