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Join us for National Public Lands Day Saturday, Sept 22nd

Two work activities will be held Saturday September 22nd benefiting Indian Heights Park.  One group will work at the park itself clearing and treating buckthorn.  A second group will collect prairie seeds at the Oronoco Scientific and Natural Area north of Rochester.

Free NPLD T-Shirt if you register before Sept 7th!

Register online at the U of MN Extension website or if you don't have a Master Naturalist account, sign up by contacting Clifford Hansen (phone 507 281-0249 or email before September 7th to receive a Minnesota Master Naturalist NPLD 2018 T-Shirt!

At Indian Heights Park

The park is located at 1800 Terracewood Drive NW in Rochester.  A morning work session will run from 9am to approximately 11:30am, and an afternoon session will run from 12:30pm to 3pm. Bring loppers or a pruning saw and work gloves if you have them.  Equipment provided if you don't have your own.

At Oronoco Scientific and Natural Area (SNA)

The Oronoco SNA is located 8 miles north of Rochester on 18th Avenue NW, north of Sargent's Landscape Nursery.  Participants will need to park along the highway at the SNA.  A morning session will run from 9am to 11am and an afternoon session will run from noon to 2pm.  Wear long sleeves, pants, and sturdy shoes.  Bring plastic milk jugs for collecting seeds.

Water and morning snacks will be provided at both locations.  Lunch and T-shirts will be provided by the Minnesota Master Naturalists for those who pre-register - information on pre-registration to be announced soon.

For more information about National Public Land's Day check out the National Environmental Education Foundation's website.

Join us to help remove Garlic Mustard on Saturday mornings in June, 8:30am -10:30am

Through the end of June, we will be meeting in the Indian Heights parking lot at 8:30am to go into the park to remove invasive garlic mustard plants. We will provide coffee, cookies, gloves, bags and tools. If you have any special requests, please email Dawn at Hope to see you there!

Conservation Corps prescribed burns at Indian Heights January - March

Prescribed burnWhere there is smoke there is fire, but no need to panic about smoke you may see coming from the Indian Heights Park over the next few months.

On Monday, January 16th, the Conservation Corps of Minnesota began a series of prescribed burns to eliminate the piles of buckthorn at Indian Heights Park.

Burning days in the park will vary depending on the snow and wind conditions, but will continue through the end of March. Conservation Corps of Minnesota crews won't leave the Park until the fires are out.

Thank you National Public Lands Day Volunteers!

On Saturday, September 24th, we had about 30 Grandma and granddaughter volunteers at two locations throughout the day: trail builders at Indian Heights Park and seed collectors at Oronoco Scientific and Natural Area.

Both groups did great work either reinforcing the main path leading up to Indian Heights or collecting native seeds such as Indian Grass, Rattlesnake Master, Side Oats Gramma grass and more.

Half of the seeds collected will go to the Department of Natural Resources' Scientific and Natural Areas program and the remaining half will be used in Indian Heights.

Our thanks to everyone for coming and making it a productive and memorable event.

Trail Volunteers

Seed Gatherers

Volunteer for National Public Lands Day Sept 24th

Buckthorn pilesJoin Friends of Indian Heights Neighborhood Association and MN Master Naturalists on Saturday, Sept 24th between 9am and 3pm to help restore the park. Pre-registered volunteers who come for at least 90 minutes and get a free t-shirt and lunch!

All supplies and training are provided but you need to a wear a long sleeved t-shirt, socks, sturdy shoes and jeans. There are two locations with different tasks:

At Indian Heights Park: reducing the number of brush woodpiles to save soil and killing invasive brush.

At Oronoco Scientific and Natural Area: native plant seed collection at a remnant prairie 6 miles north of Indian Heights Park (directions provided upon registration).

To get a free t-shirt and boxed lunch please fill out the online registration form.

You can sign up after August 26th, but you may or may not get a t-shirt and lunch depending on supplies.

Send sign up information or any questions to: or call (507) 206-7394

Thank you for your interest and potential participation.

Dawn Littleton

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Spring Work in the Park

The Minnesota Conservation Corp has continued its work taking down the invasive buckthorn trees in Indian Heights Park.  There are piles of buckthorn wood throughout the park as they continue the work on this 3-year project.  We have been using some of the wood shreds to line the trails to prevent erosion.

Temporary trailYou may have noticed a combination of stones, wood and other things (including shingles!) on the main path walking up to the park.  Because there is no funding for a permanent solution to the erosion problem on this path right now, these materials are helping to keep the trail from eroding for the time being. 

They are a temporary solution and we hope to find some grant funding for a more permanent solution in the near future.  

March 6th "Sense & Sustainability at Assisi Heights" presentation at Rochester Public Library @ 2pm

Assisi HeightsFranciscan Sisters Alice Thraen and Mary Goergen will discuss sustainability projects on the 120 acres of the Assisi Heights property as well as those in the 425,000 square feet of the building. Many of these can be adapted to your own homes and properties.

Join us in the Rochester Public Library auditorium on Sunday, March 6th at 2:00pm for this lively presentation.

Download a poster of this event.

City of Rochester Resources for Project GOKids finding bugs

City of Rochester Parks and trails for children to explore or engage through Project GO (Project Get Outdoors):

Visit this Map showing the City of Rochester Park and Recreation areas:

Additional Resources

Contact for further information


Sept 26, 2015 National Public Lands Day @ Indian Heights Park

Please join Minnesota Master Naturalist and Friends of Indian Heights Park in the nation's largest annual volunteer effort for America's Public Lands.

At this family friendly-event, we will be removing, cutting, and stacking Buckthorn, Honeysuckle, and Reed Canary Grass, all of which are invasive species on Saturday, September 26th from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Meet at the entrance to Indian Heights Park at 1800 Terracewood Drive NW, Rochester, MN 55901

Please wear long pants and long sleeves in layers, closed toe shoes, sunscreen, bug spray, water bottle, folding saw or bow saw, and working gloves.

Participants who pre-register by Sept 11th will be provided lunch and a t-shirt to thank you for your service!


Please feel free to contact Amy Rager at or Brittany Kinney at with any questions or concerns.

Sign up for Project GO Volunteer Training on June 8th

Do you love spending time outside? Can you see yourself leading an activity with youth? You are invited to join Project GO and Friends of Indian Heights for a Project GO Volunteer Training to be held on Monday, June 8th from 6:00-8:00pm at the People’s Food Co-Op meeting room.

Upon completion of this training, individuals will be ready to lead youth in outdoor activities and be connected to Project GO sites in Rochester MN and the surrounding areas!

If interested, please contact Project Get Outdoors at

For more information see the PDF flyer.

Attracting Bees & Beneficial Insects with Native Plants presentation April 19th

Learn about the predator-prey relationships of flower-visiting beneficial insects and how they help keep problem insect populations in balance. The life cycles, diversity, and nesting habitat of native bees will also be covered along with examples of native plants for different site conditions.

Presented by Heather Holm, author of the book "Pollinators of Native Plants" at the Rochester Public Library on Sunday, April 19th at 2:00pm.

Friends of Indian Heights Park and RNeighbors get $51,300 grant!

This March, Friends of Indian Heights was awarded a $51,300 grant for restoration of Indian Heights Park (including a section of Thompson Mill Race and a Rochester Park and Recreation parcel).

The grant will be used to remove invasive plants from these areas (including buckthorn, garlic mustard, and more) to help restore these areas to their native condition.

The grant will provide funding for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota to perform invasive species removal and conduct controlled burns.

We thank RNeighbors, Celebrate Dakota!, GRADS, the Native American Center, and all of our partners!

Rochester: Rocks, Water, Landscapes presentation Feb 22nd

Friends of Indian Heights co-sponsored the "Rochester: Rocks, Water, Landscapes" presentation at the Rochester Public Library auditorium on Sunday, February 22nd at 2:00pm.

If you missed the presentation by Todd Osweiler (Rochester Public Utilities) and Barb Huberty (director of the Minnesota Legislative Water Commission) who took us on a sojourn through geologic time to help us discover how Rochester's geology guides the City's storm water management and groundwater protection decisions, you can watch it online.

Spread the word with this poster. Download the slides and handouts. For further information email:

Sign up to become a Master Naturalist this Spring

Learn about the hardwood forest biome and the unique blufflands region of SE Minnesota. This course will introduce participants to the flora, fauna and geology of the region through lectures, hikes, field trips and hands-on naturalist activities. Special guest presenters from a variety of conservation organizations will visit the class to share about exciting volunteer opportunities available throughout the region.

Attendance is required at all sessions and field trips. Field trip times are from 8:00 - 4:30.

The course cost is $275 and includes course manuals and supplies.

If the course cost is a hardship, please fill out the scholarship application and send it to us.

More complete information available at the MN Master Naturalist website.

American Dagger Moth Caterpillar Sighting in Rochester!

American Dagger Moth (Acronicta americana) caterpillars are native to North American and range in color from yellowish to white with thick "black spikes" on their first and third abdominal segments.

They are found in forests and woodlands east of the Rockies and feed on deciduous tree leaves.  Caterpillars are seen from July to October.  Read more...  (Photo by Ann Bolin). 

Join us for a National Public Lands Day buckthorn clearing on Sept 27th

Buckthorn beware! Join your friends and neighbors on National Public Lands Day - Saturday, September 27th from 9:00am - 3:00pm to help cut down and apply herbicide to buckthorn in Indian Heights Park.

All volunteers who sign up before September 9th will receive a free FOIH t-shirt and lunch. Leaders will be there with tools and instructions for clearing buckthorn.

Visit the registration website or contact Dawn Littleton ( for more information. 

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