Saturday March 8th could not have been a better day....The weather was glorious and the turnout for the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center Grand Opening was impressive, with over 200 folks attending. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves with much mingling, socializing, drinking (cider!), eating, birding, oohing and aaahing (at the cool building and beautiful bird tiles and amazing photos).
L-R: Heather-Marie Bloom (Welcome Center host), Kate Nicoletti (Board Member), Sarah Beaster (Development Director), Sparky Stensaas (Executive Director), Dave Steininger (Board Member), Lori Williams (Board Member), Kim Eckert (founding Board Member), Frank Nicoletti (Welcome Center host), Ben Yokel (Board Member). Not pictured: Dave Benson (Board Chair).
Sparky cuts the "ribbon" (scarves) with his loppers (the loppers he used to cut down about a thousand aspen saplings from the building site!)
Inside of the new Welcome Center. Note the Tamarack tongue-and-groove interior wood. This will be a seasonal winter building open from mid December to mid March (when all the birders/photographers visit).
Erin Shae from Silicon Energy warming up. We are buying our solar panels from them. Made in Minnesota! The entire building will be off-the-grid.
White Pine timbers from the ecologically responsible Raajala Lumber in Deer River, MN.
Troy, area forester for St. Louis County, visits with Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Board Members.
Bird tiles made by Alaska artist Nancy Hausle-Johnson for supporters who donated $400 or more during the building campaign. All species are specialties of the Sax-Zim Bog. Donors who gave $100-399 will be listed on a plaque on the main bird tile mural.
Even with all the people around, several Pine Grosbeaks, two Gray Jays and a lone White-winged Crossbill made an appearance at the Welcome Center.
A photo exhibit of Sax-Zim Bog flora and fauna from 21 different photographers was printed on a ten-foot long banner for all to enjoy. The images highlight the amazing biodiversity of the Bog. Bog Wild! will be on display in the Welcome Center next winter for all to enjoy.
Weather was perfect with temps in the 20s, calm and sunny.
Diane Millard shows her very cool Cardinal mitts.
Snowshoe hikes into the Bog were enjoyed by many. Deep snow (very deep snow!) kept us all to the trails. Gray Jays escorted us.
Hot cider, coffee and many delicious snacks kept everyone warm and happy.
This is only the beginning! This summer we will be completing the deluxe outhouse/shed combo, and putting the solar panels in place. We also hope to establish more hiking/snowshoeing trails and eventually a bog boardwalk. School groups are coming out this fall to learn about the bog's natural history. We are also buying more land. Stay tuned!
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!