Volunteers plant trees in the Upper Arboretum

Independent Volunteer Projects

Want to get involved in the Arboretum but our scheduled work events don’t fit your calendar? Prefer to work independently? Peruse our list of independent projects below and contact Nancy Braker (507-222-4543) if you would like to learn more about how to participate in this way.

Adopt a site

Do you have a favorite location in the Arboretum that you love and want to spend more time in?  Almost every inch of the Arboretum needs help!  Visit “your” place on a regular basis to complete tasks that you and the Arboretum staff determine need doing.  Tasks vary through out the seasons ranging from non-native plant removal, brush control, litter pick-up, seed collecting or planting, tree watering, protecting trees from deer browse, etc.  Work can be done on your schedule; we provide needed tools and supplies.

Tree Planting Maintenance

Most of the trees that we plant in the Arboretum need to be barricaded from the hungry deer that strip them of their buds, especially in the winter. We use tree tubes year round, and small paper bags in the winter.  Paper bags get added to the terminal bud in the fall and are taken off in the spring – apparently the deer do not realize that there is a tasty morsel inside.  Tree tubes need to be checked periodically to make sure the supporting stake is still holding the tube upright, to add or remove the nets that keep birds out of the tubes, or to remove the tubes if the tree seedling has died. Tube maintenance can be done any time of year when the ground is not frozen, but is more pleasant in the fall or spring when the vegetation is not so tall and the bugs are not bad.

Blue Bird Box Monitoring and Maintenance at the Arboretum and McKnight Prairie

Located 8 miles east of Northfield, McKnight Prairie is a delight any time of year, but especially the spring and summer during blue bird nesting season!  Our array of blue bird boxes need to be cleaned out before the nesting season, and then monitored periodically during the season. Arboretum bird boxes are located in the Upper Arboretum and need the same services.

Trail Camera Photo Sorting and Animal Identification

Review and identify the subject of trail camera photographs taken at locations throughout the Lower Arboretum. Photos are sorted by animal type and number, and data is entered into a spreadsheet. Our trail camera project helps us track type and abundance of various species. Initial training and work will be done at the Arboretum office; later work may be done off-site.