As someone who lives in an urban environment, I find it very easy to forget the plethora of natural resources available to me. Minnesota has a wonderful track record in terms of green spaces—even living in the heart of the city I have almost immediate access to a variety of parks and lakes, a few within walking distance.
The other week I was lucky enough to participate in Audubon Society’s Birds and Breakfast event, a morning dedicated to emphasizing the importance of birds and their habitat. Since Conservation Minnesota and Audubon Minnesota have started a partnership, I’ve been very excited to explore the crossover between the birding community and conservation efforts on a whole as well as the relationships between these items and the capitol. And the Birds and Breakfast event was a perfect atmosphere to do this.
We spent the morning in Crosby Park in St. Paul listening to Audubon birding employees experts speak about birds and the nature of birding in Minnesota. As Joanna Eckles, our birding guide stated, birds are like a whole different world around us. Almost anywhere in Minnesota, during the summer, you can open your window to an earful of chirping. I love birds, always have. I adore hearing robins as I wake up and watching the swallows swoop for gnats at dusk. I realized that I had forgotten just how much I enjoy the simple act of walking through nature. To work together with legislators finding warblers and sparrows in the meadows was a wonderful experience—it’s comforting knowing we all share a passion for the critters that share the environment in which we live.
Places like Crosby Park are incredibly important for a myriad of different bird species in Minnesota, especially in areas like St. Paul and the surrounding metro. Space is limited and habitats are shrinking. Thankfully, most Minnesotans understand the value of green space in areas that would otherwise be developed. The communities east of St. Paul are rich in waterways and wild life areas, many of which are accessible by trails. I would encourage anyone who has access to any amount of green space, large or small, to go out one day and just listen. One quiet moment out in the woods or field is all it takes to be reminded of the vast natural systems in which we exist, as well as the reasons we work so hard to preserve them.