Paul Austin

Paul Austin is the director of Conservation Minnesota, a statewide non-profit. In that role, he gets to hear and share Minnesotan’s stories about our lakes, lands and way of life. Paul’s past lives include election as a small town mayor, serving at the US Agency for International Development, and managing a small marketing firm. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, two small children and one very large dog.

Plants and Animals Headed North

Posted by: Paul Austin Updated: September 25, 2012 - 1:56 PM

In this election year, there is lots of talk about immigration. But, did you know that Minnesota’s trees AND birds are currently jumping the border and heading to Canada at an alarming rate?  I don’t mean on the back of lumber trucks and in the possession of Canuck hunters.  I mean physically leaving Minnesota for a new life in Canada.    

The Minnesota DNR reports that many northern tree species in the east and central Untied States are migrating north at a rate of six miles a year.  And since 1964, approximately 84 percent of resident forest birds have shifted north by an average of 75 miles. 
 
And from Iowa, we are being invaded by a whole new collection of crops.    
 
US Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone map, which sets boundaries for growing regions based on temperature extremes, released their first updated map in over a decade earlier this year. For the first time in history, part of southern Minnesota was included in zone five.  This trend carries nationwide, where nearly half of all zones are at least one half of a zone warmer than they were on the previous map. 
 
If you are at all curious about reasons why these things may be taking place, meteorologist Paul Douglas will be moderating a conversation on Climate Change on Thursday night at Champlin Park High School.  Joining him will be Dr. Lee Freelich who directs the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology, and Dr. John Abraham, who is an Associate Professor of Engineering at St. Thomas.
 
Each will give a presentation on the topic, and then Douglas will moderate a question and answer session with the audience. The event, which is co-sponsored by Conservation Minnesota and a veritable who’s who of other conservation and environmental group runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m.      

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT