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Audubon Preserve

Audubon Preserve entranceIn December of 1987 a 10-acre plot of land was given to the Albert Lea Audubon Society by the estate of Myron and Stephanie Pederson.  One year later an additional 6 lots adjacent to this land were purchased by the Society for payment of back taxes.  Thus was born the Audubon Preserve.

It is tucked away in the southwestern part of Albert Lea off the end of Oregon Street.

 

After years of just basic trail maintenance, things began to change in 2005.  Paul Moore, president of the Society at that time, wanted to make the Preserve a place to be proud of.  With advice from Emily Hutchins of the Minnesota DNR, and the work of many people under the leadership of Loren Kaiser:

Rose-breasted grosbeak

 

  • Dead trees and bushes were removed
  • Weeds were killed
  • Benches were installed
  • New trails were added
  • New plantings are underway

 

 

There are now almost 2 miles of mowed trails, and the birds and wildlife are abundant.

 

Lark sparrow

Motorized vehicles and picnicking are not allowed in order to maintain the quiet and serenity of this little piece of wilderness.  Please come and enjoy the fruits of the generosity of so many people by walking the trails and observing the natural world.

 

If you would like to contribute to the beauty of the Preserve through financial donations, plant donations, or a few hours of satisfying work, please contact:

 Loren Kaiser    507-383-9704

 

It will always be a work in progress.

 


2016 Update

Except for more frequent complete mowings for weed control and more visitors, not much was notable in 2015.

But...in 2016 we got busy.  

Spurred on by the local concern for the decline of the Monarch butterfly, we created a new native plant area on the north side of the Preserve.  Plans were decided on, the ground was prepared, plants were ordered from 2 area nurseries, and volunteers helped get them in the ground in May.

            

We kept most of the weeds down, lost a few plants to the deer and rabbits, but by fall, most plants had bloomed or were still blooming.  We were pleased with this experiment, and plan to fill in with more new plants in 2017.

                                             

 

 In the Spring we were approached by a local beekeeper who asked if we would like him to put 2 hives at the Preserve.  It was approved unanimously, and the 2 hives were installed on the south side.  The bees loved it there and we got a bountiful harvest of delicious honey!  We agreed to try 3 hives in 2017, and are hoping for success.  The hives are fenced in to protect them.  If you come to watch the bees at work, just remember...never approach a bee hive from its front entrance!  

                            

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 August 2014 Progress Update

 More folks are enjoying the Preserve this summer with many repeat users and dog walkers.  This is a good sign that word is spreading about our little piece of natural beauty.

A new sign by Auto Artists was installed at the Oregon Street entrance detailing the origins of the Preserve and some of the things one might see.

The showcase plant area is doing very well!  Loren has made a laminated sign of the layout showing all the plant names.  Dustin Demmer of Blazing Star Gardens, who did the planting, is making a free-standing sign for us.  A bench has also been installed nearby so you can come sit and enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of this area.

The entire Preserve was mowed in mid June and will be mowed again in mid August.  This will allow for greater plant growth during the fall season, and sets it up for a burn in the spring of 2015.  The sentenced-to-serve group came and burned brush piles, and the old piles of iron scrap have been removed.    Burning brush                           

 

August will see the planting of two new areas adjacent to the plants, one for native trees and one for native shrubs.  Signage will be made for these areas, too.

We received a memorial for Marilynn Pauline Nelson from her son John's co-workers at Unitron which is being used to have the Boy Scouts build 2 new benches for us.  A big thank-you to these generous folks!

 

The late summer-early fall plants are in full bloom; the plum trees are heavy with fruit; and even the old apple trees are bearing fruit this year!

Birds are again plentiful!  The pileated woodpeckers came back again, along with the finches, orioles, blue buntings and bluebirds.  And for the first time we had a pair of wood ducks using one of the nest boxes!    

Wood duck

            Please stop down for a pleasant walk with Mother Nature, and remember...

                                      Take only photos, leave only footprints!

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August 2013 Progress Update
  
The entire Preserve was mowed on June 30th and will be mowed again at the end of August to allow for better plant growth.  There are many plants blooming right now as a result of the seeding that was done last year throughout the Preserve.
Blue vervainBlack-eyed SusansMullein
 The 2 miles of paths were all sprayed with weed killer in June to make for more enjoyable walking, and planting was done at the entry area to dress it up and make it more welcoming. 
  
Dustin Demmer of Blazing Star Gardens in Clarks Grove was hired to do the first showcase planning and planting of approximately 50 Minnesota native plants in an area of about 600 square feet just down from the entrance.  Big Toe Towing and Excavating donated railroad ties to surround this area.  The plot is mulched to help keep out weeds. This should be a very attractive spot by next summer! 
 
Showcase plot #1
 
  
The wildlife is abundant.  Three new fawns have been seen, as well as a pair of pileated Male pileated woodpeckerwoodpeckers, and 12 little turkeys following their mom around.
 
Come check it out if you can!

 

 

 

 

 

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