It's not too often the trees in your yard can make you money, but that's the case now if you have an excess of pine cones.

I'm a big tree fan, but I'll admit, while they can provide a lot of shade, those lovely trees in your yard or on your property can sometimes be expensive to maintain. But here's a chance to actually MAKE some money from your trees, courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

They're currently looking for pine cones, and now through February, they're even willing to pay you for them. It's all part of their plan to keep Minnesota's state forests healthy and strong and assist in reforestation efforts across the state. And right now, the DNR could really use black spruce pine cones. That's the word from the DNR's Mike Reinikainen, a forestry program coordinator.

A low supply of black spruce cones in previous years has left our seed ‘cupboard’ bare. We are hearing that there’s a good black spruce cone crop this year – it’s critical we take advantage of this to store up seed for this season and for seasons to come.

The DNR will then use those cones to help reseed over 6,000 acres of black spruce forests here in Minnesota. And, while black spruce is the species needed right now, did you know the DNR regularly buys seeds and cones from a variety of trees? They do. But before you head out to your yard and start picking up various cones and seeds, the DNR says there are a few restrictions.

You'll want to first check-in with the DNR forestry office nearest you before you collect any cones or seeds. They can give you a list of tree species they're accepting, as well as quantities and the dates and times seeds will be purchased. There are DNR seed collection field offices in our area in Faribault, Lake City and Caledonia. You can get more information about the program HERE.

And while you're out there foraging for pine cones, beware of snakes. Wait, what? While Minnesota may not be known as a state with a lot of snakes (like some out west are), did you know there are 17 species of snakes who call Minnesota home? Keep scrolling to check 'em out!

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LOOK: The 17 Snake Species of Minnesota