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.
- 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.
NEWS & EVENTS:
Spring Clean-up in Como Woodland April 27, 9am to 11:30am. Please go to the Como Lakeside Pavilion for gloves and bags (we will leave a few extra bags at the Kilmer Fireplace); then proceed to the Como Woodland and start picking up trash that has accumulated over the winter.
This is a citywide event organized by SPPR Natural Resources Department, so if you want to clean up a park closer to home, go to: Register
Spring Planting Event May 13, 5:30pm to 7:30pm. This is an event for District 10 Environment Committee members, Como Woodland EcoStewards, and Como Woodland Advisory Committee (CWAC) members only. The plants were bought with donated from District 10 and CWAC. Space is limited, so contact SPPR Volunteer Coordinator to RSVP: Tricia.Wehrle@ci.stpaul.mn.us
SPRING FLOWER NATURE SURVEY WALK – documenting species in Como Woodland – on Friday, April 26th, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
All events will meet at the Kilmer Fireplace (1221 Wynne Ave. in SW Como Park, St. Paul).
The focus will be on Spring Ephemerals, early wildflowers that spring to life before the trees leaf out and then are gone before summer. This free informal walk will be led by Meghan Manhatton, a Natural Resource Specialist with a deep knowledge of Minnesota’s native plants and the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. *
BIRD NATURE SURVEY WALK – documenting species in Como Woodland – on Saturday May 11, 8:00 a.m. at the Kilmer Fireplace. This 2-hour free educational nature walk will be led by Joan McKearnan, professor of biology & environmental science at Anoka-Ramsey College, member of the Como Woodland’s advisory committee, and talented birder. Birds and bird habitat are the subjects of this second survey walk of our 6-part series. A limited number of binoculars will be available for use during the survey walk or bring your own.
The above two survey walks are the first two in a series of nature survey walks in the Woodland that will take place throughout this spring and summer. Other topics will include: Trees & shrubs – on Thursday, June 13, 5:00 p.m.; Mammals, reptiles & amphibians – on Saturday, June 22, 8:30 a.m.; Butterflies and other insects – Thursday, July 18, 6:00 p.m.; Dragonflies – Saturday, August 10, 9:00 a.m.
* For all walks in this series, please RSVP with the committee chairperson: Contact the Como Woodland Advisory Committee Chair
City Nature Challenge in the Como Woodland & Beyond The 2019 City Nature Challenge will take place over the the final weekend in April.
Last year on April 28, 2018, there were 3,358 nature observations submitted to iNaturalist website (iNaturalist.org) by 339 Twin Cities citizen scientists. At the CWOC Great River School students made over 30 observations alone. The City Nature Challenge is an annual 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 compete to see who can make the most observations, find the most species, and engage the most people. It was a wonderful weekend for 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. We can do even better this year.
EcoStewards Take on Invasive Plants in the Como Woodland In the first year (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 2019 we are up to 14 active EcoStewards volunteering in the CWOC, but we could always use more help. For more information about how to become an EcoSteward go to: http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=5296
Seed Squad Volunteers in Como Woodland Last September 29 (2018) volunteers collected seeds from native plants growing in Como Woodland. The collected seeds will be sown and/or propagated and planted in the 2019 growing season to increase plant diversity for wildlife and pollinators in Como Woodland and other natural parkland in St. Paul. It was Service Leaning Day for U of M students. EcoStewards and the students collected seeds from 9am to 2pm. The event was organized by our partners in the Saint Paul Parks & Recreation Natural Resources Department. Check back for future seed collection events near the end of 2019 growing season.
For EcoStewards - Invasive Species Survey Need to take a quick look at the Step Method of sampling invasive species? It's posted on this website (Tools for Educators - Environmental Ed Resources page). When you are at your Como Woodland site: copies of the Step Method and Survey Datas Sheets can be obtained from the locked Tool Cache Box (forgot the combo? contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Tricia Wehrle).
Wrap-up of Dedication of Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom It is worth remembering that fine Spring day just four years ago when we gathered together with students, teachers, Como Woodland Advisors, and dignitaries – all had 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) has a 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 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 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.
*In 2019, with the help of District 10 Community Council Environment Committee, volunteers started an update of the original 2006 bird survey - we look forward to seeing their results later this year.