Marine on St. Croix city council met 16-year-old student and environmentalist, Olivia Nienaber during the Feb. 13 meeting seeking community involvement in her 4-H OWLS (Outdoor Wilderness Leadership & Service) project during the spring and summer of this year. The project’s purpose is to improve the St. Croix River Valley environment for early migrating birds impacted by climate change. 

“One of the reasons I am doing this project is because I have been noticing birds have been coming back earlier each year to Minnesota,” Nienaber presented to council. “This is a problem because there is not always enough food for them.”

In an attempt to combat this problem, Nienaber has implemented two primary components of this project.

The first component of her project plans to have clusters of two trees and three bushes in 10 locations along important areas of the St. Croix River Valley for migrating birds in Marine, Scandia, and May Township. The trees and bushes planted will have winter retaining fruit, or will bloom early in the springtime for birds migrating earlier than normal.

The second component of her project involves a public session for youth and adults to build seed and mealworm feeders for early migrating birds. The meeting is intended to take place May 30 at the Scandia Community Center where each group will pay $75 for the materials and initial feed necessary. Also attending will be a naturalist from William O’Brien and a master gardener to present information about these birds and answer questions about the feeders the teams will take home with them.

Nienaber asked city council for their direct involvement in the project, including the designation of a safe space to plant two trees and three bushes in the city, and a $424 donation for the planting of those trees and bushes. Nienaber stated that commitments have been made by Christ Lutheran Church, Elim Lutheran Church, Gammelgarden Museum, Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails, River Grove Elementary School, Scandia Elementary School, and the Scandia Marine Lions with the Town of May in consideration as well. 

In taking one of the first steps toward the project, councilmember Charlie Anderson motioned to donate the $424 dollars to kick-start other communities to do the same.  “I would like it if Olivia could go to May and say, ‘Marine stepped up right away’ and to go to Scandia and say, ‘Marine led the way on this,” Anderson said. With that, the council unanimously approved the donation and gave Nienaber a well-deserved round of applause.

Other Business:

The city council is inching closer to their new and improved logo putting several options on display at the February meeting. The city would have two design options – one with color and one without - for different applications throughout the city. The final step would be to receive a final rendering from Studio 2 after councilmember Anderson brings final thoughts/feedback from the council and community members to the designers.

Conversations continue about the new website for Marine on St. Croix. After community input, a beta site will be presented to the city council upon which they will have the opportunity to request necessary changes before the site goes public. No date was given as to when the site would go live.

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