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Golden opportunity in Silver Springs

Posted: August 24, 2020

 
Golden opportunity in Silver Springs

 
Jensen Glover grew up in East St. Paul and has an affinity for Silver Springs Park.
She's now a member of the RM's Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee.


Jensen Glover is a life-long resident of East St. Paul. The 18-year-old graduated from River East Collegiate this year and will attend U of W for communications in the fall. She is a volunteer on the RM’s Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee and calls it a "unique volunteer opportunity that combines my interest in communication with my passion for the environment”.

Jensen will be writing a series of articles about Silver Springs Park, which has been an
extension of her family’s back yard for most of he life. She’s always been interested in the park environment
 and now, thanks in part to her role on the committee, she says her horizons have been expanded. In this first article, Jensen talks about the naturalization efforts in the park.

Silver Springs Park is one of the defining features of East St. Paul. It has become a local landmark and a pleasant place to go for a walk, kayak or skate and toboggan in the winter. Once an operational gravel quarry in the 1870s, it was gradually transformed into our beloved park in the 1990s.

That transformation is an ongoing process, aided and monitored by the municipality, which recently implemented ‘NoMow’ zones in several areas to further naturalize the park to encourage the growth of native species like prairie grasses and wildflowers. This is an important step in protecting our local environment.

One thing I have always loved about the park is the abundance of colourful wildflowers that grow largely along the shoreline. There are many seasonal varieties that come and go, but the most prominent are the beautiful Wild Daisies and Roses, Birds Foot Trefoil, and Clover. Earlier in the season the park even boasted a respectable population of Lady’s-Slippers. These distinctive flowers are a protected species, and a welcome sight for pollinators. All these wildflowers are expected to thrive and expand their range in the No Mow Zones and when combined with native grasses promise a unique beauty.

The growth of these native species serves more than just an aesthetic purpose. Maintaining a healthy ecosystem demands a thriving insect population, and pollinators that take advantage of the wildflower growth will reap the benefits. Pollinators play an immeasurably important role keeping nearly every plant species alive. I have noticed more bees, moths, butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies since the municipality’s changes came into effect, and with bee populations in decline, providing naturalized green space is more important than ever to protect these vital species.

I am happy to see the park becoming such a haven. The wildflowers provide both sustenance and habitat for insects and other small creatures that make their home in the park. The importance of a healthy insect population extends beyond pollination to supporting other species, such as the wide variety of birds that can be seen around the park.

These are the more immediate results of just one change. The naturalization of Silver Springs Park will continue for many years and bring many positive changes. I am looking forward to seeing how this project progresses. I have a fondness for the park, and I believe growing up in it has encouraged my appreciation for nature in a way little else could. I hope the park will encourage many other children to learn to love nature and appreciate its beauty.

 

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