From Golf Course to Watershed: Waterlily Installation in Andover and Coon Rapids
Today, I got to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity that most 17-year-olds don’t usually get to experience on a regular basis. Originally, I thought that I was going on a ride along to a site visit at a watershed in suburban Andover to do some photography, but guess what? I got to do that and more.
My day started off by getting ready to go with my “Friday Supervisor”, Melissa Wenzel of BWSR to Andover. When we got there, Melissa and I were a little confused as to where we supposed to meet up with one of our colleagues, Ali Boese and some of the people she was installing the lilies with. While Melissa went out to find Ali, I stayed back and took some pictures of the beautiful plants and scenery. I have never experienced a place so quiet, serene, and beautiful at the same time. Several amazing pictures later, I met up with Melissa and the crew as they were prepping to install the waterlilies in the watershed.
I then met Victoria, who works at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory as a Horticulturist, Dan, who’s described as a “walking encyclopedia of all things plant related”, Carol and her daughter, who works with Dan at BWSR (Carol not her daughter obviously), and Ali and her daughter Echo. Big thanks to Como Friends for sponsoring Victoria’s work! I continued to take pictures around the area the waterlilies were to be installed, when I was asked by Ali if I wanted to help out with installing the waterlilies. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty hesitant at first, because one, I have never been canoeing/been in a canoe and two, I was going to get dirty. But you know what, this was a great opportunity, so I went for it! And I’m so glad I did. I was so amazed at the different species of aquatic plants that I saw. Not only that, but I got to see a couple waterlilies in bloom! I was honored to help place a few of the waterlilies into the water. To be honest, I was a little scared because I thought I was going to mess up the waterlilies or drop it so hard that everyone got splashed. Although, a lot of splashing happened, I didn’t mind it at all. I’m not usually a water person, but something about being in a canoe changed all of that.
Floating in the water, surrounded by various plants, on a nice, quiet, sunny day, really made being in the water worthwhile. Going out on this site visit, gave me a new perspective on nature and how valuable it is to protect native and non-native plants. What once used to be a golf course, is now a protected watershed for everyone to enjoy. Just being able to be outside and helping improve an ecosystem, really makes a difference, not just for native plants, but for the whole state.