One of the cool things about living here in the Twin Cities is that we have a lot of local parks, nature centers, refuges and other green spaces that are easily available to people. Since Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes ( actually we have 11,842) many of these areas are set up around lakes or rivers. This is a picture of a part of the Minnesota Valley Refuge. The refuge runs along the Minnesota River from Bloomington to Shakopee. The refuge looks quite a bit different at the moment, it is mostly snow and ice right now, but soon the plants and wildlife will return and the flowers will bloom again.