I was walking in the upper Arb this afternoon, taking in the spectacular fall colors, when I luckily stumbled upon EQC co-chair Suzie Nakasian, her daughter, and Juliane Shibata, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at Carleton, lending a hand to Minneapolis artist Jim Proctor who was beginning installation of his Buckthorn Menace art project.
Suzie twisted my arm, took away my camera, and made me help Jim. See the album or this slideshow, followed by the email I got from Suzie upon returning home with details on the need for volunteers tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday at both Carleton and St. Olaf locations. The project is a bit behind schedule because of the recent rains limiting the number of volunteers.
It was fun to meet you out on the buckthorn fields this afternoon! This is our last week of the project – any help you can provide (on the blog site or radio program or other) to encourage folks to come out to volunteer would be greatly appreciated. The work really is fun – most people who come out end up staying on longer than they intended…even when its pouring rain!
I have taken the liberty of writing up a draft of a blurb (below) that you are welcome to tweek and edit to fit your blog. It includes links to the project web sites and a link to the KSPT-TV news coverage of this project earlier this week.
Thanks again for your interest in this project!
Suzie Nakasian, Co-Chair
The Buckthorn Menace is now entering its final week!
This environmental art installation is the center of a wider community education initiative that aims to raise public awareness about the problems caused to Northfield’s natural lands by the invasive plant species buckthorn, and to engage the public in addressing these problems in a very creative and lasting way.
To date over one hundred campus and community volunteers have already participated in this project, helping to clear buckthorn out of the project’s two installation sites – one in the grassy slope just to the south of St. Olaf’s new Science Center, and the other on the wooded hillside just inside Carleton’s “Upper” Arboretum at the east end of East Second Street.
Volunteers are now needed to continue clearing buckthorn and, working under the direction of Minneapolis artist Jim Proctor, to transform the collected buckthorn roots and branches into large scale sculptures.
Once completed the whimsical sculptures (they resemble gargantuan dandelions in full seed) will stand on site for a full year to allow public viewing across the four seasons. They will be dismantled next October, and the restoration of the landscapes completed with the planting of indigenous trees and shrubs.
Don’t miss this chance to participate in this unique and informative project! Come enjoy some vigorous outdoor work while you learn from the land, help to restore a local landscape, and create some large scale outdoor art! The tasks are easy, satisfying and fun! Family participation encouraged -Come dressed for outdoor work (long sleeved pants and sleeves are recommended). Bring garden gloves and clippers if you have them. No prior experience with art or buckthorn required! All necessary training will be provided!
Volunteers will be working on both sites this Saturday, October 6, and on additional days through October 13 (see schedule below for dates/hours). Artist Jim Proctor and local Master Gardeners and Student Naturalists will be on site during these hours to get you started. Any amount of time you can volunteer will be appreciated!
Directions to both sites are provided below:
Work on the Carleton site are (walk ins welcome):
Thurs. Oct 4. 12:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 5 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 6 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Monday, Thursday and Friday, October. 8,11, and 12: from 12:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Opening Celebration: Saturday, October 13, 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. (outdoors on installation site) Everyone Welcome!
Directions: enter the “Upper Arb” at the east end of Second Street East, and follow the paved pedestrian path across the bridge and uphill. The installation site will be to the left at the top of the hill. (follow yellow signs to the site). Parking available on Second Street East.
For more information on this project at Carleton, consult:
Work on the St. Olaf site (walk-ins welcome):
Fri., Oct. 5 12:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 6 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Tue. Oct. 9 12:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 10 12:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Opening Celebration: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. (on the installation site) Everyone Welcome!
Directions: Enter St. Olaf from the west end of St.Olaf Avenue; Take an immediate left on the new ring road that winds uphill and in front of “Old Main”. Follow this road around the hill to the right; the installation site will be on your left, just off the paved pedestrian path that leads down from “Old Main” to West 2nd Street. Parking is available further down the same road in the new Science Center parking lot.
For more information about this project at Stolaf, go to
To see the clip from KSTP-TV News coverage of The Buckthorn Menace, go to
This project is co-sponsored by Carleton College and St. Olaf College in association with the Environmental Quality Commission of the City of Northfield.