Welcome to the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom's Advisory Committee site
How did an ignored, trash strewn, buckthorn infested, random bike trail riddled woodland become an outdoor learning area? A group of local neighbors and St. Paul Park and Recreation have worked together to make this amazing transformation happen. The Como Woodland is now a place for you to explore and study, listen to birds, see a fox, take a photo of a wildflower in the spring, and learn about this history and story behind Como Park and the Woodland.
Come see for yourself and explore the new trails! A detailed map of the woodland itself is forthcoming, but the meantime, download a map to find the woodland within larger Como Park.
If you're a teacher, bring your students to listen, write, draw, study, collect data, have a quiet space—the list can go on and on. For teachers bringing students, the first step is to request a free permit at 651-632-5111. These FREE permits will help to track numbers and activities for grant reporting and maintain an appropriate level of use for the environmental health and sustainability of the outdoor classroom.
Do you want to be part of this continuing transformation? Here are ways you can be involved:
- There will be continual, periodic volunteer activities to help control the invasive species and assist with planting desired species. There is also an annual St. Paul Parks clean-up day in the spring.
- Join the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom Advisory Committee. We provide advice to St. Paul Park and Recreation on the continual restoration of the woodland, help plan and volunteer at restoration and other special events, and help teachers get started who want an outdoor classroom experience for their students.
- Do you have interpretive or science skills? Can you ID birds, trees, flowers, or butterfies? Because there are no dedicated staff to lead students and teachers while they are at the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom, your skills could be very valuable. Contact the Como Woodland Advisory Committee Chair and that person will help you get connected.
Free Workshop on Using Apps for Citizen Science You too can become a citizen scientist just by using the phone in your pocket. In this two-hour, hands-on workshop, we will dig into what it means to be a citizen scientist.
The workshop will be held on April 14, 2018 (National Citizen Science Day) from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M. at the Historic Como Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway, St. Paul, MN. We will explore several free apps, such as iNaturalist and eBird, which you can use to contribute data to citizen science projects. Make an important contribution to science – the data you submit via these apps will be used by scientists around the world to learn more about the living things around you.
The workshop is free, but space is limit to 30 participants so registration is suggested. Please dress to be outdoors and bring a smartphone, tablet, or laptop computer. This workshop is suitable for adults to youngsters (Children ages 10+ are welcome with an adult). Note that there is limited parking in front of the Streetcar Station.
Contact the instructor, Britt Forsberg, email@example.com or 612-626-2690 with any questions. Workshop online registration: http://bit.ly/2DD8PZ6
The "City Nature Challenge" in Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom On April 28, 2018 anytime between 9 A.M. to 4 P.M., put your new citizen science knowledge (you learned at the workshop above) to work. Take part in the 2018 City Nature Challenge and help document what lives in the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. What is the City Nature Challenge? It is an international effort to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where over 60 cities worldwide will compete to see who can make the most observations, find the most species, and engage the most people.
The third annual City Nature Challenge calls on current and aspiring citizen scientists, nature and science fans, and people of all ages and science backgrounds to observe and submit pictures of plants, animals, and fungi across the world. Como Woodland volunteers will be on hand for the 2018 City Nature Challenge at the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom on April 28.
Recent Thinning of Trees in Como Woodland For many of you who regularly walk through the Como Woodland the sight of trees being cut down in the Fall of 2017 provoked curiosity in some and alarm in others. While the removal of any native tree from Como Woodland is unfortunate, it is, however, a necessary activity for maintaining the health of the woodland and for the safety of the public who visit the woodland.Many non-native trees and shrubs were also removed, but emerald ash borer (EAB) infected ash trees were the primary native trees removed along with dead and dying oaks.
Late last Fall, four Saint Paul City forestry specialists as well as a Como Woodland Advisor (also a professional forester) evaluated the trees for health and hazard. Saint Paul Parks & Recreation’s Environmental Coordinator, Adam Robbins, explained “We identified approximately two dozen trees that needed to come down right away. . . we took advantage of having the [specialized] equipment available and removed a handful of hanging limbs on other large trees as well. As all of the ash trees removed were infested with EAB, and dead green ash tend to drop branches quickly, we only left a small number of wildlife snags . . .”
The good news is that some replacement plantings are being done – native bareroot trees were purchased with a small donation from Como Woodland Advisory Committee and some of those trees have already been planted. With a little help from nature and us those empty spaces in the woodland will be filled in soon with the growth of healthy native trees and shrubs.
EcoStewards Take on the Invasives in the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom In 2015 ten EcoStewards put in an impressive 135 hours of volunteer time working on invasive plant control and removal in Como Woods. While there they also saw and heard birds and someone even found a puff ball mushroom as big as a football. In 2018 we are up to 15 active EcoStewards volunteering in the CWOC, but we could use more help. For more information about how to become an EcoSteward go to: http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=5296
Wrap-up of Dedication of Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom It was a fine Spring day we will never forget: we gathered together students, teachers, Como Woodland Advisors, and dignitaries – all has assisted in bringing the CWOC project to fruition in one way or another and contributed to the project’s success. It was a day to celebrate the Dedication of the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom (CWOC) on May 20, 2015. READ MORE...
Birding List Show Eighty Species use Como Woodland The Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom (CWOC) now has a new and improved bird list thanks to the dedicated work of Como Woodland Advisor, Dr. Joan McKearnan, and with financial assistance from CWOC’s long-time project partner, Saint Paul Audubon Society (SPAS).
Murray Jr. High School students and Youth Conservation Corps helped collect the new data. Como Woodland Advisors, Susan Jane Cheney and Ginger Kopp, helped with student data collection outings.
Data collected by Como Park Sr. High School AP students at past spring Field Days (our next Field Day is scheduled for May 30, 2018) were also incorporated into the list as well as bird sightings in the CWOC by local birder, Val Cunningham. Bird survey results from a baseline bird habitat analysis done in 2006 (also funded by SPAS) were compiled with all other sources. All this added up to an impressive 80 bird species sighted in Como Woodland.