Test your skills, help Fish Creek

So, how are your "Minnesota skills"?

Find out at "Minnesotan Get-Together" thrown as a fundraiser for the purchase of the pristine Fish Creek area in Maplewood.

Crop art to canoeing

From 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, all ages are invited to enjoy a pasta dinner, a nature-themed presentation and the opportunity to try their hand at a variety of skills our forebears brought to the forest and prairie -- and are still handy today.

The main attraction at the fundraiser is author Chris Niskanen's presentation on his book, "The Minnesota Book of Skills." The entertaining, informative book will be paired with a variety of "skills stations" where participants can test their know-how.

For instance, can you paddle a canoe? Back and turn? Pair with a partner or go it alone?

How about collecting maple sap and figuring out what volume to boil off to make syrup?

How about tying a jig to keep the family fed? Knitting or quilting to keep them warm?

Here's one probably every Minnesotan has seen, but how many have tried their hand at creating crop art?

And knowing how to extract a tick from your nearest and dearest -- that's a true North Country skill.

A silent auction is slated, featuring prizes for every taste and budget.

Dinner includes lasagna, penne pasta, meatballs, salad, dessert and beverage. A cash bar is available.

Home stretch

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward purchase and preservation of approximately 62 acres of river bluff, oak savanna and open areas in a 70-acre area of untouched land south of Carver Road in Maplewood.

The city and various partners are in the home stretch financially; they need from $250,000 to $350,000 to conclude the $2.15 million purchase and trail project.

The event will be held at the Maplewood Community Center; 2100 White Bear Ave., Maplewood. Tickets are $35; pre-registration is required by Feb. 15.

Call 651-249-2230 to register or for more information.