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Exploring nature around us

What kind of rare plants and animals do we have living in our backyards?

Right now, experts are just finishing up a statewide study, combing through each county one-by-one to find that out.

It took crews with the Minnesota County Biological Survey roughly two years to meticulously study Becker County, but now it is one of the 81 of 87 counties that have a compilation of data on the results.

Although the information has been available for about a year and a half and county commissioners have been presented with it, some of those commissioners, along with the Resource Stewardship Association of Becker County, pushed for a public presentation.

Regional Ecologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Becky Marty will be at M State in Detroit lakes on Tuesday, August 23 at 7 p.m. (Room C101) to share some of the information that she says can 'get people very excited.'

"Every county has some very special things about it and some really neat, rare things," said Marty, "The natural world was here before us and is open for all of us to explore."

Marty says before teams of plant and animal biologists began their research, they studied tons of old maps, pictures and information on each county, including Becker.

"Then they went in to those places they thought might have rare native plants or animals and talked to people, did some fairly detailed sampling, modified their maps and wrote up evaluations on the relationship between all those things."

Marty says the DNR is then able to take that information and use it to guide its management decisions in order to best help those rare or endangered species thrive.

She says the purpose of the public presentation is to give everyday citizens the tools they need to make informed choices as they use the natural resources around them.

"And many times when people learn about these special plants and animals and where they can be found, they think, 'hey, I live by some woods like that, maybe I can find something' -- it just gives everybody a sense of what's around them."

Marty says she will also be informing the crowd on how and where they can find out more on the biological study results and what it means to them.

"Because while we manage the public land, you manage everything else and

it's up to you to use the information to make your own management decisions," said Marty.

The Minnesota Biological Survey presentation is free and open to the public.

A refreshment social begins at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on the event, call Becky Marty at 218-308-2658.