Bee on Flower

By Molly Butler

Minnesota’s state bee, the rusty-patched bumble bee, is on the list of pollinators threatened with extinction due to loss of habitat and use of pesticides.

“I have come to care about half invisible things that we never thought about in my childhood, like moths, worms, dung beetles, bats, flies and the wriggling life beneath the rocks in our streams.” -James Rebanks

There are these little, half invisible lives all around us. Small, but mighty. The insect life resting in our lawns and leaves is part of the miracle that sustains human life. Without our pollinators, the food chain ends.

“I actually believe there is more to life than conquering and acquisition. How about nurturing and discovering how to live better within creation’s order and plan? Why must everything be manipulated to short-term human gratification?” -Joel Salatin

This year, the City of Mankato is piloting No Mow May, an effort to promote healthy habitats and a safe exit from hibernation for early pollinators like bees by allowing the grass to grow. The city is suspending its 12-inch grass ordinance for homeowners.

Acknowledge the miracle.

I hope many people will take this opportunity to make ecologically friendly behaviors part of the norm. Participate in No Mow May if you are able, and consider additional steps to protecting our pollinators. Native plants provide a buffet for our native species. Besides harming wildlife, one annual application of lawn herbicide increases a dog’s cancer risk by one-third, and professionally applied pesticides are linked to a 70% increase in developing lymphoma. Planting native plants on your lawn and eliminating all use of pesticides are simple, actionable ways to make our community better.

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But, I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day, we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Enough conquering and destruction for the sake of aesthetics. Enough pretending we are separate from the life cycle. Acknowledge the miracle. Have a wonderful weekend.


It’s time for the Monroe Elementary Family Carnival! Bring cash for food and fun, including food vendors, 25-cent games, a prize redemption center and the Scholastic Book Fair with BOGO books! Each family is asked to bring a box or bag of cereal for the Cereal Walk. The fun starts at 5 p.m. and goes through 7:30 p.m. It’s also Free Food Friday at the North Mankato Taylor Library, featuring a Murder Mystery Party! Ages 9-17 are welcome, and registration is required. Call the library or register online.

One Bright Star is hosting a Trivia Night at the Loose Moose Saloon! Enjoy an evening of friendly competition starting at 7 p.m. Come early for happy hour and food. Get your tickets here. The Mankato Playhouse will perform Grease! Dinner seating begins at 6 p.m., and show-only seating starts at 7 p.m. Get your tickets here.

We have a ton of live, local music for you this Friday! The Dan Duffy Orchestra will perform 30’s-40’s swing music from 6-8:30 p.m. at Indian Island Winery. From 7-10 p.m., you can catch Amy Manette at the WOW! Zone and Ron & Steve Unplugged at The Circle Inn. The What’s Up Lounge will host Sylvia’s Wrath, Mac, Klug & Karels, plus Ocho & Friends. The doors open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 8:30 p.m. The cover is $10 for this 21+ show.


Kickstart the last day of April with Nicollet Bike and Ski Shop! They’ll be taking off for a 25–40 mile Gravel Ride, leaving their shop at 7 a.m. Gravel or Cyclocross bikes are recommended. Come explore the beautiful back roads of the river valley! The YMCA Girls on the Run Celebratory 5k takes off at 10 a.m.! Celebrate the girls who are completing their 10-week season of Girls on the Run with a positive, non-competitive 5k at Spring Lake Park. This event is open to all and includes family-friendly fun and a Kids K. Then, it’s another Toddler Time and Preschool Pals at the North Mankato Taylor Library! This come-and-go event begins at 9 a.m., and no registration is required.

The River Valley Makers are opening back up for the season! Head to the Hub Food Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for 30-plus vendors, plus live music! Check out local crafters and artists in a community of sharing and support. Register here for the Living Earth Center’s Seed and Seedling Swap, open from noon to 2 p.m. at the Living Earth Center. Bring your excess seeds and seedlings and exchange them with other local gardeners! Barter only, no cash required.

The American Legion Post 518 in North Mankato invites you to their Sip and Shop event! There will be a wine tasting, bake sale, silent auction and more! Open 1-3 p.m. Sota Sister Boutique on Commerce Drive will be hosting a Trunk Show with Authentic Joys by A.J. from 1-5 p.m. Check out the jewelry, and pick up some fresh spring looks.

The Super Duper Bastards will perform at the Circle Inn from 3-6 p.m., featuring Kaleb Braun-Schulz, Cooper Fuller and Ben Scruggs in an afternoon of Americana! Generation Gap will play Indian Island Winery beginning at 5:30 p.m. The What’s Up Lounge will host Loadie, Sunless and Feral Light; the doors open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for this 21+ show.

May Day

Tours of Mankato’s Historic Post Offices will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Explore the historic Post Office and Federal Courthouse. At 1 p.m., Gustavus Softball takes on St. Olaf, and Gustavus Baseball takes on Crown College. Bethany Lutheran Baseball will face St. Mary’s at 1 p.m. Catch the afternoon showing of Grease at the Mankato Playhouse beginning at 2 p.m. The Bethany Lutheran College Jazz Ensemble Spring Concert will take place at 5 p.m.

Added Value: Don’t Be Trashy

The other day, I took a walk in Rasmussen Woods and left with an armload of trash: cans, bottles, beef jerky wrappers. Luckily, much of it was recyclable. But throwing out the pieces doomed for the trash feels a little silly. No matter where it goes, the plastic will still exist somewhere. If it’s not these beautiful woods, it will be another. This garbage will exist long after I’m gone.

Springtime is an honest time. A winter’s worth of trash is blowing on the roadsides. Plastic bags stuck to trees and food wrappers clogging drains. It is a good reminder; when we throw something away, there is no such thing as “away.”

Rob Greenfield is an American environmental activist. This month, he’s doing an amazing feat of activism: 30 Days of Wearing My Trash. You can watch his last 30-day trash experiment here and keep up with the current 30 Days on his website.

Remember: reduce, reuse, recycle is put in that order for a reason. Recycling can only help so much. To make real change, we must reduce the amount we consume and reuse what already exists.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.