2021-10-23 16:18:07 –
The Hastings School District has acquired 56 acres of restored grassland on the Vermilion River through regular land transactions. This grassland contains the retired theater professor Tecla Karpen.
“This was a really great convergence,” said Alsinger, Dakota County Land Conservation Manager.
It began around 2014 when Dakota County farmer Greg Stoffel and his brother Dan put 56 acres of cultivated land in the flooding into a conservation reserve program. Wildlife-loving deer hunters have begun to restore wildlife using native seed mixes at the Department of State’s Department of Natural Resources.
Stoffels knew of a singer who had Dakota County acquired a permanent easement of the natural region and arranged to prevent the land from being cultivated or developed. The county paid Stoffels $ 87,750 for land easement with money from the State’s Outdoor Heritage Fund.
Enter Karpen. A retired professor of theater at Mankato State University, who lived on the cliffs of Hastings overlooking the Mississippi River, is passionate about nature and is well known locally for establishing the Hastings Environmental Guardian.
Carpen died in 2017 at the age of 90, leaving instructions to use assets to protect and restore ecosystems in the Mississippi Corridor and Vermilion River basin. Jim Poepur, vice president of Vermilion Bank, said she was in charge of her trust and was looking for the right way to use it when her father suggested that Stoffel’s land might suit Carpen’s purpose. Knowing Karpen’s deep connection to education, Poepl contacted the school district.
“It really checks every box for her,” Poepl said.
Karpen’s trust paid $ 179,900 to the grassland. The school district was happy to receive the gift.
Today, the former fields are full of native grass and plants and are full of life. Joe Beatty, a biology teacher at Hastings High School, uses boots and a clipboard to lead classes to count pollen maters and test water quality.
Last year, he said they found a carnivorous Utricularia in the pond there. Underwater plants with small yellow flowers on periscope-like stems trap small crustaceans in the water with their snap pods.
“It’s a fairly immediate indicator of the health of your wetland,” Beatty said.
Now, the one-stop shop in the habitat needs a name.
“I want to call it the Tecla R. Carpen Natural Region,” Beatty said. “Without her, this wouldn’t have happened.”
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