Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Educational Trunks on Native and Invasive Plants a Success for the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center
Midwest Region, January 1, 2008
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An educational trunk (a rolling hard-sided suitcase) about growing native plants in your garden was created by the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center’s Environmental Education specialist Teresa Jaskiewicz, after she had been presenting programs on the benefits of native plants at local garden clubs, nurseries and garden & horticulture days for several years.

“There was a need to have something available for people to check out and take home to review and not have to spend a lot of money” Jaskiewicz said.   

After creating a list of what should be included in the trunk, the Fergus Falls Area Garden Cub provided the funding. The trunks include reference books, posters, pressed and laminated plants, seed charts, and the Project Bluestem curriculum created by Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge. The trunks are available to check out free of charge to educational groups and the general gardening public.

In its first year of use, the trunks have been used by over 400 students in Minnesota and North Dakota, as well as the Otter Tail Master Gardeners, area lake associations, private citizens, local garden clubs and the Wild Ones Natural Landscapers. The trunks were displayed during the 2007 Minnesota State Master Gardener’s Conference, where the idea generated much interest and enthusiasm from other educational and resource organizations.

Taking off from the success of the Growing Native trunk, Jaskiewicz then created a trunk focusing on Invasive Plants. The Invasive Plants trunk was funded by West Otter Tail Master Gardeners, Otter Tail Chapter of the Wild Ones and area garden clubs. It has the same format as the Growing Native trunk, but was designed for small parcel landowners and gardeners. Although only complete for a couple of months, it has already been used by Master Gardeners, local lake association members, and private land owners. 

If you would like a content list of either or both trunks please contact Teresa Jaskiewicz at teresa_jaskiewicz@fws.gov  or the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center at 218-736-0938.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov
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