Volunteers from MPC’s St. Paul Park refinery help transform the Dodge Nature Center

Community News

St. Paul Park employees volunteer at the Dodge Nature Center in Cottage Grove (MN.),
helping transform their Sheppard Farm property for increased access and community use

Over the course of three weeks, volunteers from the St. Paul Park (SPP) refinery recently supported development of the Dodge Nature Center’s Shepard Farm property in the city of Cottage Grove.

The organization is working on a community opening for the property. This increased and upgraded outdoor space is critical right now, as it provides a safe zone for social distancing and educational opportunities for our community, including providing local school children with space for field trips.

Work at the Shepard Farm included:

  • Adding a maintenance access road into the property
  • Clearing an area for compost and wood chips
  •  Demolishing a barn and clearing brush
  •  Removing dead trees
  • Improving the current trail system by clearing the paths and adding wood chips
  •  Installing signage

The team from the refinery enlisted the help of our contractor Boldt, who brought in the heavy equipment used to demolish the barn. The remaining work was conducted by volunteers within the SPP maintenance department, many of whom live and reside in the surrounding community.  

Additionally, a woodworker from Boldt fashioned wooden bowls from some of the trees that were removed. These will be donated back to the Shepard Farm for a display.

Founded in 1967, the Thomas Irvine Dodge Nature Center was one of the first nature centers in the state of Minnesota and a pioneer in environmental education. Dodge is a nonprofit organization operating on more than 460 acres of nature preserve within the cities of West St. Paul, Mendota Heights, and Cottage Grove. The nature center provides environmental and agricultural experiences for thousands of people every year through school programs, community events, and a nature preschool that is recognized nationally.