County Road 42 now open in both directions
County Road 42 in Burnsville is now open in both directions following the substantial completion of bridge repair and road improvements at the I-35W interchange. Occasional single-lane closures are still expected between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through June 30.
Beginning in July, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will be resurfacing both directions of Highway 13 in Burnsville from west of County Road 5 to Highway 101 in Savage.
The project is expected to begin the week of July 10, and will result in overnight and weekend single-lane closures in both directions.
Single-lane closures in both directions are expected from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays, July 10 to Aug. 14; and from 7 p.m. on Friday to 5 a.m. on Monday the following weekends: July 14-17, July 21-24, Aug. 4-7 and Aug. 11-14.
Additional information on this project is available online at www.mndot.gov/metro/projects/hwy13.
Update on temporary signs in Burnsville construction areas
With all lanes now open at County Road 42 (at I-35W), and single-lane closures expected to be wrapped up soon, Burnsville is asking that all temporary signs in the area be removed by June 30.
The city had waived enforcement of its temporary signage ordinance for businesses impacted by construction in the area. Any temporary signs remaining the week of July 3 would be considered in violation of the ordinance.
Due to upcoming construction on Highway 13 in Burnsville from west of I-35W to Highway 101 in Savage, the city will waive enforcement of its temporary signage ordinance in select areas from July 10 to Aug. 14.
Beginning Monday, July 10, businesses along Highway 13 in Burnsville from west of I-35W to the Savage border will be allowed to expand temporary signage on their property to help motorists know they are open during construction. The ordinance will be waived for this specified area throughout the entire construction period (anticipated to be complete by Aug. 14).
With the enforcement waiver, businesses will not be required to get a temporary signage permit, will not have a limit on signs on their property, and will be able to keep signs up through Aug. 14.
Additional information on this project is available online at www.mndot.gov/metro/projects/hwy13.
Safe Summer Nights event set July 18
The Burnsville police and fire departments, along with the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, will host the second annual Safe Summer Nights Community Get-Together and Grill Out 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 18, at Neill Park, 13501 Upton Ave., Burnsville.
The free event promotes safety, crime prevention and positive community relationships. Police officers, firefighter/paramedics, police cars, fire trucks, police K-9 officers, the Mobile Command Post, dive gear/demonstrations and more will be on hand.
Attendees can have hamburgers, hot dogs, snacks and beverages while getting to know their local emergency responders. Food and beverages will be provided by the Wilder Foundation.
BHS students entering military recognized by Burnsville Yellow Ribbon group
Burnsville Beyond the Yellow Ribbon recognized Burnsville High School seniors June 6 who have made military commitments during a Burnsville City Council meeting and at a reception at the Dan Patch American Legion in Savage.
Thirteen students from Burnsville, Eagan and Savage have made commitments – four to the U.S. Marine Corps and nine to the Minnesota Army National Guard.
They include, entering the U.S. Marines: Jason Chappell, Burnsville, William Hajduch, Savage; Jeckson Hernandez Diaz, Burnsville; and Dawson Skavnak, Burnsville; and entering the Minnesota Army National Guard: Alexander Garlington, Burnsville; Shane Kerwin, Savage; Jackson Grey, Savage; Kiera Wilson, Burnsville; Jared Shearer, Savage; Jean Lain, Burnsville; Malacai Bailey, Savage; Corey McGovern, Burnsville; and Fabrizio Cuartas, Eagan.
Mike Huddleston, coordinator for Burnsville BTYR, said the organization decided to honor the BHS students because they have raised their hands to serve their community and country. “This is the second year in a row that we’ve done this and it’s a great thing,” he said.
“I also want to recognize and thank the families of these young folks for letting us borrow them to go to boot camp so that they can represent Burnsville and our country,” Huddleston said.
During the City Council meeting, the students were given a $75 gift card, a Yellow Ribbon pin, and a gift bag. The Burnsville VFW, Burnsville American Legion, Burnsville Lions and Burnsville BTYR provided donations that went toward the gift cards and gift bags.
The U.S. Marine Auxiliary and Dan Patch American Legion provided donations for the reception for the students and their families, which also included students from Savage and Prior Lake who attended Prior Lake High School, and representatives from Scott County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon. The Dan Patch American Legion provided the young soldiers with complimentary one-year memberships and American flags.
BTYR is a statewide network of a diverse group of citizens and community leaders uniting key areas within local communities to leverage existing support activities, build awareness, and act to recognize and support veterans, service members and military families.
Skateboarding class offered in Burnsville
Shred the Park II skateboarding class for ages 6-12 is offered 9 a.m. to noon July 17-19. Cost is $120.
Participants will focus on mastering their riding skills while working on rolling ollies, kick flips, axle stalls, pop shuvits and more. Skaters can improve their balance and control while working on small launch ramps and grinding rails. This class offers small group instruction based on ability level.
Classes will be held at Burnsville Lions Skate Park on Civic Center Parkway. Participants are asked to bring their own skateboard. Helmets and safety pads are strongly recommended. Instructors are provided by Zombie Boardshop and 3rd Lair Skatepark & Skateshop.
Additional skateboarding classes offered this summer include:
• Shred the Park for Teens, ages 13-plus, Aug. 14-16.
• Shred the Park for Adults, ages 18-plus, Sept. 16.
To request a loaner skateboard for use during classes, call Kelly Hansen at 952-895-4514.
Ice time in Burnsville
Burnsville Ice Center will offer summer ice time to help develop hockey and figure skating skills.
Developmental Hockey Ice, all ages, 6-8 a.m. Wednesdays. Cost: $12. This ice time is for hockey skaters only. Skaters provide their own instructors. No payment is required for coaches/adults working with skaters. Coaches can have a maximum of four students on the ice at a time. On-ice supervision is required for any skater 17 years old or younger. Coaches and skaters must check in at the office before heading to the ice.
Freestyle Ice, 7-9:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Cost: $12. This ice time is for figure skaters only. Skaters provide their own instructors. No payment is required for coaches/adults working with skaters. On-ice supervision is required for any skater 17 years old or younger. Coaches and skaters must check in at the office before heading to the ice.
For more information about ice center programs, visit www.burnsvilleicecenter.org or contact the Burnsville Ice Center at 952-895-4651.
Vikings autograph signing at The Ballpark
The Ballpark, a sports memorabilia store in Apple Valley, will host an autograph signing by Minnesota Vikings players Danielle Hunter and Alex Boone and former Viking Bob Lurtsema noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 22.
Advance tickets for Hunter and Boone are $15 each; $17 the day of the event; $29 combo available. Bring an item for signing or purchase photos of Hunter and Boone for $8 each in advance or $10 on the day of the show. Lurtsema offers free autographs.
The Ballpark is at 203 150th St. W., Apple Valley, 952-432-2577.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby to meet in Rosemount
Citizens’ Climate Lobby of Dakota County will meet 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 8, at Robert Trail Library, 14395 S. Robert Trail, Rosemount.
Attendees will learn about Carbon Fee and Dividend, an economically viable, win-win climate solution. All are welcome.
CCL is a grassroots, nonprofit, non-partisan organization focused on creating political will for climate solutions at the local and national level. For more information, contact Veda Kanitz at [email protected] or visit https://citizensclimatelobby.org.
Dakota County commissioners visit Dakota Electric
Dakota Electric Association recently welcomed the Dakota County commissioners. The commissioners have been connecting with local companies to hear about their needs and learn more about those who help make Dakota County successful.
Dakota Electric was represented by some of its board members, President and CEO Greg Miller and other staff members who met with the commissioners and provided an overview of the electric distribution business and the cooperative’s economic development efforts.
Miller discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by the not-for-profit electric cooperative as it seeks to provide reliable electricity at competitive rates to homes and businesses in the county. He also discussed Dakota Electric’s exploration of Advanced Grid Infrastructure (smart grid).
As Dakota Electric explores upgrading its distribution system in its service territory, the cooperative is leasing space on the county’s fiber-optic network. That network will provide needed infrastructure to allow the cooperative to quickly communicate with meters and other components on its distribution system.
“It is a win-win partnership between Dakota Electric and the county,” Miller said.
During their visit, commissioners and Dakota Electric board members and staff discussed workforce needs, job creation, renewable energy and other topics related to economic development and the county’s economy.
Commissioners toured Dakota Electric’s system control center, where dispatchers are on hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to monitor the system and call in crews to repair outages when necessary.
“We had a great visit with Dakota Electric today whose more than 200 employees serve thousands of Dakota County residents, businesses and farms,” said Mike Slavik, chair of the Dakota County Commissioners. “As a not-for-profit co-op with more than 105,000 members, they are a major contributor to the economic success and high-quality of life in Dakota County.”
Students return from Washington, D.C., trip
Five area high school students, sponsored by Dakota Electric Association, recently returned from Washington, D.C. Dakota Electric’s students joined more than 1,800 students from across the nation (39 from Minnesota) for the 53rd annual National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Rural Electric Youth Tour held June 10-15.
Dakota Electric awarded the students the trip after they completed the application and interview process in March. The five local winners were Emma Anderson, Eagan High School; Holly Anderson, Christian Life Academy; William Barnes, Lakeville South High School; Kyle Ringley, Christian Life Academy; and Kelsey Shaw, School of Environmental Studies.
Each year in June, an activity-filled week affords these high school youth opportunities to learn firsthand what it is like to be involved in politics, community development and today’s social issues. The events of the 2017 Youth Tour consisted of learning about governmental processes, issues of the day, electric cooperatives, American history and meeting with elected legislators, including Reps. Jason Lewis, Collin Peterson, Rick Nolan, Tom Emmer and Tim Walz and Sen. Al Franken.
Students had fun, enjoyed seeing many sites and memorials, learned many things and made memories. The trip inspired some to desire to be active in politics.
“I can’t wait until I’m working in Congress and making a positive change in our country,” said Shaw.
Seeing the monuments, especially the National Museum of the Marine Corps, was a moving experience, and Barnes said he “could not go far without a feeling of great national pride.” He also said he “gained 38 new friends.” This trip is described by many as “a trip of a lifetime.”
Emma Anderson was selected to represent Minnesota on the Youth Leadership Council. As a delegate to the YLC, she will return to Washington, D.C., in July to focus on leadership skills, and then in 2018, she will participate in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s annual meeting. This is a huge honor and it is the second year in a row that a Dakota Electric student was selected for this role.
In addition to taking in the sights and sounds of Washington, D.C., all state groups convened for Rural Electric Youth Day to learn from public figures and other inspirational speakers.
The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has been a joint effort of local electric co-ops, such as Dakota Electric, their statewide co-op associations, including the Minnesota Rural Electric Association, and the NRECA, since 1964.
Students wishing to participate in Youth Tour 2018 should watch for information in Dakota Electric’s newsletter or on its website in January or contact their guidance counselor.
Dakota County launches new iPhone app
Dakota County recently launched a new iPhone app, making it easier to find important information about departments, services and events. The free app is now available to download at the Apple App Store.
The application was designed collaboratively with several Dakota County departments – including the library, parks, sheriff’s office, and property taxation & records – to rapidly provide access to popular online content.
Users can check for upcoming library events, search for park locations, view the jail roster, and quickly locate property tax information. The app also allows for the creation of personalized answer threads, which are then available for swift retrieval at any time.
For more information about the app, visit www.itunes.apple.com and search “Dakota County.” Visit the Dakota County Facebook page for a video featuring the new app.
Eagan resident wins award
Eagan resident Pam Gonnella, a volunteer co-chair of the Best Life Alliance, receives the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation 2017 Tip of the Spear Award from Mike Burke, president of MOHR and executive director of AOC in Alexandria. Over many years Gonnella has advocated for increased wages for direct service professionals, those who provide direct care for individuals with disabilities. She often shares her personal gratitude for the care provided to her own daughter each day. Photo submitted.
Farmington Library events
The Farmington Library, 508 Third St., will offer the following programs. Call 651-438-0250 or visit www.dakotacounty.us/library for more information.
Open Knitting, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 6. Join other knitters in a casual setting. Learn new stitches, get help with unfinished projects, or just sit and knit. Other crafters welcome.
Apollo to the Moon, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 7. Learn about human space travel to the Moon from blastoff at Kennedy Space Center to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. Science teacher Rob Ellos uses props, theatrical techniques, humor and audience participation to teach how humans got to the Moon, what they did there and what they brought back. Ages: 4-10.
Magical Mia, 10:30-11 a.m. Friday, July 8. Don’t blink or you may miss one of Mia’s stunning tricks that mystify with sleight of hand and create illusions with flowers, scarves, pearls, butterflies and more. Ages: 2-12.
Friday Fun for Teens, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Friday, July 8. Drop in for a variety of fun activities all summer long. Ages: 10-16.
Trinity Care Center celebrates 50 years of service
The Trinity Care Center, 3410 213th St. W., Farmington, celebrates 50 years of service with an open house event 3:30-7 p.m. Thursday, July 20.
The celebration, starting with a 3:30 p.m. ribbon cutting, is open to the public and will include free street tacos, ice cream, live music, bouncy house and balloon artist.
Trinity Campus has grown to include services for all members of the community. Trinity Care Center provides services to individuals needing long-term care and short-term transitional care. Trinity Terrace provides assisted-living apartments for seniors who require moderate to little assistance throughout the day. Trinity Suites provides memory care for those who have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
Within the last 5 years, Trinity has partnered with Big Stone Therapy to provide outpatient therapy (physical, occupational and speech) to members of the community.
More information is available at trinity.sfhs.org.
Food shelf challenge grant
Scott Carver Dakota Community Action Partnership (CAP) and Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless recently announced the seventh annual Food Shelf Challenge Grant.
Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless will proportionally match donations to the CAP Agency Food Shelf during the month of July, up to $5,000. The more funds CAP’s Food Shelf raises in July, the larger the matching grant from Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless will be.
In 2016, Minnesota food shelves raised over $1.2 million with this grant and hope to raise even more this year.
To donate, go to www.capagency.org/donate and designate the CAP Agency Food Shelf in your donation. Checks can also be mailed to 712 Canterbury Road S., Shakopee, MN 55379.
360 Communities receives grant
360 Communities received a $50,000 Brighter Futures Grant June 22 from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates, Eagan.
Great Lakes is celebrating its 50th anniversary by making grants to nonprofit organizations making a difference in the communities where its nine offices are located.
Brighter Futures Grants are an extension of the philanthropy work done by Great Lakes, which is dedicated to helping more students from low-income households, students of color, and first-generation students get into and through college so they can go on to successful lives and help build strong communities.
“Great Lakes is committed to making the communities where we live and work even greater,” said Richard D. George, president and chief executive officer of Great Lakes. “In Eagan, employees identified youth development as one of the most pressing issues affecting their community. 360 Communities is already doing good work, and we’re excited to help them make an even bigger impact with our Brighter Futures Grant.”
360 Communities provides hope and support to people by engaging communities to prevent violence, ensure school success and promote long-term self-sufficiency. It will use its $50,000 grant to support Partners for Success, a program focused on helping at-risk students graduate high school by developing trusting relationships among family support workers, parents, students and schools.
“360 Communities appreciates Great Lakes’ commitment to ensuring students in Dakota County have the best chance at reaching their potential in school and in life,” said Jeff Mortensen, president and CEO of 360 Communities. “This generous investment in the next generation shows the value Great Lakes places on the long-term strength of our communities.”
Great Lakes is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin.
The National Retail Federation predicts the average person with children in grades K-12 would spend $97.74 on school supplies such as notebooks, pencils and backpacks.
Lakeville Wireless Zone is working to alleviate the rising costs of school supplies through the fifth annual School Rocks Backpack Giveaway in partnership with The Cellular Connection (TCC) and Culture of Good.
The Wireless Zone invites Lakeville families and their children to pick up a free backpack filled with school supplies at its store at 17442 Kenwood Trail, from 1-3 p.m. July 23.
All children are eligible of income and must be accompanied by an adult to receive a backpack.
Lakeville student wins Citizens Bank scholarship
Lakeville High School graduate Vivian Riggin is the recipient of a $500 Citizens Bank Minnesota scholarship. The scholarship is offered through a random drawing to graduating high school seniors from the New Ulm and Lakeville areas who have completed the Citizens Real Life Skillz online classes.
Riggin is the daughter of Bob and Patricia Riggin. She will attend St. Mary’s University, Winona, to pursue a degree in elementary education.
Lakeville Parks and Recreation programs
Lakeville Parks and Recreation will offer the following activities. Register at https://webtrac.lakevillemn.gov or call 952-985-4600.
Nickelodeon Universe, Mall of America, Bloomington: Purchase all-day discount wristbands for $26 at the Lakeville Parks and Recreation office in City Hall, 20195 Holyoke Ave., or call 952-984-4600. Pick up tickets at City Hall.
Puppet Wagon, June 19 to Aug. 11. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs, relax and enjoy the shows. For the 2017 schedule, log onto www.lakevillemn.gov under City Departments, Parks & Recreation tab.
Country Heat Live, 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays, Lakeville South, 21135 Jacquard Ave.; Fridays, Lakeville North, 19600 Ipava Ave. Low-impact, high-energy dance class set to country hits. First class is free. Call 952-985-4600 or instructor Amanda Ewers, 515-460-5850, for more information.
Kamp Kermit, ages 4-6, 9-11:30 a.m. or 12:30-3 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, July 17 to Aug. 9, at Steve Michaud Park, 17100 Ipava Ave., or 9-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 18 to Aug. 10, at Prairie Lake Park, 18179 Kingsway Path. Cost: $75.
Pre-K Lego Adventures, ages 4-5, 9-11 a.m. July 10-13, Parkview Park, 6833 Gerdine Path. Build multiple airplanes, trucks, boats and even robots to investigate the basics of structural engineering, wheels, axles, teamwork and creative thinking. Duplo blocks and regular sized Lego blocks are used in this course. Cost: $94.
South Forty Archers – Intermediate Youth Archery Lessons, ages 9-17, 7-8:30 p.m. Thursdays, July 13 to Aug. 3, Ritter Farm Park Archery Range, 19300 Ritter Trail. Participants must supply their own bow and arrows and must have taken a beginner class and have been shooting with their bow for more than six months. All bows brought to class are subject to inspection by instructors. Cost: $55.
Story Walks in the Park – Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure, Thursday, July 13, East Community Park, 16700 Pilot Knob Road. Walk in the great outdoors and read from giant picture book pages displayed in the park. This free program is in conjunction with the Heritage Library staff.
Just for Girls, ages 4-10, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Thursdays, July 13 to Aug. 17, Prairie Lake Park, 18179 Kingsway Path. Create, run and play alongside other girls. Cost: $55.
Tiny Tots Surf Soccer, ages 4-7, 5-5:45 p.m. Thursdays, July 27 to Aug. 17, Greenridge Park, 17685 Flagstaff Ave. Learn soccer basics. Soccer ball size 3 or 4 required; shin guards recommended for safety. Tennis shoes or soccer cleats required. Cost: $25.
Sports Unlimited Camps (Skate Start, Floor Hockey, Cheer Camp, Lacrosse, Skateboard Camp, T-Ball, Pickleball, Ultimate Frisbee, Sand Volleyball, Mini-Sport Camp, Badminton, Game On Camp) focus on helping kids learn the rules of the game while working on sportsmanship. To view dates, times or to register, go to webtrac.lakevillemn.gov or call 952-985-4600.
Skyhawks (Multi-Sport Camp, Game Camp, Track & Field) camps use skill-building games and activities to give each athlete a complete understanding of the sport. To view dates, times or to register, go to webtrac.lakevillemn.gov or www.skykawks.com/Minnesota or call 952-985-4600.
Lynch Camps (Tennis, Agility Camp, Basketball, Baseball/Softball) for beginners to advanced levels. Staff teach fundamentals and building strong sport specific skills using drills, games and friendly competition. To view dates, times or to register, go to webtrac.lakevillemn.gov or call 952-985-4600.
Active Solutions (Outdoor P.E. Safari, Kayaking, Fishing & Beach Play, KayBiRu Kids Triathlon) provides a variety of quality activities and adventure for kids. The instructors are professional physical education educators and experienced outdoor enthusiasts. To view dates, times or to register, go to webtrac.lakevillemn.gov or call 952-985-4600.
Life Time Fitness (Rock Climbing Camps for ages 5-11, Teen Rock Climbing Camp for ages 12-17, Squash Camp). To view dates, times or to register, go to webtrac.lakevillemn.gov or call 952-985-4600.
Pan-O-Prog junior royalty crowned
As part of the 2017 Lakeville Pan-O-Prog celebration, the Jr. Royalty pageant was held Thursday, July 22, at Lakeville North High School. From a total of 30 contestants, Danielle Sandgren was crowned Little Miss Lakeville and Jaxon Loewen was crowned Little Master Lakeville. They will participate in multiple parades and events over the next 12 months including the 2017 Pan-O-Prog celebration July 2-9. Photo submitted.
Pilgrim collects scout uniforms
Pilgrim Dry Cleaners is holding the 10th annual Scouting for Uniforms during the month of July.
From July 1-31, all 25 Pilgrim Dry Cleaners locations will accept Scout uniforms. They will then clean and provide them to Northern Star Council BSA to distribute to families in need.
Since its start in 2007, more than 3,400 uniforms have been repurposed through this campaign. Thanks to the support of the community, last year 350 uniforms were donated and given to families in need.
For those who don’t have a uniform, but still wish to contribute, checks or online monetary contributions are encouraged. Checks should be made out to “Northern Star Council BSA” and dropped at Pilgrim Dry Cleaners or mailed to: Pilgrim Dry Cleaners, Attn: Uniform Drive, 3217 85th Ave. N., Brooklyn Park, MN 55443. Online contributions can be made at: https://www.pilgrimdrycleaners.com/community/scoutingforuniforms/.
Funds will be used to secure additional uniforms in high demand programs and sizes.
For more information, call the Northern Star Council at 763-231-7201 or visit northernstarbsa.org. Pilgrim Dry Cleaners has south metro locations in Burnsville, Eagan, Lakeville and Savage.
Rosemount American Legion holds breakfast fundraiser
The Rosemount American Legion, 14590 Burma Ave., will hold a breakfast fundraiser 8 a.m. to noon Sunday, July 9. The menu will include pancakes, eggs, sausage, American fries, and coffee or orange juice.
Rosemount Parks and Rec programs
Register for the following Rosemount Parks and Recreation programs online at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us, at the parks and recreation office, or call 651-322-6000 for more information.
Run for the Gold, Youth Shamrock Sprint and Family Fitness Walk, Saturday, July 22, at the Rosemount Community Center. Choose the 1-mile and/or 4-mile run, the 1-mile or 4-mile Family Fitness Walk, or for kids 8 and under, the free youth Shamrock Sprint. Paved trails will be used for the run route. Course maps will be available at the run.
Cost for 1-mile and/or 4-mile Run for the Gold: $12 pre-registration entry fee for youth 14 and under (received by noon on Tuesday, July 19); $16 for ages 15 and older. Fee includes a T-shirt. Registration entry fee on the day of the event is $15 and $20, respectively.
Day of race registration/check-in/start times: 8 a.m. – 1-Mile Fun Run; 8:05 a.m. – 1-Mile and 4-Mile Family Fitness Walk; 8:25 a.m. – 4-Mile Fun Run; 8:30 a.m. – Half-Mile Youth Shamrock Sprint.
For details or to register, go to www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks. For more information, contact Rosemount Parks & Recreation at 651-322-6000.
Skateboard Camp, ages 7-12, 9 a.m. to noon July 10-13, Rosemount Skate Park. For all skill levels. Individual skills/tricks taught include balance, stopping, turning, ollies, nollies, heel flips and kick flips. A skateboard and helmet are mandatory. Kneepads, elbow pads and wrist guards are highly recommended. Campers are required to bring a helmet, water, snack and apply sunscreen. Friday, July 14, is inclement weather make-up day. Cost: $98. Register by Monday, July 3.
Learn to Skate Lessons summer session runs Mondays, July 10 to Aug. 28, at Rosemount Ice Arena, 13885 S. Robert Trail. Visit www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks for class levels and times. Cost: $75, includes five free open skates.
USTA QuickStart Tennis Programs, ages 5-12, are offered mornings at Charlies Park, 3155 144th St. W. The court size, the racket size, the balls, the scoring system and net height are all tailored to the child’s age and size. Visit www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks for class sessions and times. Cost: $36 for eight lessons.
Adventure Kids Camp, ages 7-12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., drop off and pick up at Rosemount Community Center gym. Features indoor and outdoor group games plus hiking, scavenger hunts, nature and art. Bring a bag lunch. Camp 2: July 10-13; register by July 3. Camp 3: July 21-Aug. 3; register by July 24.
Endangered butterfly gets second chance
The Minnesota Zoo, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will conduct the first-ever reintroduction of the Minnesota-native Dakota skipper prairie butterfly at The Nature Conservancy’s Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie preserve this summer. This once widespread species has nearly vanished from Minnesota and is now listed as threatened on the national Endangered Species Act list and as endangered by the state of Minnesota.
“This is what we have been working towards,” said Dr. Erik Runquist, Minnesota Zoo’s butterfly conservation biologist. “These amazing butterflies have a chance to thrive again thanks to all the efforts of the Minnesota Zoo and our outstanding partners. This is definitely a team effort and we are thrilled to have made so much progress thus far.”
In partnership with multiple agencies, the Minnesota Zoo began a conservation breeding program for Dakota skippers behind the scenes at the zoo in 2013. The program began by visiting sites within the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribal lands in South Dakota where females were collected and released after 48 hours. The eggs they laid were brought back to the zoo and raised. In 2014, the Minnesota Zoo became the first institution to successfully breed multiple generations of Dakota skippers entirely in human care. The program has since expanded to include individuals from Minnesota.
Although this release marks a significant milestone for the dwindling species, there is much more to learn and do to re-introduce Dakota skippers to sites where they were once found. “Although we are thrilled to have learned and accomplished this much so far, there is still a long road ahead for these butterflies before they’re in the clear,” continued Dr. Runquist. “This is the first time a reintroduction has been attempted for this species and we are looking at this as a valuable learning opportunity for future success.”
The Dakota skipper is native to central North America and is a prairie specialist that can live in no other habitat. Today, only about 1 percent of Minnesota’s original tallgrass prairie remains and much of what is left is fragmented into small isolated remnants. Dakota skipper caterpillars feed solely on grasses and adults feed on nectar from a variety of prairie flowers, like the narrow-leaf purple coneflower. Although the average lifespan is one year, this butterfly lives only about two weeks as an adult.
Years of surveys by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources biologists indicate that Dakota skippers have likely disappeared from dozens of sites across Minnesota and now can only be found in one or two places in the state. The species was once common at the Conservancy’s Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie but has not been seen at the preserve in eight years.
“What’s happened to these little butterflies tells us that something is wrong with the overall health of our prairies,” said Marissa Ahlering, the Conservancy’s prairie ecologist in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. “Healthy grasslands cleanse our water, help prevent soil erosion and provide habitat for birds, butterflies and thousands of other plants and animals.
“We’re hoping we can better protect, manage and restore prairies by reintroducing the Dakota skipper to Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie and other sites where they were once found and studying why they succeed or fail.”
The Minnesota Zoo’s efforts to save Dakota skippers have been supported by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Disney Conservation Fund through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Grants Fund, the Minnesota Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Aveda, Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Morrie’s Automotive Group, as well as donations from zoo guests and members.