Latest News – Jaime Cardinal visits Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center !!

IMG_5160Birdhouse with Cardinal Jaime

Welcome to the newest nature center in Minnesota – the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center located in Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park. There is no admission charge to the Park, which is open dawn to dusk. Admission to the nature center is also free.

A storage shed was included in the nature center building permit approved by the City of Lake Elmo and the Minnesota Land Trust, but Connie said “sheds are ugly, let’s build a birdhouse instead”.  Build it, and they will come!

Times of events and programs are shown on the Calendar (click on tab above).  For a more complete description of each event, and sign-up instructions, go to the “Event and Program Descriptions” tab.

Our Grand Opening was June 2nd with over 200 attendees. The videos of the dedication ceremony are available at the “Media” tab above. Pictures, including one of the Upside-down Garden, can be viewed at the “Picture Gallery” tab above.

To see a video of Connie’s Prairie Pioneer Tea Party  which was held August 29th, click on “Media” tab above. Her Powerpoint presentation about the party is also located there.

Plan to come to the Art in the Park event Saturday and Sunday October 13-14 from 9 AM  4 PM. Watch artists in action, see works that have been completed, have a snack, participate in an art project. Julie Schroeder will be teaching a multimedia art class on Sunday October 14th 10-2, to register via Paypal link,  click on “Event and Program Descriptions” page tab above and go to October 14th.

Julie is also teaching a class on October 20th and a special 2-day workshop November 15-16, see Event and Program Descriptions tab for details and registration links.

The next Buckthorn removal day will be October 13th from 10-Noon.

We are planning for a Sunfish Lake Park Buckthorn Festival on November 10th – with buckthorn removal contest, unique foods, music, and buckthorn games.  Bring your team, or come and join a team – details on “Events and Program Descriptions” page tab, see November 10th. The Team registration form and individual waiver forms are available there too.  7 teams have already registered – it is not too late to join the fun!!

For volunteer opportunities, go to Positions Available tab.

If you are coming to the Nature Center take County 14 west from downtown Lake Elmo to the brown sign “Sunfish Lake Park / Nature Center” and follow the arrow to the Park Entrance. To see the map, click on “Location & Hours” tab above. Caution: some GPS location services will direct you north on Kelvin Avenue and you will be 600 feet east of the nature center with no way to cross over.


The Friends of Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park rely on donations to operate the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center as a community resource within our Mission.  We have also officially “Adopted” Sunfish Lake Park in the new Lake Elmo Adopt-a-Park Program.

Emy and turtle pic crop jpeg 11-21-17

Check out our YouTube Channel:


Shane’s first Video Virtual Trail Walk – we plan to do seasonal video trail walks to show to visitors who are unable to physically walk the trails.


Kim – Bobcat Operator Extraordinare

Construction video snippets

Monarch Butterfly emerging from its chrysalis