Recently in Opportunities Category

Project Get Outdoors Board Vacancies

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Project Get Outdoors, Inc. is seeking 2 - 3 candidates to fill board vacancies. The organization works to help Minnesota communities connect children to nature learning and outdoor exploration during the out-of-school hours. More information about Project GO Brochure.pdf and Project GO Board Member PD 5 12 14.pdfcan be found on the attachments.

Please share this information with anyone who may be interested. This is a great opportunity for MN Master Naturalist volunteers and retired teachers!

Greetings Master Naturalists,

Volunteers are needed for the 2015 St. Louis River-River Watch Spring Congress. Presentations open to Minnesota Master Naturalists to attend.

The St. Louis River-River Watch Project is a youth-based water quality monitoring program for the St. Louis River and its tributaries in northeastern Minnesota. The Spring Congress provides an opportunity to promote stewardship of the watershed and share data and information through interactive presentations with students and the general public.

Date: Thursday March 19th, 2015
Time: 8:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M.
Location: Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, Minnesota

Duties: Set up and take down for the event, and guide school groups from one presentation to the next.

Volunteers will be given lunch and a chance to view whatever presentations they are interested in.

Minnesota Master Naturalists are welcome to attend the event.

Visit us on Facebook for more information and upcoming presenters:

For more info and to volunteer contact:

Courtney Kowalczak
Environmental Institute Director
Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College

DNR Spring Volunteer Opportunities

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All of the newest DNR volunteer opportunities are NOW posted on our website including the annual MN Loon Monitoring Program and Frog & Toad Calling Survey!

Check them out and others to see how YOU might get involved this spring!

Sharp-tailed Grouse Research

Enjoy the morning courtship ritual of the sharp-tailed grouse up-close and personal this spring! Volunteers will monitor sharp-tailed grouse traps from viewing blinds on dancing grounds in the early morning hours. Two to four volunteers are needed each day to assist a research biologist and technician with removing grouse from traps, handling grouse, and applying radio collars. Collared birds will become part of an ongoing research study examining the nesting and brood rearing habitat of the sharp-tailed grouse.

Volunteers are needed during the mating season from April through mid-May in the early morning from approximately 1 hour before sunrise to 3 hours after sunrise. Volunteers need to be available for the duration of the morning. Trapping will occur daily including some weekends near Palisade, MN and at the Sax-Zim Bog located near Meadowlands, MN. Transportation is available from Grand Rapids to study sites with DNR staff.

Volunteers working towards or possessing a Bachelor's Degree in wildlife or natural resources are preferred, but not required. Experience handling or trapping avian species is also desirable, but not required. All volunteers must be able to sit quietly and still in small spaces for long periods of time in cold weather. Any other training will be provided.

For more information contact Lindsey Shartell, Forest Habitat Biologist, 1201 E. Hwy 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744 at 218-999-7932 or email

Search for the Rare Dwarf Trout Lily in Southern MN

Interested in wildflowers? If so, use this interest to assist the DNR to search for, and collect data on the Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lily, a Federally Endangered spring wild flower, endemic to a few forest rivers in southeastern Minnesota. This is part of an annual monitoring effort at selected sites in Goodhue, Rice, and Steele Counties approximately 1 - 2 hours south of the Twin Cities. Volunteers work as part of a crew of 3 - 7 people supervised by DNR staff or experienced volunteers to search previously documented areas, flag, and count plants. No independent volunteer opportunities are available for rare plant monitoring.

People of any background with an interest in wildflowers are welcome. Volunteers will need to be able to spot a flower bud the size of a grain of rice five feet in front of them, while working with an organized team to systematically survey an area. Some sites may also include rough, very steep terrain that volunteers must be able to walk/climb, as well as crossing small streams and rivers. Training in identifying the lily and search methods will be provided in the field at the beginning of each workday.

Work will be conducted sometime between April 20 and May 12 (dependent on flower development). A full day's commitment is required. For more information and/or to get on a mailing list with more specific details as the survey dates approach, contact Derek Anderson, Botanist/Plant Ecologist, St Paul, at 651-259-5071 or email

Share your Outdoor Passion at Lake Carlos State Park

Sculpted by ancient glaciers, Lake Carlos State Park contains a tamarack bog, marshes, woodland ponds, and lakes. Come visit and get involved as a volunteer in a variety of recreational activities scheduled for this spring and summer.

School Groups: Help run or instruct one of the multiple stations set up for school groups to visit during the months of April - early June (variable weekdays). Topics vary from geology, wetland ecology, mammals, to history. Props and outlines for instruction will be provided for 1-2 volunteers.

Fishing Frenzy Fridays: Promote fishing and caring for our water resources by working with children and/or families to teach the basic skills of fishing including safety, line casting, knot tying, baiting hooks, and taking fish off the hook, as well as identifying fish species and their habitats. One to two volunteers will help instruct and oversee a small group of participants during shoreline fishing scheduled for Fridays during the summer, June 12 through August 28, 2015.

National Get Outdoors Day, Saturday, June 13: This nationwide initiative is focused on getting people outdoors. On this day we have multiple events going on to help people find something they like to do outdoors like geocaching, paddle boarding, canoeing, hiking, and so on. Volunteer duties may include things like giving directions to different areas in the park, teaching geocaching, helping out in the visitor center with greeting people and answering other questions they have.

Wood Working and Other Projects: Help is needed with the planning, cutting, and assembly of several program items from April-August. Volunteer duties may include Measuring, cutting, the construction of items like traveling desks, tree cookies, lantern boxes, bird feeder kits, and more. Skills and experience in construction and wood working is desired.

For more information contact Ben Eckhoff, Naturalist, Lake Carlos State Park, 2601 County Road 38 NE, Carlos, MN 56319 at (320) 852-7471 or email

Apr 18 Outdoor Family Expo

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OUTDOOR FAMILY EXPO: All ages, from beginner to experienced

AT THE MAPLEWOOD COMMUNITY CENTER, 2100 White Bear Ave N, Maplewood, MN 55109

Saturday, April 18

Time: 10:00am-1:00 pm


Imagine blue sky, splashing in the lakes and playing under a leafy green canopy! Learn the tips and tricks for enjoying the outdoors, and discover all that Minnesota has to offer. Studies show that being outdoors is good for your health and contributes to positive attitudes! Get connected to all the resources you need - there will be learning stations for all ages from examining live fish and tying jigs, to trying out binoculars, setting up a tent, nature play, info on hiking and biking and outdoor summer sports and recreation in Maplewood! Learn about weather and safety, wildlife watching, and summer camps, plus enjoy snacks, freebies and meeting a live porcupine! There will be a suite of outdoor vendors on hand to share their expertise, and newest trends in outdoor gear.

June 13 Brush Stacking

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Brush Stacking
Volunteers: 150, Supervisors: 16
Carver Park Reserve, Victoria
Saturday, June 13, 8:30am-12:30pm

Join Great River Greening for this project kick-off event to help restore oak woodlands at Carver Park Reserve in the west Metro. Known for its vast diversity of wildlife, Carver Park Reserve is struggling with buckthorn, an invasive shrub which threatens new tree growth and crowds out native shrubs, flowers, and grasses. Help us haul and stack buckthorn to ensure that biodiversity continues to thrive at this beautiful site!

Partners and Funders: Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund.

Please join us as we continue our efforts to restore critical lands and waters throughout the state! Individuals of all ages, families, and community and corporate groups of any size are welcome. Volunteers are needed for restoration activities, set-up and registration, leading work units as a volunteer supervisor, taking photos, lunch, and clean-up.
Register Today:

May 30 Planting and Celebration!

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Planting and Celebration!
Volunteers: 125, Supervisors: 20
Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary, Saint Paul
Saturday, May 30, 8:30am-12:30pm

Plant trees, shrubs, and grasses along the brook as we continue the transformation
of this neglected former railroad site into a 42-acre nature sanctuary! Once completed, Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary will provide prairie, savanna, maple-basswood forest, wetlands, recreational trails, and stormwater management--all right in the heart of the city!

After the event, starting at 12:30pm at Trout Brook, join Greening in celebrating our 20th
Anniversary of restoring land, water and wonder throughout (and beyond) the Twin Cities!

Partners and Funders: City of Saint Paul, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund, Mortenson Family Foundation, Fairmount Santrol, 3M Foundation

Please join us as we continue our efforts to restore critical lands and waters throughout the state! Individuals of all ages, families, and community and corporate groups of any size are welcome. Volunteers are needed for restoration activities, set-up and registration, leading work units as a volunteer supervisor, taking photos, lunch, and clean-up.
Register Today:

May 16 Rain Garden Plantings

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Rain Garden Plantings
Volunteers: 30, Supervisors: 6
Payne-Phalen Neighborhood, Saint Paul
Saturday, May 16, 8:30am-12:00pm

Help plant 46 boulevard rain gardens in the northern part of the Paryne-Phalen neighborhood in Saint Paul! Great River Greening staff and volunteers will assist residents in planting boulevard rain gardens to improve water quality in our lakes and the Mississippi River through a partnership of the City of Saint Paul Public Works and Capitol Region Watershed District. Lunch not provided for this event.

Partners and Funders: Capitol Region Watershed District, City of Saint Paul Public Works.

Please join us as we continue our efforts to restore critical lands and waters throughout the state! Individuals of all ages, families, and community and corporate groups of any size are welcome. Volunteers are needed for restoration activities, set-up and registration, leading work units as a volunteer supervisor, taking photos, lunch, and clean-up.
Register Today:

May 16 Buckthorn Blast

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Buckthorn Blast
Volunteers: 100, Supervisors: 16
Katherine Abbott Park, Mahtomedi
Saturday, May 16, 8:30am-12:30pm

Be a part of the effort to restore a metro area gem! Great River Greening and volunteers have worked at this site for the past year, hauling out buckthorn and other invasive woody species. Help us complete the buckthorn removal at the park. Volunteers will be doing a mix of cutting and stacking.

Partners and Funders: City of Mahtomedi, Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Please join us as we continue our efforts to restore critical lands and waters throughout the state! Individuals of all ages, families, and community and corporate groups of any size are welcome. Volunteers are needed for restoration activities, set-up and registration, leading work units as a volunteer supervisor, taking photos, lunch, and clean-up.
Register Today:

Apr 24 Arbor Day Tree Planting

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Arbor Day Tree Planting
Volunteers: 150, Supervisors: 18
South Washington Conservation Corridor, Woodbury
Friday, April 24, 12:00-4:00pm

Plant trees with Great River Greening in the South Washington Conservation Corridor! This 80-acre parcel is part of a larger greenway in the watershed providing critical native habitat and stormwater management, and will be the site of future recreational trails.

Partners and Funders: South Washington Watershed District, Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Please join us as we continue our efforts to restore critical lands and waters throughout the state! Individuals of all ages, families, and community and corporate groups of any size are welcome. Volunteers are needed for restoration activities, set-up and registration, leading work units as a volunteer supervisor, taking photos, lunch, and clean-up.
Register Today:

Mar 7 Become a Great River Greening Volunteer Supervisor

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Free Training!
Saturday, March 7
Shoreview Library
4570 North Victoria St.
Shoreview, 55126

Do you enjoy leading, teaching, and motivating others?

Are you interested in lifelong learning and passionate about protecting our environment?

Do you want to join an active community that feels the same way?

If you answered yes to ANY of the above, then sign up today to become a Volunteer Supervisor!

These volunteer leaders are indispensable to Great River Greening, directing the efforts of groups of 5-20 volunteers at ecological restoration events around the Twin Cities.

Great River Greening is seeking individuals with excellent communication skills and
the ability to work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and ages. The
training - required in order to be a Volunteer Supervisor - is open to everyone and
will focus on the role and various responsibilities of the Volunteer Supervisor, how to
manage and effectively lead our diverse community of volunteers, and opportunities
available to Supervisors.

FREE Training is provided! Sign up to be trained TODAY!
Contact Jen Kader at 651-665-9500 x11 or

Interested but can't make it? Contact Jen to hear about new training dates as they are schedule

Mar 14 Beat Back Invasives Lowry Nature Center

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Beat Back Invasives

Saturday, March 14, 2015 1-3 p.m.
Declare war on land-based invasive species in Carver park! Learn how to get involved in shaping the future, from monitoring to removal events to adopting a forest area. Participate in a buckthorn removal (ages 8+) and celebration bonfire. Make a buckthorn craft. Children must be accompanied by an adult; maximum eight youth per adult. Reservations recommended.
Free. For reservations, call 763-559-6700 or visit our website.

Invasive Plant Patrol - Ramsey Conservation District

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Invasive Plant Patrol
Early Detection / Citizen Science Program

How can you prevent buckthorn-like takeovers of new invasive plants in Ramsey County?
Volunteer! Hike, mark and report plants for removal!
Your findings contribute to a national invasive species database!

Choose from these FREE Saturday Training programs (note registration info):
• March 28, Shoreview City Hall (email
• April 11, Maplewood Nature Center (call 651-249-2170)
• April 25, Tamarack Nature Center (call 651-407-5350 x119)
All trainings are scheduled for 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

For more information: go to Ramsey County Cooperative Weed management Area on Facebook

Calling All Gardeners - Help Us Save the Pollinators

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Calling all Gardeners - Pollinators need your help! It takes a village.
Sign up now to make a garden plan - it's soooo easy.
Pollinator Friendly Alliance has a really great opportunity to make a difference in Stillwater - But we need your help!
Sign up to help today -

The City is working with us to replace neonicotinoid plants with pollinator friendly gardens.

The Pollinator Friendly Gardening Initiative is underway!
1. Neonicotinoids are killing our pollinators. Many plants are grown from neonicotinoid seeds or are drenched in the toxic stuff. Neonics move through the vascular system of the plant as it grows for the life of the plant. Pollinators ingest the pollen, nectar and plant dew.
2. Let's replace these neonic plants with healthy beautiful forage for our pollinators. Here's how it works:
3. Volunteer gardeners sign up by email with your contact information to
4. Pollinator Friendly Alliance (PFA) will provide you with a map and list of park gardens, planted boulevards, plant containers and other garden areas in the City of Stillwater available for pollinator friendly plants. Gardeners can choose a garden area to make a pollinator friendly garden plan for.
5. PFA will provide gardeners with lists of suppliers and plants that are pollinator friendly for your garden plan.
6. Gardeners submit their garden plan to PFA by March 1st so that the friendly experts can be sure the plan works for the City.
7. The City of Stillwater uses these plans to plant the City gardens this coming Spring 2015 covering our City with neonic-free forage for pollinators.

Opportunities to get involved with Pollinator Friendly.
email: or

-Become a Pollinator Friendly member (you'll receive email updates about important pollinator happenings and events)
-Be a Sponsor for the Pollinator Friendly Alliance. (Sponsor a beehive, a beeyard, an educational event, a pollinator garden, or seeding a pollinator forage area).
-Be a Pollinator Friendly Alliance volunteer (volunteers are needed to plant pollinator plants, seed forage areas, and to put on events).
-Be a volunteer Pollinator Friendly Gardener (join The PFA planting program and create a garden plan for a Stillwater park, container, or garden area).

Mar 7 3 Way 10K Event on Gull Lake

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REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN for the newest event in the Brainerd Lakes Area
Cross Country Ski, Snow Shoe, Fit Tire Bike, or Hike the course from Ernie's on Gull to Zorbaz - make it a FAMILY AFFAIR!
Sign up today by going to, click on the registration and sign up. Easy as 1-2-3!

Support Camp Confidence AND Northland Arboretum while having a fun trek across Gull Lake!

Invasive Species Workshops and Volunteer Opportunities

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Master Volunteers & Natural Resource Professionals,

The New Year has come and gone, it's now time to think about late winter programs and volunteer opportunities. Please consider attending one of our upcoming Forest Pest First Detector (FPFD) workshops or helping with one (or more) of the EAB or Oriental bittersweet surveys.

Forest Pest First Detector workshops are for anyone who wants the latest in-depth information about new invasive pests that affect Minnesota's landscape trees, shelterbelts and urban and rural forests. Past attendees include Master Volunteers (Woodland Advisors, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, Tree Care Advisors, etc.), tree care professionals, forestry professionals, natural resource professions who work with trees, environmental educators, MN Conservation Corps participants, land and home owners and many others.

Others may want to attend to become part of the award-winning Minnesota Forest Pest First Detector volunteer program to help the public find new invasive species affecting Minnesota's trees and forests or as a refresher for those already active as Forest Pest First Detectors. Current Forest Pest First Detector volunteers are welcome but not required to attend.

You do not need to become a First Detector Volunteer to attend. If you want to become a First Detector volunteer, visit our website for additional information about what you need to do before attending the workshop.

2015 Forest Pest First Detector Workshops - Registration open!

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Douglas County Public Works, Conference Room, 526 Willow Drive, Alexandria, MN 56308
To register, click here for Alexandria.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Cloquet Forestry Center, Stine Conference Room, 175 University Road, Cloquet, MN 55720
To register click here for Cloquet

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
MNDOT Training & Conference Center, Rm 4, 1900 County Road I West, Shoreview, MN 55126
To register click here for Shoreview.

EAB & Oriental Bittersweet Volunteer Survey Opportunities

Come learn how to identify emerald ash borer or Oriental bittersweet (OB) and help the MDA and the UMN Extension collect presences and absences data about these troublesome invasive species.

Some knowledge of trees and forest invasive species is helpful, likely participants include Forest Pest First Detectors, Master Naturalist, Master Gardeners, Tree Care Advisors and natural resource professionals.

These events are free; participants will be expected to participate in the survey. The survey will likely included walking outside in winter and traveling in teams or small groups along survey routes. Participants should come dressed for the weather. Lunch will be provided.

Survey events will begin at 9:00 AM and are likely to end about 3:30 PM. Specific meeting locations will be emailed in advance of each survey. General locations and specific dates are provided below.

These survey activities are funded by the US Farm Bill via the MDA.
March 3, EAB Survey, Lebanon Hills Visitor Center, 860 Cliff Road, Eagan, MN 55123
March 5, EAB Survey, Tarsillas House & Cafe, 112 North Main Street, Stewartville, MN 55976
March 9, OB Survey, Luxton Recreation Center, Prospect Park, 112 Williams Avenue SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55414
March 10, OB Survey, Rochester Recreation Center Activity, 21 Elton Hills Dr. NW, Rochester, MN
March 11, OB Survey, Brownsville Community Center, 104 N 6th St, Brownsville, MN 55919
Click here to register for any or all of these volunteer opportunities.

Hope to see you soon,
Angela Gupta
UMN Extension Forestry Educator

Mar 3 Project Art for Nature Call for Artists

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Visual artists and illustrators with a focus on nature and conservation of natural areas & native species.

Seeking applicants for the next 3-year cycle. 2015-2018

Revised Application Deadline
March 3, 2015
Applications available at
For application materials, information, or to view artworks of current and past members:

We welcome your queries!
Please put "PAN Application Question" in subject line.

About Project Art for Nature:
Founded in 2001, Project Art for Nature brings together artists with a passion for protecting and restoring
nature. Each artist chooses natural area(s) to visit throughout the cycle, and creates artwork related to their site(s)
to exhibit in PAN's end-of-cycle show, and other optional show opportunities throughout the cycle.

Now seeking new artists for its fifth cycle, Project Art for Nature invites applications from artists who work
• in any hand-created media, styles, and processes;
• in 2, 3 or 4 dimensions;
• pictorially, abstractly or conceptually;
• at macro, micro or process level: focusing on
-species or landscapes,
-individuals or ecosystems, or
-natural processes (e.g., evolution, decomposition, migration.)
The artists of Project Art for Nature work independently and collaboratively to mount exhibits with impact.

For more details on the commitments involved in Project Art for Nature, please visit our website

Climate Minnesota:Local Stories, Community Solutions
The Will Steger Foundation is excited to launch Climate Minnesota: Local Stories, Community Solutions, a two-year project funded through the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Climate Minnesota responds to the urgent need to increase climate literacy and promote sustainable behavior change among Minnesotans by sharing the knowledge of local experts and the stories of individuals impacted by climate change. The project builds on the power of media for sharing stories and the importance of personal contact to reach a broader, more diverse audience.

Opportunities for Involvement
We are looking for individuals or organizations to contribute through the following opportunities:

Submit Your Climate Story
Storytelling is a powerful way to communicate on climate change, especially when told from a personal perspective. As Minnesotans we are actually seeing the impacts now and they are affecting us in very real and direct ways. Share your personal climate change story in a blog, podcast or on our storytelling panel at a convening. For more information on how to submit your climate story as a blog or podcast please visit our Climate Storytelling Collection or email

Attend a Local Convening
For a full listing of all twelve-public convenings, please visit All convenings are free and open to the public.

Lead a Climate Action Team
We are developing climate action teams in each of our twelve convening locations. Climate action teams will represent a specific demographic, organization, or cause. Climate action team examples include neighborhood groups, student clubs, faith communities, educators, municipal leaders, native communities, farmers, and business owners/non-profits. A climate action team leader will bring together individuals interested in working towards a common solution and that can attend the convening as a group. For more information, please contact

Support Local Solutions
As a business, organization or non-profit you may be able to offer support for a local and specific solution for your community. For more information, please contact

Resource Fair Tables
A Resource Fair will be held in each community, during the half hour leading up to the public convening. Resource Fair tables will feature local resources that are aimed to build community, as well as direct or indirect solutions to climate change. The Resource Fair will accommodate approximately 8-10 tables. For more information, please contact

Volunteer opportunities are available for all twelve-statewide public convenings. For more information, please contact

Naturalist Internships Available

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Summer Naturalist Corps Internships posted!

There are positions at Itasca, Lake Bemidji and Lake Carlos State Parks in NW MN, as well as other locations around the state!

University of Minnesota Insect Collection

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Have You Been to the University of Minnesota Insect Collection Lately?

Would you like to spend some time there?

It's a very cool place!

You will see some amazing things!

And... It's nice and warm in the winter!

WE NEED HELP sorting 2.2 million macro invertebrate specimens that the University of
Minnesota received from the USGS so it can be used for scientific research. You do not need to be an expert at anything to do this. We will train you!

At the rate we are going now, it will take decades to complete. WE NEED VOLUNTEERS
WHO CAN PUT IN SOME TIME ON THIS!!! The U of M Insect Collection is open normal
business hours Monday-Friday.

Let's "Git-R-Done!"

University of Minnesota
Hodson Hall
1980 Folwell Ave
Falcon Heights, MN 55108


Apr 11 Garden Expo 2015

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UMN Extension Crow Wing County Master Gardeners
Ready, Set, Grow! Garden Expo 2015
Saturday, April 11th, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Central Lakes College - Brainerd Campus
501 West College Drive, Brainerd

Cost: $30. The registration fee will include morning / afternoon refreshments
and a boxed lunch. There will be vendors, exhibitors, silent auction and door

This Horticulture Day offers a total of 26 different classes!

Visit for registration details and class offerings.
Classes fill fast so register early.

Your completed registration form must be accompanied with payment.

Space will be limited so register early!

Volunteer Safety Instructors

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Volunteer Safety Instructors (Metro and Central MN, NW, NE, and Southern MN)
Consider becoming a Certified Volunteer Safety Instructor in Firearms, Bowhunter Education, Snowmobile, ATV, or Wildlife Species!

Pass on a love for your sport by teaching youth and adults the ethics and safety you would expect from those you meet in the field. During the instructor training, applicants will learn about policy and procedures, teaching concepts, use of training aids and youth classroom training techniques.

Check current certified volunteer instructor classes or sign up for our instructor e-mail list to receive notification of any additional instructor training sessions.
All new instructor applicants and instructors seeking recertification must meet the requirements of being at least 18 years old and passing a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) background check. All applicants for any of the DNR safety programs must also complete the forms online and attend a volunteer instructor training course. There is no fee to attend.

If you are interested in becoming a DNR Certified Volunteer Safety Instructor, the process begins online: Get started now! And check out upcoming safety instructor courses.

Zebra Mussel Monitoring Program

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Zebra Mussel Monitoring Program (NE, NW, Southern, Metro area and Central MN)
Zebra mussels are spreading to lakes and rivers in the Midwest. These small invasive mussels attach to hard surfaces in lakes and rivers killing native mussels, limiting recreational activities, clogging water supply pipes, and competing with larval fish for food. You can provide important help tracking their distribution in Minnesota by spending a few minutes monitoring the lake or river where you live without any specialized equipment. Early detection for zebra mussels is important in protecting your property and Minnesota's water resources.

Learn more on how you can monitor for zebra mussels.

Volunteer LoonWatcher Survey

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Volunteer LoonWatcher Survey (NE, NW, Southern, Metro area and Central MN)
Volunteers that live on lakes or regularly visit lakes can participate in the Minnesota Volunteer LoonWatcher Survey as a volunteer "loon watcher". Loon watchers report on their lake at the end of the season providing information on nesting success, number of loons observed, interesting occurrences and problems that may negatively affect the loons. Anyone with an interest in loons can join this program and choose a lake to report on. Some volunteers have been in this program for many years.

For more information about the Minnesota Volunteer Loon Survey contact Kevin Woizeschke at or 218-833-8729.

Lake Level Minnesota Volunteering

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Lake Level Minnesota volunteering...
doing your level best! (NE, NW, Southern, Metro area and Central MN)
Whether it is floods, droughts, or just a normal year, lake level fluctuations (or the lack of them) are important to document. Lake levels are recorded on a regular basis, thanks to the efforts of volunteer observers. These volunteers are joining with the Minnesota Department of natural Resources to create permanent, credible, public lake level records.

Find out more about the Lake Level Minnesota program and Check lake levels with the LakeFinder

Adopt-a-River Program

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Adopt-a-River Program (NE, NW, Southern, Metro area and Central MN)
The Adopt-a-River program encourages Minnesota volunteers to "adopt" a section of a lake, river, wetland, ditch or ravine to ensure its long-term health through annual cleanups. Get involved!

State Natural Areas Assistance

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State Natural Areas Assistance (Metro and Central MN, NW, NE, and Southern MN)
State scientific and natural areas (SNA) are the premier state lands displaying examples of native prairies, old growth forests, geological features and habitat for rare and endangered species. The state natural areas program needs volunteers to work on projects at natural areas throughout the state. Projects are typically carried out on Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, unless otherwise noted, many weekends throughout the year. Activities include prairie and woodland seed collection, planting seedlings, removal of exotic species, pulling buckthorn, and cutting and burning brush such as sumac.

These activities and other events posted on the SNA Program Events Calendar.

Historic Files Consolidation

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Historic Files Consolidation (Metro Area and Central MN)
Assist with sorting and scanning historical program files into an electronic format. This project will make historic records more accessible to internal staff as well as external stakeholders. The paper files involved may include any of the following: information on various local units of governments' regulations of water bodies, watershed district information, historical information, technical reports, photographs, meeting reports, policy information, or information on specific water bodies.

Volunteers with entry-level computer and typing skills are needed. Training will be provided. This work must be done at the DNR Central Region Headquarters, 1200 Warner Road, Saint Paul, MN 55106, anytime from 9 AM - 3 PM, Monday through Friday. Hours are flexible and any amount of time is acceptable, although preference will be given to those who can commit more time per day or more time overall. For more information contact Lindsey Peterson, Ecological and Water Resources, St Paul, at 651-259-5771 or email

Make 100 Tree Cookies

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Make 100 Tree Cookies (Metro and Central MN, NW, NE, and Southern MN)

Project Learning Tree (PLT) program is a natural resources education program for teachers across Minnesota. PLT needs volunteers to create "tree cookies" as teaching aides for teachers to use with their students. Tree cookies are slices of branches or trunks that show the rings of a tree. They are used to teach children how trees and other woody plants grow, environmental factors affecting tree growth, tree identification, and more. Teachers often don't have the time or capability to make these so volunteer help is greatly appreciated!

Slice the branches or trunk into half-inch thick, wafer-shaped "cookies" that are between three to six inches in diameter. Sand the surfaces until the rings appear. Finish the surfaces with clear varnish. "Interesting" cookies with easily readable rings are preferred (e.g. cookies that show history of disease, disturbance, or other story).

Labeling cookie species and location harvested is optional, but appreciated. This project can be done individually or with a group (scouts, 4-H, FFA, Kiwanis, etc.) You must provide your own tree or woody plant material, saws, sander, oven, varnish, and labor.

Tree Cookies - How to Make Your Own

When finished contact Laura Duffey, Project Learning Tree Coordinator, at 651-259-5263 or email to arrange for delivery to site and to get Minnesota DNR recognition! 100 cookies are enough for about three classes. So the more you can make, the better! They will be used!

Share your Best Shots

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Share Your Best Shots (Metro Area and Central MN, NW MN, NE MN, Southern MN)
Expand your outdoor photography! The DNR Parks and Trails Outreach section is looking for beautiful and scenic photos of Minnesota State Parks and Trails. Volunteers that are willing to share their photos of recreating in a Minnesota state park or trail will help expand the current DNR photo library and provide updated photos for publications, advertisements, the website and social media. Your photos have a chance of making it into print!

Here's all you have to do:
• Take high-resolution (300 dpi) digital images of recreation opportunities in Minnesota State Parks and Trails.
• Upload photos to the DNR photo uploader to share your best shots!

Volunteers must have access to a digital camera that takes high-resolution images, Internet accessibility to upload the photos and be familiar with Minnesota State Parks and Trails. The time commitment for this project would vary depending on how involved the volunteer would like to be. The bulk of the time would be spent traveling to a Minnesota State Park or Trail, taking photos and then uploading them to the DNR public photo site.

For more information, contact Claire Gahler, Communications Project Specialist, Parks and Trails Division, St Paul at 651-259-5647 or email

Geocaching Wrap-up Volunteers Needed

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Geocaching Wrap-up (Metro Area and Central MN)
A Geocaching Avian Adventure Bird Cache (or treasure box of trinkets and collectible Bird Cards) was hidden in every one of Minnesota's 76 state park and recreation areas, as well as on one state trail. Over the last two years, people were challenged to locate the Bird Cache using a hand-held GPS (global positioning system) unit. Now that this geocaching program has ended, Minnesota Parks and Trails would like to evaluate what worked and what didn't, and collect some statistics on participation. This is where you come in!

Volunteers will be going through the geocaching logbooks for all the parks and trails. Specifically, you will be counting the number of entries in the logbook as well as using sticky notes/flags to mark pages with any interesting notes visitors may have entered talking about their visit to the park/trail or their geocaching experience.

There are approximately 200 logbooks to go through. A minimum of 2 hours is desired and up to 6 volunteers may come in to work on this at one time! So grab your friends and come into the DNR Central Office, 500 Lafayette Rd N, St Paul, any day, Monday - Friday, between the hours of 9 AM to 4 PM. To sign up contact Rebecca Oestreich, Parks and Trails Division, at 651-259-5612 or email


Volunteer to be part of the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park Team (Metro Area and Central MN, Southern MN)

The following three volunteer positions work with park staff and are designed to enhance and enrich visitors' experiences at the park.

1. Monitor ski trails and report trail conditions:
Monitoring duties include removing small branches and sticks off the trail and reporting the need for larger branch removal. Volunteers must have their own X-Country skis and be able to ski 4-6 miles of trail.

2. Roving Naturalist - 6 weekends beginning March 27 - May 3:
Volunteer for 2 to 4 hour shifts to assist guests with wildflower identification of MN Dwarf Trout Lily on the boardwalk. Training and scheduling will begin in early March. Volunteers need to be able to walk ½ mile to the trail location and boardwalk.

3. Winter photography:
Photographer needs own digital camera and an understanding of winter photography and basic photo composition.

Background and experience in each area are helpful, however, a love of nature and a willingness to expand your personal knowledge and share that with park guests are the most essential qualifications to being a team player!

For more info on any of these positions contact Elaine Feikema, Park Manager, 9700 170 Street East, Nerstrand, MN 55053 at 507-333-4840 or email

PlayCleanGo Events at Sports Shows: January - March (Metro Area and Central MN, NW MN)

Support the outreach and education campaign "PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species In Your Tracks" by assisting staff in the booth at one or more of the sports shows listed below. Help educate recreationists about invasive species and the simple steps they can take to avoid accidently spreading terrestrial invasive species. By changing at-risk public behavior, the campaign's goal is to protect the state's natural resources.

• March 5 - 8, 2015: Red River Valley Sportsmen's Show, Fargodome, 1800 University Dr. North, Fargo, North Dakota
• March 25 - 29, 2015: Northwestern Sportsmen's Show, Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave. South, Minneapolis

Volunteer Duties at Sports Show Events:
 Read over the talking points shared before the show.
 Arrive for your assigned shift on time. Shifts are 4 - 5.5 hours.
 Restock any of the materials that have run low (supplies will be under the table).
 Pick up and dispose of any trash.
 Be open, accessible and friendly.
 Engage show visitors and talk to them about the importance of stopping the spread of invasive species and action steps folks can take to help protect our natural resources.
 Pass out boot brushes and handouts as needed.
 Answer visitor questions to the best of your ability (as time allows, refer to the reference folder under the table).

Volunteer Qualifications Desired:
Volunteers must have a basic understanding of invasive species prevention and management, and be familiar with at least four or five of the worst terrestrial invasive species. Among them are the emerald ash borer, gypsy moths, common and glossy buckthorn, garlic mustard, spotted knapweed, common tansy, wild parsnip, Japanese beetle, Asian longhorned beetle, and European earthworms. The term "invasive" is reserved for the most aggressive nonnative species capable of changing site or living conditions for the worse where they establish.

Volunteers will receive a free ticket to the show for each day they sign up to help.

Click on the link(s) below to sign up for a 4 to 5.5 hour shift as per the following online Doodle polls:

• Red River Valley Sportsmen's Show, March 5-8, 2015 at the Fargodome in Fargo, ND

• NW Sports Show March 25-29, 2015 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis

Contact Susan Burks, Forestry Invasive Species Program Coordinator, 500 Lafayette Rd, St Paul, MN 55155 at 651-259-5251 or email for more information.

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