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In 2018, the city’s newest open space, the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary at 11980 Lexington Avenue, was home to many successful programs in its first full calendar year of operation. With the help of Growing Green Hearts and Wargo Nature Center, the city held six programs over the summer months with 111 participants having hands-on experiences learning more about the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary.
Two field trips with the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth and the city’s Summer Fun program allowed for approximately 80 students ranging in age from 5-12 to explore the site with some hands-on learning. A stargazing event was held with WCCO Radio meteorologist Mike Lynch, on a cold November night the program still had 25 participants in attendance.
The city began a partnership with the Spring Lake Park High School Advanced Placement science class. Thirty-six students visited the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary on multiple occasions. Students worked with the soil, learned about the plants, and the importance of wetlands to our environment and water quality. The goal of the class is to give students an opportunity to do real world research working in the field prior to graduating high school.
Educators from around the metro area were invited to attend an educator open house and received free STEM curriculum, developed by Growing Green Hearts, focused on the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary. The educators also took a tour of the site and learned about the programs offered for field trips. Another educator open house will take place on March 6, 2019 from 3PM – 5PM. Find out more at blainemn.gov/BWSEducatorOpenHouse.
Twenty members from Christ Lutheran Church volunteered by stenciling animal tracks on the boardwalk and trails through the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary.
Thanks to a local Eagle Scout, seven picture posts were built and installed along the boardwalk. Picture posts are used to enhance community efforts to conserve, promote, and sustain open spaces and natural areas. Anyone can take pictures from the posts and upload them to the city website.
In 2019, additional programs will take place at the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary and several interpretive signs, designed by students at Anoka Ramsey Community College, will be installed.
More information about the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary is available at blainemn.gov/BlaineWetlandSanctuary.