Normandale Sustainability Committee Hosts Speaker Series Events on March 1, 2 & 4

By Steven Geller - Director of Media and Public Relations

Zoom Link for March 1 (2-3 pm) Session (Julie Weisenhorn - Landscaping for Pollinators)

Zoom Link for March 2 Session (12-1 pm) Session (Dr. Sami Nichols - Birds & Buildings: Bird-Window Collisions in Urban Landscapes)

Zoom Link for March 4 Session (11 am-12 pm) Session (Maggie Reiter - Lake-Friendly Lawn Care)     

The Normandale Community College Sustainability Committee will host a Speaker Series on March 1, 2, and 4 with expert presenters speaking about Landscaping for Pollinators, Birds & Buildings: Bird Window Collisions in the Urban Landscape and Lake-Friendly Lawn Care.

The first session, Landscaping for Pollinators, will take place on Monday, March 1 from 2 to 3 p.m. University of Minnesota Extension horticulturist, Julie Weisenhorn, will tell the story of pollinators from a landscaping standpoint and presents some options for gardeners to help make this world a better place for these valuable insects. Pollinators are responsible for more than 1/3 the food we enjoy, and gardeners of all levels can help encourage pollinators to thrive. Choosing plants that provide food and shelter, creating transitional landscapes, and considering bee lawns all help lessen "bee sterile" landscapes.  

Birds & Buildings: Bird Window Collisions in the Urban Landscape is the second session that will take place on Tuesday, March 2 from 12 to 1 p.m. Using various citizen-science monitoring programs, Dr. Sami Nichols, Adjunct Professor at University of Wisconsin, River Falls and Anoka Ramsey Community College studied the factors that affect bird-building collisions from both the building and the avian perspective. She used the data collected by citizen science volunteers to assess building and landscape factors contributing to bird-building collisions and found that some factors affecting bird-building collision are based on landscape and building-specific features while other factors are based on bird behavior and taxonomy. Bird collisions with buildings are the second largest anthropogenic source of direct mortality for birds (365-988 million birds killed annually in the United States).  

The final session, Lake-Friendly Lawn Care, will take place on Thursday, March 4 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Maggie Reiter, Extension Educator for Turfgrass at the University of Minnesota will outline new methods to increase the ecological sustainability of lawns, like low-maintenance grasses, flowering bee lawns, and water conservation strategies. We can shift traditional lawn management to protect water quality and enhance biodiversity, all while maintaining the functions of a green carpet used for recreation. Responsible lawn care requires a thoughtful approach to limit routine applications of fertilizers and pesticides.