Dakota County news briefs: Zoo begins work on Conservation Carousel

  • Updated: September 7, 2013 - 5:11 PM

Minnesota Zoo Director and CEO Lee Ehmke, center, along with zoo supporters, broke ground last month on the Conservation Carousel, scheduled to open in 2014. The carousel’s proceeds will support the Apple Valley zoo’s conservation programs.

Photo: Courtesy of the Minnesota Zoo,

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The Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley has started construction on its new Conservation Carousel, a privately funded amenity that will raise money for the zoo’s conservation programs.

Zoo staff members and supporters came together Aug. 28 to break ground on the carousel, which will be located on the outdoor Northern Trail. It will include 56 one-of-a-kind, hand-carved animals, featuring species found at the zoo and rare and endangered animals from around the world, the zoo said.

The carousel also offers sponsorship opportunities for the general public; special plaques and a donor wall will recognize contributors and honorees in whose names donations are made.

Dozens of zoo members have sponsored the carousel’s snow monkey, and zoo volunteers are sponsoring the carousel’s tiger cub. Other donors have already sponsored 38 more animals.

For information on how to sponsor an animal, including a list of which animals are still available, see www.mnzoo.org/donate/donate_carousel.asp.

The carousel is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014.



Bur oak blight arrives

A new tree disease, bur oak blight, has been identified in Eagan.

It’s a fungal disease that only affects bur oaks, and while it doesn’t kill trees, it can weaken their defense against other serious infestations such as two-lined chestnut borer and armillaria root rot.

Eagan’s forestry staff has identified several trees with symptoms of bur oak blight, but none have been lab tested yet. The disease is difficult to diagnose in the field because its symptom are similar to oak wilt.

More information on the disease is available to residents at www.startribune.com/a2475.



Dodge acquires land

Constance Shepard Otis donated 140 acres of historic property in Cottage Grove to the Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul. The property is protected by a conservation easement that will prevent its development indefinitely.

The property was purchased in 1919 by Roger and Katherine Shepard of St. Paul and was their summer residence and family farm.

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  • Courtesy Minnesota Zoo Minnesota Zoo Director/CEO Lee Ehmke spoke at the groundbreaking last month for the Conservation Carousel, scheduled to open in 2014.

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