SNA Nature Notes

Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas header

Spring 2012




You are receiving this "Nature Note" because you have expressed interest in the Scientific and Natural Areas (SNA) Program at some time in the past. We have begun to focus energies on one of our important resources, YOU, the volunteers and friends of the SNA Program. This note is one effort to reconnect, pass along some interesting tidbits, let you know what we are up to, and point you toward exciting events you can join in on. If you do not wish to receive these updates please choose unsubscribe at the bottom of this message.

We also want your thoughts on what you would like to see from the Program. How can we feed your passion for nature and natural areas? What can we do to help discover these special places in your own way? Send us a note at to share your thoughts.



Photo of volunteer collecting seed in prairie

Pickers, Pullers & Planters

An on-going and long-term commitment many of you have made to the SNA Program has been to volunteer projects at an SNA. From picking seeds, to pulling invasive species, to planting acorns, you'll have plenty of opportunities to lend a hand in caring for these special places. If you haven’t been out on an event for awhile consider a few of the following projects. A full list is available on the newly updated SNA Volunteer web page, so check it out!



Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Volunteer Project: Invasive Removal


Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Volunteer Project: Invasive Removal


Caldwell Brook Cedar Swamp SNA

Hike to Caldwell Brook Cedar Swamp SNA




Photo of skier with toboggan skiing across Burntside Lake

Transformed by Burntside Islands SNA

In early March several intrepid explorers skied, hiked, and snowshoed their way across the snowy and frozen surface of Burnside Lake. Read more about their adventures in the Ely Echo. Read the article with more maps and photos here, and a follow-up here.

If you would be interested in organizing or leading events such as this on a Scientific and Natural Area contact us at



Photo of rock formation known as Chimney Rock

Site Highlight: Chimney Rock SNA

An interesting geological feature in Dakota county makes the grade as one the newest SNAs in Minnesota. Chimney Rock SNA contains a nearly 30-foot high pillar of rock comprised of a hard capstone rock that has protected soft sandstone under it from eroding. It is the only remaining formation of its kind remaining in the area, and has now been protected for all Minnesotan's to appreciate.



Norma Malinowski

Norma Malinowski - SNA Outstanding Volunteer

According to AmberBeth VanNingen, DNR Ecologist, Tower:

“Norma Malinowski has been the volunteer site steward for Kawishiwi Pines Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) near Ely since 2008. Kawishiwi Pines is one of the more remote SNAs; it is not accessible by motor vehicle and a 2.5 mile hike may be necessary to access it in the winter! Despite this, Norma has faithfully visited the SNA nearly every month, making note of things such as illegal ATV use, boundary sign conditions, and general nature observations. She has also shared her knowledge of Kawishiwi Pines, and the Northwoods in general, by leading small groups to the site.”

Norma's involvement goes beyond just one SNA, however. She has helped monitor other SNAs and participated in gathering information on them such as species records for plant and bird lists. Recently, she has become involved with the SNA Program’s new outreach and education initiative by recruiting new site stewards and volunteers and helping the SNA program plan outreach events such as hikes into SNAs in the region. “Because of our small staff, we are dependent on volunteers like Norma to be our eyes and ears on the ground and to help promote SNAs.  Norma represents what we admire in our volunteer site stewards, and we are grateful to have her!”



Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).