From: Jack G. Conrad [mailto:jackgconrad @ earthlink.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 2, 2005 6:15 PM
Subject: Report on Fall Foliage Frolic -- from John Ward
Our annual Fall Foliage Frolic on Saturday (October 1st) was great. We met in Patrick Eagan Park on a very beautiful, unseasonably warm day. In addition to the splendid weather, the Dakota County Commissioners had proclaimed this day "Eagan Core Greenway Day."
David Brunet, Laura Hedlund and I (John Ward) represented Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway, Steve Weston of the Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter was our guide for the plants, animals and geology of the park.
As we were gathering, former Eagan Mayor and current Third District Dakota County Commissioner Tom Egan jogged up---he was out running and we were the destination.
David Brunet and I gave a short history of Patrick Eagan Park: local pioneer farmers lived here, "Patrick Eagan Park" and "McCarthy Lake," the threat of becoming a golf course having initiated the formation of our parent groups: "Save Patrick Eagan Park" and "Patrick Eagan Park Preservation Committee" which eventually became the current Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway, the recent addition of the Anderson Property, the recent Caponi Art Park transaction, and future plans and aspirations for the McCarthy farm.
I thanked Commissioner Egan for his vote on the County Board's Eagan Core Greenway Proclamation which was also sponsored by Nancy Schouweiller, Commissioner of the Fourth District---these two commissioners represent the northern and southern regions of Eagan. Both of these Eagan area Commissioners spoke eloquently on the record for greenspace before the vote and Tom again spoke today to those gathered about the importance of greenspace.
The walk in the park was fun and included at least a couple dozen adults and kids. Steve started with my favorite tree, an oak in the park that could be the oldest tree in Eagan. Steve noted that the tree had low branches, an overall symmetrical crown shape and was wider rather than taller indicating that it started life in a prairie like environment where it wasn't shaded by any other trees and retains that natural shape. Demonstrating this, he pointed out other nearby trees that have fewer leaves, where other trees get the light and more leaves and branches where they can get above the competition.
As we walked, Steve served samples of various edible plants, pointed out invasive species and located birds both by sight and sound. The group naturally divided into two groups, Steve making the long haul through the park with the hearty hikers, while young kids, other adults and I explored the nearby recently acquired Anderson Addition to Patrick Eagan Park. The major thrill for the kids was finding live "worms" inside the galls on goldenrod plants, which, of course, they took home.
I liked this group, pleasant, smart and interested when Tom, David, and I spoke, not to mention Steve. On the tour, Laura Hedlund made connections while I was dug larvae out of galls on the Golden Rod for the kids.
The accompanying pictures show most of the group before starting with Tom Egan in the center, Steve Weston in back on the far left and David Brunet beside him.