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Learn How to Create Your Own Pollinator Habitat

Written by Gabrielle Hersch

River Keepers is partnering with Clay County Soil and Water Conservation District and Cass County Soil Conservation District to host a two-day Pollinator Habitat Workshop! Discover the benefits of pollinator habitats and learn how to design your own prairie garden in two classes on March 19th and March 26th from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Probstfield Center for Education in Moorhead, MN.

Pollinators and pollinator habitats offer many benefits: they provide food, improve biodiversity, help with soil stability, improve water quality, and much more. Pollinators like bees, birds, and insects are crucial for flowering plant reproduction and the production of many fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the status of pollinator populations is in decline – but you can help!

The two-day workshop will cover the basics of what constitutes a pollinator habitat and explain the importance of landscaping with native plants. Participants will also learn the process of installing their own pollinator habitat from start to finish. They’ll leave with the start of a design plan and a pollinator-friendly kit – included in the ticket fee – just in time to prepare for spring landscaping.

Course fee: $19 ($14 for Moorhead residents). Course fee includes pollinator kit.

Secure one of the few spots left by registering through Moorhead Community Education.


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Catfish University

Written by Gabrielle Hersch

Does this brutal winter have you itching to get back outside this spring, but unsure of how to get the most out of your time outdoors? Look no further than the river that flows through our city’s backyard. Since the 1980s, anglers from all over the country have been venturing to the Red River, a premiere fishery for channel catfish. This exciting outdoors activity is a great way to get your friends and family out of the house and onto the river!

Don’t know how to catfish, need a refresher, or want to level up your skills? Here’s your chance! River Keepers is teaming up with Brad Durick Outdoors to host Catfish University, a series of two workshops designed to teach you everything you need to get started.

Introduction to Catfishing (March 13th): Whether you already enjoy catfishing or aren’t sure where to start, this class will teach you all of the basics you need to know. We’ll go through everything from gear, baits, and basic catfishing locations that will start you off on the right foot. This class will get you on track to catfishing success!

Advanced Catfishing (March 20th): The next level beyond the basics of catfishing. If you’ve completed the intro course and want to learn more, or if you’re an experienced catfisher looking to up your skills, this is the course for you. Here, we’ll dive deep into river structure, current, and how catfish utilize these. We’ll also cover electronics and efficient catfish angling to make you more successful at catfishing. More success = more fun!

Captain Brad Durick is a nationally recognized catfish guide on the Red River of the North, seminar speaker, and author. River Keepers is a non-profit passionately committed to advocating safe and sustainable use of the Red River through recreational activities, learning seminars, and much, much more.

Course fee: Both classes $39. ($34 for Moorhead residents) or one class for $29 ($24 for Moorhead residents).

Register through Moorhead Community Education.

Can’t attend the workshops but want to learn more?  Buy River Keepers “Relaxed Anglers Guide to Catfishing on the Red River of the North.

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Two Free Winter Hikes Along the Red River

Join us for two free winter hikes along the Red River this weekend:

* 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 26th at the Hjemkomst Center AKA The Frozen Fortress during Frostival.  Meet at the Hjemkomst Landing Canoe & Kayak Rental Shack for an interpretive walk of the downtown Moorhead area.

* 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 27th at Edgewood Golf Course.  This will be a hike along the banks of the Red River within the city limits of north Fargo. Discover the wild, wooded corridor between the urban community and the river. Meet just off the parking lot of Divots at Edgewood.

Dress warm and in layers!

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A Closer Look at the Red River of the North Through Water Quality Monitoring

Another year of water quality monitoring has finished for River Keepers, an impossible task without the help of volunteers like Karyna Kloude. Karyna shared her experience with us in her own words:

On the morning of May 22, 2018, I set out for water sampling of the Wild Rice River and the Red River with River Keeper’s Project Coordinator, Kimberly Morris. River Keepers is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advocate for sustainable use of the Red River in the Fargo-Moorhead area. I am a Sustainability student at Minnesota State University Moorhead, with an emphasis in Environmental Science, so I chose to assist with water quality monitoring for the first-hand experience with the Red River, and because I care about the quality and life of the ecosystem surrounding it.

It was my first time water quality monitoring and I didn’t know much about the techniques going in, but I was really looking forward to learning. I arrived at River Keepers early that morning and we headed to the Wild Rice River which feeds into the Red River. It took about 25 minutes to reach our first site, a small bridge on 100th Avenue South near the Wild Rice Bar. It was cool, foggy, and alive with birds. We pulled aside and set up our area with safety cones. Sampling is done from the middle of the bridge every time, to ensure consistency. We then unloaded the equipment: a Van Dorn to collect the water, a measuring tape, bottles for holding samples, and a sonde that provides underwater readings on temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH. We also used a Secchi tube to determine the clarity of the water, using our best judgement despite the overcast weather for most of the morning.

It took four hours to collect all the samples, and by the end I felt much more comfortable with the equipment, so much so that I would do it again. I felt a stronger connection to the Red River, and to water in general. It is easy to take for granted, but when you are out there looking at the water up close and familiarizing yourself with its characteristics, you begin to realize your bond with it and the importance of keeping it healthy.

Water quality monitoring is much easier with two people, so if you are interested in assisting during River Keeper’s water quality monitoring season, you can fill out a volunteer form on River Keeper’s website or contact them directly. You can also visit river.watch to access River Keepers water quality data online.

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Recreation on the Red Caring Catalog Donation

Last year all ten of our kayaks were quickly rented for many of our paddling events and we had to turn people away. In order for more people to learn about the Red River so that they can sustain and safely enjoy it, we need more kayaks, paddles and a kayak trailer. River Keepers is a part of The FM Area Foundation’s FM Area Caring Catalog, a new crowdfunding campaign to support nonprofit work in Cass Clay. From November 7 to December 31, donate to River Keepers online at www.areafoundation.org/caringcatalog and help us increase recreational use of the Red River in Fargo-Moorhead!

There are some fun giving incentives, like Funday Mondays. Each time you give on a Monday, your name will be entered to receive $100 to support our project. You can also win $25 gift certificates to local businesses just by donating $10 or more. Don’t forget to make giving go viral on #GivingTuesday. If you give to our cause on November 27 through the FM Area Caring Catalog, you’ll be entered to receive $500 to support River Keepers work to increase recreational use of the Red River!

We can not buy more kayaks, paddles and a trailer without your support. Please consider a donation today – every gift matters! Learn more at www.areafoundation.org/caringcatalog! Or if you’d prefer, please mail us a check to: River Keepers, 1120 28th Ave. N., Ste. B, Fargo, ND.

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Geocaching: A Real-World Adventure

If you, or your family and friends, are looking for more ways to get outside, consider geocaching. Geocaching is a treasure hunting activity which involves finding ‘geocaches’, or hidden containers. Geocaches are usually in plain sight, but they may be camouflaged. These containers include logs for you to sign, or sometimes a treasure item for trade. To get to the geocaches you first need to set up a free account on www.geocaching.com and set your location. Then, choose a geocache that suits your time, experience, and interest. All you need to do is dress for the weather and bring a GPS-enabled device, such as a smartphone. Once you are out on the hunt, GPS will help you navigate your way to the geocache. After you have discovered the geocache, record your name in the logbook and leave the geocache the way you found it. Many people enjoy geocaching just for the journey, but if you are interested in taking an item from a geocache, make sure to leave an item of equal or greater value that is safe and appropriate.

Besides traditional geocaches, there are also multi-caches which involve two or more locations. For these, you will have to follow hints from the initial location(s) to get to the final geocache. Mystery and puzzle geocaches are also available which require you to solve a mystery or puzzle to determine the coordinates of the geocache.

River Keepers geocaches include multi-caches, a mystery cache, and a cache focused on local wildlife. As if anyone needs another reason to get out and enjoy the Red River! Below are the codes for River Keepers geocaches – have fun and good luck!

  1. River Ed (ID# GC5B6E5), multi-cache with 3 locations
  2. River Ed 2 (ID# GC5Z0T5), multi-cache with 2 locations
  3. River Ed 4 (ID# GC6ZNKM), mystery cache.  In partnership with Moorhead Parks and Recreation.
  4. Red River Watchable Wildlife (ID# GC7MEBA), large with trackables.  In partnership with the Red River Zoo.
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Paddling Excursions

On Wednesday June 27th a group of 22 paddlers took off from the Hjemkomst Center for the River Paddling Excursion: Aviary Expedition. Matt Mecklenburg from the Audubon of Fargo-Moorhead led the group, pointing out over 20 different species of birds by their song, flight pattern or markings throughout the two hour paddle.

It was fun to see participants of all ages come together to learn about the many types of birds found along the Red such as the beautiful indigo bunting. A huge thank you goes out to Matt Mecklenburg for sharing his knowledge with the group making for a great evening.

If you missed out on this excursion, don’t worry because there are others to come! Coming up on July 18th we will be hosting another excursion on the history of the Red River and its riverfront led by Mark Peihl with the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County. Following that will be a paddling excursion on animals and habitats on August 15th led by Nicole Lee. If you are interested and want more details check out our Facebook page!

If you’d rather go out on your own, take advantage of the canoe and kayak rentals located at Hjemkomst Landing before the summer ends. The rental shack is open on Tuesdays 6-8 pm, and Saturdays & Sundays from 1-6 pm. Rentals are $10/hour/vessel and will continue on from now until August 28th.

River Keepers and Moorhead Parks and Recreation partner on the River Paddling Excursions and the Canoe & Kayak Rentals at Hjemkomst Landing.

Happy Paddling!

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Race the Red 2018

As the air-horn blew on Monday, June 11th, a community of 61 vessels took off to Race the Red at Dike East. Despite the rainy weather, the Race broke its previous record which stood at 52 vessels competing in the event.

The vessels ranged from the typical canoe team to one participant who completed the 6 mile race on a stand up paddle board. Participants chose to go 1.5 miles, 3.5 miles, or 6 miles when they hit the water and every participant that started the race reached one of the markers. Our cowbell and emcee, Merrill Peipkorn, cheered the competitors in as they crossed the finish. Awards were given out to all those who finished first in their race and category. Two vessels competed for best decorated and after a vote on Facebook the pirate tandem kayak team #42 came out on top.

Participants tested their lifeguard skills at the buoy toss game, and treated themselves to barbecue from Heavenly Hawg after racing. The night couldn’t have been made possible if it weren’t for the help from so many of our amazing volunteers including Scott Olson who was awarded our Volunteer of the Year Award prior to the start of the race. The night and all that we do could not be made possible without all of our generous and passionate volunteers like Scott!

If you missed out on the Race this year, go to the Hjemkomst Landing and rent our canoes/kayaks to get a head start for next year! Our Red River Paddling Excursions are also offered once a month  if you want to get out on the Red River with some friends, you can register with Moorhead Parks and Recreation.

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Reforest the Red News

On June 8th about 90 volunteers went to Original Homestead Park in Moorhead to Reforest the Red. These volunteers dedicated 3 hours of their time and their sweat to plant 800 trees in the park. It was humbling to see the diversity of people who came to help, and observe the strong sense of dedication and community in every single one of them. River Keepers staff was practically begging volunteers to stop and a take a break for water, a granola bar or a sub. Regardless, the volunteers completed their task in just a few short hours and you could see a face of gratification on each volunteer as they left the park.

Restoring this area with trees will provide many benefits to our river community. The addition of these trees will help slow rainwater runoff, stabilize the bank, provide habitats and keep the river cooler for wildlife, and so much more. The trees that were planted that Friday will greatly impact our community for years to come.

We would like to thank all of the businesses who generously encouraged their employees to participate in this event including Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, Wex Health, Bell Bank, D-S Beverages, Annheuser Busch, Cargill, FedEx, Microsoft, and Old Navy. We would also like to thank our sponsors who made the day possible, the City of Moorhead and the Clay County Soil and Water Conservation District.

If you missed out on the fun but would like to participate in the future, there will be another Reforest the Red event on September 12th from 12 pm to 7:30 pm on the Fargo side of the river. Check out our Facebook page for more information, we hope to see everyone there!