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Linda Ulland Memorial Garden to be planted at Crosslake Recreation Area

Web posted July 8, 2014
By Kate Perkins, Northland Press Correspondent

Two local agencies are teaming up to beautify the Crosslake Recreation Area with a new garden, complete with environmental education components and elements for children to climb and play on.

In a partnership between the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Crosslake Recreational Area and the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association (PBSBA), along with help from the University of Minnesota Extension office, the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens will come to life in the next year.

According to Lynn Scharenbroich, board member for the PBSBA, Linda Ulland was a member of the PBSBA from its inception, and helped write many of the guiding documents for the scenic byway. Ulland passed away in December 2011 after a battle with cancer.

In a grant application to the University of Minnesota Extension office of regional sustainable development partnerships, Scharenbroich stated that Ulland was “an enthusiastic environmentalist with a spunky personality.” Scharenbroich and the PBSBA intend to bring that personality to life in the gardens, with a fun design and surprises throughout.

Scharenbroich’s grant application was approved for a matching $10,000, the maximum they could receive. Ulland worked for the University of Minnesota Extension for many years, and a donation from her estate will fund much of the grant match.

PBSBA and the ACOE will work with the University of Minnesota to put in the infrastructure of the garden, including pathways, lighting, signage and a sprinkler system. The University of Minnesota Master Gardener program and master gardener Jackie Froemming will aid in landscape design and plant selection.

The ACOE and PBSBA expect the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens to become a destination site with tourists, but also hope the garden provides increased public awareness for the importance of environmental stewardship.

Plans for the garden include a butterfly garden, complete with large mosaic statues for children to climb upon and plants that attract butterflies, and interpretive displays will include information about community shared agriculture.

“The tribute (to Ulland), then, becomes the trumpet of the resource stewardship song,” Scharenbroich stated in her grant proposal.

The garden will provide a free opportunity for tourists as well as the local public to learn more about the natural environment, sustainability and the efforts in place today to promote it, as well as the connection between environmental sustainability and economic sustainability, Scharenbroich adds in describing the garden.

The Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens is just the first phase in a project that will expand gardens at the recreation center in many areas. In the future, other garden areas will include a house garden that will have toad houses, bluebird houses, bat houses and butterfly houses. The ACOE will also incorporate educational components about life jacket safety into the gardens.

Hodapp said the idea for the gardens came about when she first came on board at the Crosslake ACOE site. Inside the main offices of the recreation site, which is partnered with PBSBA, is a museum-like display of Paul Bunyan lore and memorabilia. Environmental education displays are also present, including information on the wildlife and plants that live in the area.

“We have this area with displays and no one knows it’s here,” Hodapp said.

To make the public more aware of the displays, the ACOE and PBSBA plan to create a separate entrance to the display room, which is currently only accessible through the ACOE office entrance.

Hodapp realized that once the door was in, all it would look at is a large patch of grass and the RV dump station for the campground. To change that, the entrance will be surrounded by interactive gardens, including the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens, which will lead visitors from the parking lot to the doors. The entrance itself will be surrounded by a colorful mosaic to attract attention.

The Linda Ulland Memorial Garden is planned to be complete by July 2015. Other gardens and features will be constructed in the future.

“Through clever garden learning opportunities, the Linda Ulland Memorial Garden will contribute to a robust community and a healthy environment,” Scharenbroich stated, also stating that the garden will shine a light on Ulland, who was an enthusiastic environmentalist.

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