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 Lindsey.Shartell@state.mn.us
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 Derek.Anderson@state.mn.us
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 Benjamin.Eckhoff@state.mn.us