Students Practice Stream Restoration


NDSU spent an evening placing rocks in the water near the confluence of the two inlets, under the advice of Natural Resources Management Professor, Jack Norland, PhD

Members of the Natural Resources Management Club and Wildlife Society at NDSU spent an evening placing rocks in the water near the confluence of the two inlets under the advice of Natural Resources Management Professor, Jack Norland, PhD. The World Garden Commons at Rabanus Park is the stormwater pond restoration pilot for The Fargo Project.

Grad student Aaron Green described the effects of the rock and willow riffles he and the MN DNR stream ecology section developed last year.  Today, you can see that the energy created by the rock and willow riffles has induced enough erosion to begin meanders in the stream. By strategically placing rocks essentially narrowing the stream, the students increased the low-flow drop and created a split flow

By strategically placing rocks essentially narrowing the stream, the students increased the low-flow drop and created a split flow. Now, during future high flows after a rain event, the split flow should create enough energy in the stream for a sediment-free pool beyond. An added benefit is a beautiful feature of rocks and running water mimicking natural prairie streams and rivers of our region.

NDSU NRM & Wildlife Students create a water feature

The Natural Resources Management Club and Wildlife Society at NDSU spend club time dedicated to outdoor education and resource management, learning about our environment and becoming more involved with wildlife or wildlife related organizations in the area.


Public Art Master Plan

Fargo Public Art Master PlanFargo’s public art can be a catalyst for expansive thinking, cultural evolution, social openness and cohesion as demonstrated by the process and approach of The Fargo Project.

“…Public Art is a growing contributor to the quality of life in Fargo.”

The City of Fargo recently published the Fargo Public Art Master Plan, facilitated by Forcaste Public Art.

In the effort to progress Fargo’s cultural evolution and development as a creative hub, the Arts and Culture Commission partnered with Forecast Public Art to create a Public Art Master Plan. The plan establishes priority goals and objectives and clarifies the Arts and Culture Commission’s role with both city-generated art and community‐generated art.

Review the plan and share your feedback and thoughts at the following meetings:

  • Monday, October 16, 5:30 pm Dr. James Carlson Library, 2801 32nd Av S
  • Wednesday, October 18, 12:00 pm City Hall Commission Room, 200 3rd St N
  • Thursday, October 19, 8:30 am City Hall Commission Room, 200 3rd St N
  • Saturday,  October 21, 1:00 pm Renaissance Hall, 650 NP Av (part of FMVA’s Annual Meeting)

Read the Fargo Public Art Master Plan (PDF)

Take A Walk – New Paths

Much of the work planned for World Garden Commons at Rabanus Park is emerging during construction this fall. Today the most notable are the raised paths.

Mowed and raised paths connect the features and encourage people to explore the urban prairie installation within the stormwater basin.  They are built on a rock bed that allows water to drain after a rain event and provide a hard surface to walk on even if the grounds are damp and muddy.

Enjoy the remaining fleeting fall days and take a walk on the new paths.

New path construction at World Garden Commons

The Fargo Project Research Opportunity

Opportunities for learning are abundant at World Garden CommonsWe need your help.

Through conversations and interviews, participation in art activities and public events at World Garden Commons, Rabanus Park, many people have contributed to The Fargo Project through community interest and professional association.

Some of you have received an email to participate in a survey to determine how people involved in The Fargo Project view success and if/or how their perspectives may differ.  The survey assesses ideas of success, understanding of the design goals and mission, and interest in continued involvement.

We want you to take the survey.

The survey will take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.  You’ll be asked to identify your stakeholder group or category, if and how your skills and knowledge have contributed to the project, and your perceptions of goals and successes.
Start Survey

Questions?  email Jesse Riley, call 701-793-1801

The variety of individuals involved in The Fargo Project come to the table with different ideas of what an urban area is, what storm water retention means, and what “success” means.  In eco-projects worldwide, a variety of perspectives are often represented, especially those involving lots of people.

It’s important to understand how to communicate and what people consider to be success at World Garden Commons so we can consider how to expand this project into other storm water retention ponds in the city and around the nation. The goal of the survey is to assess stakeholder perceptions of The Fargo Project (and World Garden Commons), the meaning of success, an understanding of the design principles and mission of the project, and interest in continued involvement.

The Fargo Project Design Principles
Principle 1: Let the water lead – Create a self-sustaining, hydrologically functioning basin true to the regional ecology and maximize opportunities for the regional prairie landscape to express itself and develop overtime.
Principle 2: Learn from the natural environment – Learn how the ecological systems behave, and practice responsive adaptive design and adaptive management.
Principle 3: Involve community – Make efforts create belonging, maximize diverse community participation throughout the life of the project from conception through long-term maintenance.
Principle 4: Experience nature and ecology – Create opportunities for people to enjoy the natural environment; the landscape is a unique attraction where people can experience the qualities and ecological relationships of a prairie landscape.

This study is being conducted by Jesse Riley, Doctoral student, Dr. Christina Hargiss and Dr. Jack Norland, faculty in the School of Natural Resource Sciences.

How Do I Participate?  Taking part in survey is completely optional. By completing the survey, you are agreeing to take part in the research study.  Questions regard your personal perceptions and experiences of The Fargo Project and World Garden Commons.  It will approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. If you decide to participate, you may change your mind or stop at any time.


World Garden Commons Construction Update Fall 2017

All across Fargo, large stormwater basins temporarily hold water runoff, sometimes for only hours at a time, during heavy rains or snowmelt. These basins are hidden in plain sight to most residents. Many of the basins are uninviting, unadorned, sunken grass lots with limited plant and wildlife diversity. An exception is the World Garden Commons at Rabanus Park, the pilot site for The Fargo Project.

Construction at World Garden Commons is scheduled to resume this month and continue into late spring of 2018.

In August, Gast Construction was awarded the contract to build overlook decks, raised paths, natural play features and a boardwalk at World Garden Commons with Land Elements overseeing the construction.

This week, contractors installed a portion of the silt fence which rings the construction areas. Later they will build a temporary road to move construction materials and equipment. By October, work will begin on the paths.

The 10-month construction schedule is necessary considering the type of weather and building conditions the contractors will experience while working in the storm-water basin.

Out of the imagination of the community, a once-barren site will be transformed: a welcoming commons to reintroduce plant, soil and wildlife, sculptural landscape, wandering paths with the intent to reintroduce each other to our human and cultural dependence on natural ecology.

Sep 24 – World Café at the World Garden Commons

UPDATE:  – Due to storms forecasted for Sunday, September  24 – the event has been moved to the New American Consortium at 15 21st Street S, Fargo from 1:00-4:00 PM.  Share world music, food, and conversation. It’s an afternoon of friendship, food, and conversation (for adults and kids).

DAY: September 14, 2017
TIME: 1:00-4:00 PM
TITLE: World Café
WHERE: Rabanus Park Barn (near the sand volleyball courts) New American Consortium, 15 21st Street South, Fargo.
HOSTED BY: The New American Consortium, The World in Fargo Moorhead, Welcoming Week

Join us for an (free) afternoon of friendship, food, and conversation (for adults and kids). Share world music, food, and conversation.  Talk about ways to strengthen bonds, build bridges and make links in our community.

World Café at the World Garden features world music by local performers and global foods prepared by people who have come to Fargo from different places in the world. Attendees are encouraged to wear clothing that represents their home cultures. Local ethnic-based community organizations will share information about the work they do. Participants will be asked “How can Fargo be a more welcoming community?”

All are welcome to this free event.  For more information, contact Ezzat Alhaidar at the The WE Center 701-478-3636.

About the organizers:

New American Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment builds bonds among people, bridges between diverse communities, and links to organizations. Through celebrations and programming, we facilitate trusting relationships and create healthy partnerships in the greater Fargo-Moorhead area. The office and programming space is known as “The WE Center,” for wellness and empowerment, but also for “we,” a community.

The World in Fargo-Moorhead shows the diversity of our area one portrait and one story at a time. These photos and stories are posted weekly to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also create exhibits that are shown at libraries, churches and other public spaces.

Welcoming Week 2017: Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo.  The metro area will be celebrating National Welcoming Week September 14-24 with 20+ events (the number keeps growing) spread out over the 10 days.  The local theme this year is “Bring a friend, make a friend,” as organizers hope to see 2,000 people attend events (bring a friend).  Organizers are also looking to promote a year-round welcoming community in which friendships cross national, language, and/or faith divides (make a friend).  Events are free and open to the public.

What’s Growing On?

Much of the work at World Garden Commons is to reestablish prairie grass and flowers within the 18-acre stormwater pond. An established prairie can better absorb rainfall, promote soil conservation, provide habitat for animals and is simply beautiful.

The Game and Fish Department of North Dakota assembled a guide describing 50 species of prairie wildflowers and grasses, identifying the plant with an image and a brief description.  The following lists the grasses, wild flowers and weeds those working onsite are trying to promote or, in the case of weeds, trying to eliminate.

Found at World Garden Commons:


Little Bluestem, Side Oats Grama, Blue Grama, Poverty Oat Grass, June Grass, Sand Bluestem, Canada Wild Rye, Switch Grass, Sweet Grass


Astor, Azure Aster, Black-Eyed Susan, Butterfly Weed, Canada Milk Vetch, Common Milkweed, Common Ox-Eye, Dotted Blazing Star, Golden Alexander, Gray Goldenrod, Hoary Vervain, Leadplant, Meadow Blazing Star, Northern Bedstraw, Prairie Cinquefoil, Prairie Rose, Purple Cone Flower, Purple Prairie Clover, Rough Blazing Star, Showy Penstemon, Smooth Aster, Stiff Tickseed, Upland Goldenrod, Western Spiderwort, White Prairie Clover, Wild Bergamot, Yarrow,

Opportunists (Weeds):

Birdsfoot trefoil, Canada Thistle, Curly Doc, Dandelion, Foxtail Barley, Plantain, Quackgrass, Ragweed



Are you tired of driving 100’s of miles to go to Powwow but still want to dance, sing, or watch?

MINI POW WOW Sun. Aug. 20, 2017 Rabanus Park, Fargo

DAY: August 20, 2017
TIME: 1:00 to 4:00 PM
TITLE: Mini Pow Wow;
WHERE: Rabanus Park 4301 18th Ave So, Fargo
Hosted by: Fargo Native American Commission

Well, then, come to this Mini-Powwow on Sunday, August 20th 2017 at the World Garden Commons in Rabanus Park (4315 18th Ave. South, Fargo) from 1 – 4 p.m..

The Native American Commission is co-sponsoring a mini-powwow with The Fargo Project for your enjoyment and will be having a small meal.

So, bring your shawls and dress your little ones in their regalia, shake out your old grass dance regalia or throw a bustle on and come out and dance. We are looking for dancers, singers, drummers, or anybody who did not leave town for a powwow but still wants to dance to the inter-tribal songs, just like old traditional days.

Grand Entry will be at 1 p.m. to start the powwow and we want everyone to be in the Grand Entry with or without your regalia, remember this is for family fun and to teach our children to have fun as a traditional native family.

Please call me or email for more information: Willard Yellow Bird, Cultural Planner,


Going Native

In 2012 the Rabanus Park stormwater basin looked like the rest of the stormwater basins in the city: short grass, yellow with dandelions in the spring, and home to a few geese. In short, quite ugly. Today, the World Garden Commons basin is becoming a home to a bouquet of prairie grasses, flowers, pollinators, songbirds, and wetland plants that hold shape into the fall and even in winter.

Going native with the landscape has many ecological and aesthetic benefits, and World Garden Commons is the perfect setting for residents to experience the perennial beauty of diverse native grasses and flowers.

A native landscape provides long-term cost savings on fertilizer, watering, and mowing. The deep roots of prairie grasses bind carbon captured from the atmosphere into the soil, combating climate change, improving degraded soils and water infiltration, and creating a habitat for pollinators and birds.

While a mature native landscape is low maintenance, it takes up to three to five years for a new site to establish. At World Garden Commons “going native” started in 2013 when the Park District simply stopped mowing at the site. In 2015, Blaine Keller of Prairie Restorations began in earnest to prepare the basin for a diversity of new native plants.

2012 panoramic view of the Rabanus stormwater basin with mowed lawn

2012 view of Rabanus basin with short, mowed lawn

In the spring of 2016, Jesse Riley, a Ph.D. candidate in natural resource management, tilled 25 test plots to assess the optimal vegetation seed mix based on establishment, resisting encroachment, hardiness, and durability for stormwater basins. The seed plots present different flowers each season and each year as the plots mature. One season white flowers may dominate; in another year, during the same season, yellow may be the primary color.

While walking through the site this spring, Blaine identified aster, purple prairie clover, prairie smoke, black-eyed susan, cordgrass, milkweed, bull rush, foxtail barley, slender wheat grass, sweet grass, silverweed, yarrow, and nettle.

Because it takes time for native plants to mature, Blaine and Prairie Restoration will continue onsite maintenance. The height and density of weed cover determines if it’s more advantageous to mow to prevent weeds from seeding or if weeding by hand will suffice. It also determines when a scheduled burn will stimulate growth of native grasses and wildflowers.

The next steps for World Garden Commons and the Fargo Project are to train others to differentiate between the desired prairie flowers, grasses, and wetland plants, and the undesirable weeds. The hope is that once others learn to identify the plants, they would feel compelled to participate in the hand weeding that promotes the diversity of native plants in the basin.

Aug 13 – International Speed Friending Photo Extravaganza

DAY: August 13, 2017
TIME: 1:00 to 4:00 PM
TITLE: International Speed Friending Photo Extravaganza
WHERE: Rabanus Park 4301 18th Ave So, Fargo
Hosted by: The World in Fargo Moorhead

Join us for an (free) afternoon of friendship, food, photos, and fun (for adults and kids).  Sunday, August 13th from 1-4 p.m., The World in Fargo-Moorhead is hosting an International Speed Friending event at Rabanus Park in Fargo.

1:00 – 2:00 International Speed Friending. Sit with people from all over the world and learn about them. We will have seven sessions of eight minutes each for you to sit across from someone you don’t know and get to know about them and their culture. Conversation starters will be available at each table.

2:00 – 3:00 PM Food! Join us for a delicious buffet of Nepalese food provided by Everest Tikka House of Moorhead.

3:00 – 4:00 PM Instant Photo Booth and Share-Your-Story Stand. Have your picture taken by one of our photographers and have it instantly printed in our photo booth! This is also an opportunity to learn about The World in Fargo-Moorhead, a project which showcases diversity in the Red River Valley by taking pictures and recording the stories of those born abroad. The World in Fargo-Moorhead shares these pictures and stories on social media and in a traveling art exhibit. If you are interested in sharing your story with The World in Fargo-Moorhead, or if you’d like to volunteer with us in any capacity, come talk to some of our photographers and interviewers.

The World in Fargo-Moorhead shows the diversity of our area one portrait and one story at a time. These photos and stories are posted weekly to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also create exhibits that are shown at libraries, churches and other public spaces.

Supporting the free events at World Garden Commons in Rabanus Park from 1-4 p.m. on Sundays