Monitoring & Inventory

Citizen Monitors

Volunteers play a key role in monitoring natural resources in Maplewood. Citizen monitoring is a great way to learn about Minnesota ecology. The data collected by monitors is used locally to help us manage sites and/or is entered into state or federal databases, where it is available to researchers.

Maplewood Nature Center offers training for citizen volunteers each spring. For more information or to sign up, call 651-249-2170 or email Maplewood Information.

Session Information

  • Big Tree Registry - Maplewood is developing a registry of the largest native trees in the city. Volunteers team up to check out trees that are nominated for the registry. After training, these citizen monitors are able to gather data on tree circumference, height, and crown spread.
  • Bluebird Trail - Eastern bluebirds have made an amazing recovery in our region over the past few decades, due in large part to programs like the Bluebird Recovery Program of Minnesota. Maplewood has bluebird nesting boxes at several sites. Citizen monitors check their boxes every seven to ten days, April through September, and record data on the nest, eggs, hatchings, etc. The data they collect is sent to the Bluebird Recovery Program of Minnesota, and becomes part of our statewide bluebird data.
  • Frog Monitoring - If you're a human night owl, with a great ear, frog monitoring may be for you. Volunteer monitors learn to identify frogs and toads by their calls and venture out to Maplewood wetlands on spring and summer nights to listen for frogs. Maplewood has four official frog routes. The City submits the data collected by citizen monitors to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which uses this data to track frog populations statewide. Time commitment: Training plus four evenings in spring/summer.
  • The Invasive Plant Patrol - The Plant Patrol keeps an eye out for the newest invasive plant species entering Maplewood. These intrepid volunteers are trained to recognize five to eight new invaders and adopt a city preserve to monitor. Our goal is to eradicate newcomers such as wild parsnip when they first invade, rather than waiting until they become a buckthorn-sized problem. Get more information regarding Invasive Plant Patrol. Time commitment: Training, plus minimum 14 hours for the April through October season.
  • Monarch Watch - Each August the Maplewood Nature Center hosts a Monarch Watch event and tags monarchs. The butterfly garden at the center is a great place to learn more about these amazing insects and the difficulties they face. Check the Nature Center program brochure for program dates.
  • Preserve Monitoring - A great way to enjoy nature with your kids or a friend is to sign up to monitor a neighborhood preserve. Monitors visit their adopted site at least once per month in spring through fall and record phenology and trail conditions.


Natural resources management can benefit greatly from inventories or survey counts. In addition to the citizen monitoring above, Maplewood conducts surveys or inventories on the following resources:

  • Deer Survey - The city contracts Ramsey County to conduct an annual deer survey.
  • Plant Community Inventory - In 2008, the city received a Community Conservation Assistance Grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource to identity and map plant communities on public and private natural lands in Maplewood. The inventory used the Minnesota Land Cover Classification System (MLCCS). This system classifies both natural and cultural vegetation. Some examples of cover types in Maplewood include: dry oak forest, oak woodland-brushland, maple-basswood forest, or artificial surfaces with perennial grasses. Information from the inventory helps the city prioritize sites for management and provides baseline data for monitoring change.
  • Site Inventory - City preserves and sites receiving active management typically begin with a site analysis of soils and plant communities. On sites with high ecological quality, this may include a list of plant species on the site.
  • Tree Inventory - An inventory of boulevard and park trees was completed in 2011.