Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a backyard oasis within my sprawling suburban neighborhood. It didn’t include ponies or a playground, but it held something that a 10-year-old me found even better: a marsh. Though I lost many boots slogging through the murky water, the process of collecting specimens, making tree forts and crafting a secret world were each great introductions to nature and the delicate ecosystems that thrive there. As I observed the caterpillars, frogs and herons that called my backyard home, I came to know them and understand them, and I grew passionate about protecting their safe haven.
This issue is built around the themes of outdoor living, travel and pets, some of my favorite topics that often lead to this issue being my favorite one of the year. Within these pages, you’ll find some fantastic stories of folks caring for their land and the plants and animals that call it home. On page 14, read about White Bear Lake’s Pollinator Pathways Map and learn how to create gardens that will support local pollinators. Later, writer Kristie Smith went on an excursion to This Old Horse in Hugo to talk about its Racehorse Reimagined program that gives retired racehorses a new purpose.
There’s also a peek into some exciting and delicious new ventures, including Roam Bike Shop (page 12) and Orso Bianco Gelato (page 30) and more on how a classic spot is looking toward the future (read about Cabin 61 on page 16).
There’s so much beauty to observe and enjoy in our own backyard. Embrace it!