Summer Tour, Workshops & Fall Programs

August 16th-November 14th

Loss of tree canopy is the most recent hurdle in back yard.

Mother Nature at Work, A Guided Tour and On Site Workshop

Instructors | Julia Vanatta and Susan Van Baerle


Wednesday, August 16, 6:30 to 7:45 pm

Thursday, August 17, 2:00 to 3:15 pm

Friday, August 18, 9:30  to 10:45 am

Complete redesign of Chilton rock
terrace in progress.
As much as we would like to control her, Mother Nature usually wins. Successional plants will stay around for a few years, then suddenly disappear. Some plants haphazardly move around, either reseeding or spreading by rhizome, and other plants mature and become much larger than we anticipated. Trees grow and trees die, changing the light and conditions. 

This guided tour and workshop is at the Minneapolis home of Wild Ones member,  Julia Vanatta. Her garden is a 20 plus year experiment and laboratory of gardening with native plants, incorporating rain and ground water into the designs. We'll review the garden as it is today and discuss how it has evolved over the years. 

Julia will be joined by retired landscape designer, Susan Van Baerle. While the host garden is clay, Susan's garden in East Bloomington is sandy loam mix. Her experience with a different ecosystem will add another perspective. 

Following each 30 minute tour there will be an open discussion based on the participant questions. We'll share tips about planning a garden that has room to evolve and how to work with Mother Nature.  


Class is open to newcomers and experienced gardeners, along with landscape designers who are new to gardening with native plants. Workshop is free and open to the public. Address will be provided in reminder email 2 days before the event. 

Offering three dates and times to choose from. Limit of 20 participants per session. Severe weather makeup date will be on Monday, August 21, time TBD. 

Click here to attend on Wednesday, August 16, 6:30 to 7:45 pm

Click here to attend on Thursday, August 17, 2:00 to 3:15 pm

Click here to attend on Friday, August 18, 9:30  to 10:45 am


Julia Vanatta has been a homeowner in Minneapolis since late 1970s. Getting serious about gardening over 20 years ago, she uses her own gardens to experiment and learn all she can about native plants and the wildlife they support, especially insects. Julia has been active as a leader in various capacities for Wild Ones Twin Cities for many years. More recently she started the Facebook group, Native Plant Gardens in the Upper Midwest, a discussion group where members engage in an exchange of ideas and practices for local ecosystem gardening.

Susan Van Bearle is a retired landscape designer. Her recent work includes working to help restore and maintain the land managed by Bush Lake Chapter of Izaak Walton Leagure. She has also written a blog about her own garden, read more here.

Guided tour will follow of map, showcasing history of gardens.

Wild Ones Outreach Training Workshop
Saturday, August 19, 2023
10:00 am to 11:15 am
Epworth UMC Sonshine Room
3207 37th Ave S, Minneapolis

Wild Ones is an educational non-profit with a mission to inform community members about the value of native plants, whether in our gardens, local parks or natural areas.

Minnesota Wild Ones chapters receive many requests to set up and staff educational tables at local and regional events. Next up on the calendar is the Minnesota State Fair (Aug 30-31) and Monarch Festival (Sept 9). We would also like members to staff educational outreach tables at each of our chapter events.

This workshop is to help Wild Ones members become more comfortable sharing Wild Ones mission. We'll review all the resources we offer and provide suggestions on how to answer frequently asked questions. The goal is for Wild Ones Twin Cities to have a pool of members we can call on to staff educational outreach tables throughout the year.

Workshop is free. RSVP via email to


Check back mid August for more information and to register and/or volunteer. 

Outreach Education Events

Wild Ones Twin Cities and Wild Ones Minnesota will be participating in the following events. If you would like to learn more about volunteering, email Your email will be forwarded to the coordinator. 

August 30-31, 2023 

Minnesota State Fair

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Minneapolis Monarch Festival

Sign up HERE to volunteer at the Monarch Festival!

Saturday, September 16

Alt Lawns Richfield and Bloomington Buzz Fest

Fall 2023 Programs at Wood Lake Nature Center

We kick off our fall program with history lessons on Minnesota trees, shrubs and the use of fire to manage our prairies. 

September 19, 2023

Identification and Natural History of Deciduous Trees & Shrubs

Stephen Saupe, professor emeritus, joint biology department of the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University. 

October 17, 2023 

Oaks, Fire, and Climate Change

Heather Holm

Co hosted by Wild Ones St Croix Oak Savanna

November 14, 2023

Wild Ones Twin Cities Annual Meeting and Volunteer Recognition