Roberts Bird Sanctuary Revitalization
Roberts i-Tree Eco Report is an assessment of the vegetation structure, function, and value of the Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary urban forest, conducted during 2011 and 2012. Data from 30 field plots located throughout Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary were analyzed using the i-Tree Eco model developed by the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis (ACM), East Harriet-Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA) and Linden HillsNeighborhood Council (LHiNC) formed a partnership to revitalize the Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary in Lyndale Park and preserve its legacy. The Roberts Bird Sanctuary revitalization project included:
- Developing a management plan
- Identifying and implementing volunteer stewardship projects
- Educational opportunities
Located adjacent to the Lyndale Park Peace Garden and just north of Lake Harriet, the Bird Sanctuary consists of 31 acres of woodlands and wetlands. The area was designated as a Bird Sanctuary in 1936 by Superintendent Christian Bossen. In 1947, at the request of the Twin City Bird Club, the Sanctuary was renamed to the Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary. This action was to honor Dr. Roberts who was a University of Minnesota professor of ornithology and Director of the Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota.
Additionally, the Roberts Bird Sanctuary has been designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society:
The Important Bird Areas Program is an effort to identify and conserve areas that are vital to birds and other biodiversity. By working with Audubon chapters, landowners, public agencies, community groups, and other non-profits, Audubon endeavors to interest and activate a broad network of supporters to ensure that all Important Bird Areas are properly managed and conserved.
Over the years, Roberts Bird Sanctuary has been altered by exotic and invasive species, historical uses of the land and catastrophic windstorm damage. Fortunately some of the original native plant community, its wildflowers and shrubs remain.
Representatives of ACM and the surrounding neighborhood associations held public visioning meetings and implemented surveys to identify opportunities and priorities for the Sanctuary during the summer of 2010.
The MPRB developed a management plan during the winter and early spring of 2011 that made recommendations for improvements based on: an inventory of the natural resources of the site (plant community, soils, and hydrology), infrastructure within the area and inputs from the public visioning process.
There was an additional opportunity for the public to review and comment on the proposed Management Plan during the summer of 2011, and the management plan was presented to the Board of Commissioners for approval.
ACM, through a volunteer partnership with the MPRB, has led bird walks and invasive species removal events in the Sanctuary. For more information about the ACM visit www.audubonchapterofminneapolis.org.