By Brianna DeVore
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is predicting an especially unique showing of fall-color brilliance this year. Peak fall color in Minnesota typically lasts about two weeks. In the Twin Cities, these peak weeks usually occur between late-September through mid-October. However, due to above-average precipitation this summer, we are in store for a much longer stretch of red, yellow and orange tree-saturation. Trees in the Camden Community are anticipated to continue to go through changes up until the end of October and into early November.
There are a variety of ways to take advantage of this special 2015 fall season here in Camden, at little to no cost:
Bike down the Victory Memorial Drive
The best way to enjoy the changing leaves in Camden is to take a bike trip down Victory Memorial Drive. Victory is a three-mile, tree-lined pedestrian trail that boasts incredible views of the neighborhood. Beyond Victory Memorial, you can go to Theodore Wirth Park in the northwest, or towards North Mississippi Regional Park in the South. Any of these routes will provide glorious one-of-a-kind viewing of fall leaves.
North Mississippi Regional Park
This huge park, at 4900 Mississippi Court, offers spectacular views of the Mississippi River and the surrounding woods and prairie. Walking trails meander through the prairie and along the shores of the river. Bike trails traverse the park and connect with Webber Parkway. There is a fishing pier in the northern segment of the park. Further south is a playground, picnic tables, grills and shelters. A fishing pier and boat launch area are in the southern part of the park. It’s a great place to spend time viewing the fall colors. The park also has the only interpretive center in the city; the Kroening Interpretive Center offers programs and events for all ages.
Eloise Butler Wildlife Garden and Bird Sanctuary
The Eloise Butler Wildlife Garden and Bird Sanctuary, on Theodore Wirth Parkway and Glenwood Ave., offers several fall-flavored programs that are appropriate for all ages.
The Autumn Wildflowers Tour is a guided tour that covers 15 acres of prairie, woodland, and wetland within the Wildlife Garden and Bird Sanctuary. Offered in one-hour increments throughout October, the Autumn Wildflowers Tour is an all-ages friendly venue to introduce children to the diversity fall brings.
For younger children, the Eloise Butler Center offers a program called “Natures Tots” every Monday in October from 10:30-11:45 a.m. The Nature Tots Program encourages children (ages 2-5) to learn how to appreciate the fall season through hikes, crafts, stories and more. There is a $5 cost per child, and a $2 cost per adult participant in the program. Visit minneapolisparks.org/parks__destinations/gardens__bird_sanctuaries/eloise_butler_wildflower_garden_and_bird_sanctuary/ for more info.
Visit Ryan Lake
The only lake on the Northside is at the corner of Xerxes and 46th Avenues. Ryan Lake is a hidden gem. A short walk away for most Camden residents, the serenity gained from watching the fall leaves fly onto the lake is well worth the trip. For families, the public fishing pier is open to boys and girls willing to try their luck at Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike.
The Victory Neighborhood Association is always looking for help collecting trash and weeds along the waterfront. Visitors, be conscientious, and email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer your time towards restoring this important natural resource.
Indoor fun with fall leaves
The bountiful scenery of red, yellow and orange outside our windows deserves a column onto itself, but for the sake of variety, there are a lot of indoor activities families can do together to celebrate the season. Identifying and pressing leaves is a common fall activity, but there are other things to do with kids of all ages in the fall season.
For one, you can help your child create a family tree. They can pick a leaf for each member of the family and glue them onto a tree drawn on construction paper to represent various members of the family.
Younger children can write a letter on each leaf to help them memorize the alphabet by viewing each letter as visually different.
There are many other activities to explore with your child. This website has a few suggestions to get you started: parents.com/fun/arts-crafts/kid/lovely-leaf-crafts-for-kids/
Support the Patriots
Although not directly related to fall colors, football is a rich fall tradition. One of my favorite things to do in Camden in the fall is to walk to a home game at Patrick Henry High School (43rd and Newton) and watch our home team score to the resounding sound of the Patrick Henry Marching Band playing a rendition of Wild Thing. Go Patriots! Check out the Patriots’ schedule at mplscity.org/g5-bin/client.cgi?G5genie=6&school_id=1.
The Minnesota DNR’s website includes an up-to-date representation of where the state is at in fall peak, visit dnr.state.mn.us/fall_colors/index.html