Despite the chilly and wet weather, more than a dozen volunteers spent the good part of Saturday in the NW Minnesota Pollinator Garden east of Warren, MN.

Despite the chilly and wet weather, more than a dozen volunteers spent the good part of Saturday in the NW Minnesota Pollinator Garden east of Warren, MN. The Gunderson family came from Thompson, Fargo and Arthur, North Dakota. Barbara Mace-Tucker came the farthest - from Post Falls, Idaho. They and Agassiz Audubon Society volunteers from Warren weeded and mulched the garden beds and paths.

Boy Scout Troop 130 (Grand Forks), led by Perry Vogel of the Purple Martin Association of the Dakotas, installed an "Alamo" Purple Martin House, and two Wood Duck nest boxes and a second Purple Martin nest box donated by Ann Flower and Tom Hill of Grand Forks. The installation of a deer-proof fence was postponed - and will be rescheduled when the ground is dry.

The Garden Work Day was a Thrivent Action Team project with additional support from Walmart in Crookston.

The NW Minnesota Pollinator Garden project began as a collaborative effort of the Middle Snake Tamarac Rivers Watershed District (MSTRWD), Agassiz Audubon Society and the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) to develop a 2-acre demonstration native pollinator garden on land now owned by the Watershed District.

Initial funding came from a grant from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, and donations in memory of Sarah F. Gunderson of Thompson, ND, Tom Valega of Linden, NJ, and Christine Boman of Warren, MN.

With a grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Horticulture Program at UMC hired Twin Cities-based landscape architect Carmen Simonet to design the garden and create 4 interpretive signs.

UMC obtained local genotype native plant seeds from Carlson Prairie Seeds (Lake Bronson) and grew them in their greenhouses. Agassiz Audubon Society organized a team of volunteers to install the plants in June 2015.

The Pollinator Garden project received additional support from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, the Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program (US Fish & Wildlife Service), the Warren Area Community Fund, and Pheasants Forever. Agassiz Audubon volunteers cleared a parking area and installed garden paths and a bench. Warren area Boy Scout Troop 50 built boxes for native bees and mulched the garden.

Last fall the Watershed District installed a Chimney Swift Tower/Visitor Information kiosk funded by Agassiz Audubon and constructed by students in Nathan Wozniak's Industrial Technology class at WAO High School.

Then came the harsh winter. The local deer population started using the garden as a feeding station. Agassiz Audubon Board Member John Hess designed a deer-proof fence. PKM Electric Cooperative donated and installed the fence corner posts. Agassiz Audubon purchased support posts and metal fencing. They need volunteers to help finish installing the fence - and to weed and mulch the garden beds with "straw" mulch donated by Carlson Prairie Seeds.

Future plans include additional plantings (Bur Oaks, prairie grasses and forbs), benches and signs, pergolas, council rings, trails and boardwalks, and a composting toilet.

For information about memorials and naming opportunities, please contact Agassiz Audubon.