TREE TREK

Hello Tree Trekker!

Visit this new educational feature in Sunfish Lake Park – A cooperative effort of the Washington County Master Gardeners Tree Squad and the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center. It follows a short, wheelchair-accessible path starting just south of the nature center, then across the parking lot and northward and eastward (see map) from a point near Trail Sign # 12 at the northeast corner of the parking lot. Use the QR code on the sign on the metal stake near each marked tree, select the tree number on the sign, and scroll down this page to learn more about that tree. At this point, over a dozen of the pages are active (those in GREEN FONT) but we are adding others as we are able. We will have printed brochures available at the nature center reception desk, and are planning to set up scheduled guided tours of this feature of the Park in the year 2024.

Select A Tree

Touch or click its number/name – those shown in green font have descriptions available, the ones in black font are coming soon!
Trees of particular value to Native American Tree Medicine practice are noted as such in the details. 

Background

In mid-August 2023, the Washington County Master Gardeners Tree Squad met at SMINC and presented a plan to create an educational “Tree Trek” in Sunfish Lake Park. A grant application was submitted to the $6.8 million Mn-DNR Community Forestry Re-Leaf program Request For Proposals. Our measly $50K project was not selected for funding, but it would have enabled the creation of a multi-lingual, multi-media, wheelchair accessible educational experience focused on many existing trees, and some additional trees to be planted, in the Park. A unique feature would be the inclusion of information about the traditional use of different trees in Native American healing practice. We also included funding to survey local educators about what content would be most useful for their student groups.

After the rejection email message (“Blah Blah NO blah blah blah”) was received, Anna, Kim, Paul, and Tony decided that the idea was too good to ignore and went ahead with a slimmed-down version, which could be the basis of a more ambitious program if and when funding is available.

With the permission of the City’s Public Works Department head Marty Powers, we placed stakes near each of 39 trees of interest along a wheelchair-friendly route about 1000 ft long, and created a website page to provide access to the educational material. Each stake has a tree number and a QR code that links to this page, where there are links to a separate page for each tree. 

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