Did you know this week was National Volunteer week (April 15-21?) If you didn’t volunteer for anything last week it doesn’t matter, there are plenty of weeks in the year and opportunities to volunteer.

Thousands Volunteer with the DNR

Nearly 23,000 citizens donated services valued at $7.4 million during 2017 to assist the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in accomplishing its conservation mission through a variety of projects and programs, according to the new 2017 Annual DNR Volunteer Report recently released. That’s the equivalent of an extra 135 full-time staff.  DNR managers, professionals and technicians work alongside volunteers to help manage the state’s diverse natural resources. Many DNR projects would not be possible without volunteers, especially those in citizen science that help with research.

Check out this website.

Here’s some opportunities from the MN DNR-
Turtle Crossings and Surveys

Why did the turtle cross the road?  Find out!

Turtle crossings usually occur from May through September each year.  The most important period to watch is in June when turtles cross roads to get to nesting areas.

Volunteer to monitor roads and bridges for turtles crossing or for dead turtles on the road near the Cloquet River and tributaries by Rollins, MN and the St. Louis River area around Hwy 53, both in St. Louis County.  The exact location can be determined based on your interest.  If it is safe to do so, you can also assist turtles across the road.

Informal turtle surveys are also needed to determine what types of turtles are using the Kettle River in Carlton and Pine Counties.  Canoe or boat the river or walk along the shore on a warm sunny day from mid-April to mid-June. You can choose a stretch of river that is convenient for you or the DNR can provide the location of priority areas for surveys.

Butterfly Milkweed Planting – May 17

Hike and plant thousands of butterfly milkweed seedlings in the prairie and savanna at Rice Area Sportsmen’s Club Wildlife Management Area , 73rd St and 250th Ave, Royalton, MN on Thursday, May 17 from 11 AM – 5 PM.  Snacks and lunch provided.  Open to all ages, but children must be supervised.

Help re-introduce this important host-plant to the site for Monarch butterflies to use to reproduce and pollinate. They and other pollinators find the beautiful orange blossoms delicious!

Woodpecker Surveys

Woodpeckers hammer holes in trees to reach insects that live beneath bark and within wood. Left alone, many of those insects could damage trees. Some­times people blame woodpeckers for hurting trees, but this insect-eating can actually help keep trees healthy.

Help the DNR develop best management practices for conserving woodpeckers on lands by conducting surveys anywhere in the state where there are large blocks of forested public lands.

As a Volunteer Woodpecker Surveyor, you will:

Walk 2-mile transects in the forest looking and listening for nesting woodpeckers between May 22 and July 6, 2018 (minimum 1 day, maximum of 45 days)
Collect nest site data
Collect forest stand information (identify main tree species, measure some average and large tree diameters)

Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program: June 29-July 9

Volunteers across the state are needed to track Minnesota’s loon population.  Now celebrating its 25th year, the Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program will assign you to a pre-selected lake to count the number of loons you see on one morning between Friday, June 29th and Monday, July 9th, 2018. Detailed instructions, training materials, maps, and a data form will be provided.

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