Across the state, Minnesotans are witnessing what scientists are calling Earth's sixth mass extinction — and the first caused by humans.

But people are taking extraordinary measures to save the rarest of the rare.

Here's what you can do to help paddlefish:

  • Support projects to remove dams or update them with features such as rapids, which would allow paddlefish to return to more of their spawning grounds.
  • If you accidentally snag one while fishing, never hold it vertically or grab it by the gills. Try to cradle it horizontally before getting it back in the water.

Here's what you can do to help golden-winged warblers:

  • Create or preserve warbler habitat if you're a landowner. You can also apply for financial help from both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Support programs such as the Outdoor Heritage Fund and Environmental and Natural Resource Trust Fund.
  • Keep pet cats indoors.
  • Reduce the use of pesticides, especially neonicotinoids.
  • Landscape with native plants, which support the caterpillars and other bugs songbirds need to survive.
  • Support or get involved with groups that are working to save songbirds, such as the American Bird Conservancy.

Here's what you can do to protect native forest species like the goblin fern:

Don't use earthworms for bait in Minnesota. If you do, don't dump leftover earthworms anywhere but the trash. Earthworms are not native to Minnesota, and under state law it is illegal to release most non-native species into nature, the DNR says.

Here's what you can do to help butterflies and pollinators:

While it won't directly help the Poweshiek skipperling, you can make your property more hospitable to other insects. Mow less and garden more with native plants. Build a butterfly way station and pollinator habitat. Limit toxic pesticides in your garden and lawn. Tolerate some weeds and pests. Find safer pesticide alternatives for farm fields. Stop mowing ditches and plant them with natives. Let the milkweed grow.

Here's what you can do to help Minnesota's prairie chickens.

Go see them

  • Support the organizations and agencies saving the bird's habitat by reserving a spot to see them. A handful of nature refuges offer public viewing blinds at their booming grounds each spring, including Bluestem Prairie, at 218-498-2679, and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, at 218-687-2229. For a more complete list, go to


Support dedicated conservation funding

Here's how you can help the Anoka Sand Plain and endangered bristle-berry plants

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