Mr. Mayor, thank you. And thank you to Council Member Johnson for pulling this item to highlight the work of the Arbor Committee. I am an Arbor Committee alumna. I served on the committee from 2017 through 2018,when Council Member Hanson was the liaison, and Mr. Hogeboom was also a member at that time, before he became our Economic Development Director at the city. What I love about the committee is that they are such an energetic and committed body of experts representing past and present careers in city planning, engineering, landscape architecture, professional tree care, and some are master gardeners who have completed extensive training through the University of Minnesota Extension Office.
I feel the city’s commitment to its trees makes us stand out compared to our peers. I drive down Elm Creek Boulevard and marvel at the mature beautiful trees along the boulevard. It is the face of our city. Through the work of the Arbor Committee, staff, and council in the 1990s, voters approved the city to purchase and set aside two larger areas of high-quality forest land. It's pretty unique and special that we have those resources. If you love wandering out in the woods, like I do, I highly recommend visiting. I had to use my Army wayfinding techniques to get out once when I was in the back part of Forest Preservation B and walked in circles a couple times. It’s pretty rustic, and I love it! Very good for the mental health.
I want to point out that there is a new clause in the proclamation this year. It states “The City of Maple Grove recognizes the importance of managing buckthorn for the health of the forest.” This has been added because there is significant resident energy behind buckthorn eradication.
Buckthorn is an invasive species that is everywhere on private and public land, and it can choke out an entire forest, degrade wildlife habitat, and cause erosion. The Rotary Club of Maple Grove and the Lions have partnered with the Arbor Committee the past few years on buckthorn busts in the Maple Grove Arboretum on CR 30 and Fernbrook, as well as the Forest Preservation Area. These groups are researching better tools and techniques as well as mapping buckthorn across the city, so we know what we’re dealing with. Pulling buckthorn is quite a workout! I support these efforts and am glad to see them expanding. I encourage residents to join these groups on April 25 at the Arboretum starting at 4 p.m. for a buckthorn bust and to celebrate Arbor Day at the Community Center on April 29 from noon to 3 p.m.
I wish you all a happy Arbor Day! I support this proclamation enthusiastically. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.