Volunteering - special programs

Meet our Volunteers

Volunteers for the DNR

Fall 2017

Woodworking Volunteers – Denny Ernst, Russ Johnsrud, Ron Norenberg and Tom Stursa, Park Rapids

before and after of sign

L to R: Ron Norenberg, Denny Ersnst, Russ Johnsurd and Tom Stursa standing with repaired sign.

The Park Rapids Forestry and Wildlife offices were fortunate to have willing volunteers put in over 250 hours on a number of projects this past year.  This core group is made up of retired DNR staff Denny Ernst, Ron Norenberg and Tom Stursa, as well as DNR volunteer Russ Johnsrud.

According to Heath Wilson, Division of Wildlife, Park Rapids, “Projects accomplished included repairing a Wildlife Management Area sign that was found in eight pieces shortly after the deer season.   I didn’t think it was going to be salvageable, but the guys proved me wrong and did a great job!”

They also spent time making bird houses along with seed and suet feeders for presentation at local Fire Wardens meetings.  Waterfowl nesting structures and the stands on which to place them were also created by this group.

But the big project this year was the State Fair Tree Cookies. Delivered in rough-cut condition, the volunteers spent many hours sanding and putting a protective coating on each one to bring out its color and texture.  Look for these in the Forestry display inside the State Fair DNR Building! 

Kudos to this dedicated group of highly skilled woodworking volunteers!

Gary Ratham

L to R:  DNR volunteers Denny Ernst and Russ Johnsrud; DNR Forestry State Fair Coordinator, St Paul, Kim Lanahan-Lahti; and volunteer Tom Stursa standing behind the tree cookies finished for use in the DNR Forestry exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair. (Missing is DNR alumni volunteer Ron Norenberg.)

Steve Poole

Annual Parsnip Pull Volunteer – Steve Poole, Eagan

Over the past decade, Steve Poole has dedicated hundreds of hours pulling wild parsnips from the campgrounds and other heavy-use areas of Whitewater State Park.  In 2013, he started an Annual Parsnip Pull event, recruiting volunteers to help pull parsnips for one day each year.  Over the course of Steve's efforts, more than 30,000 wild parsnip plants by root from the park, allowing park visitors, especially children, to have safer and happier outdoor experiences.

Thank you, Steve, for your leadership in helping to eliminate this invasive species!

What do DNR Volunteers do?

Download the 2016 DNR Volunteer Annual Report (PDF) for a listing of all the different kinds of projects volunteers do throughout the state.

Since creating a department-wide DNR Volunteer Program in 1982, citizens have engaged in more than 11 million hours of volunteer service focused on managing our state's natural resources.

How does Minnesota rank for volunteering?

Source: Corporation for National and Community Service

Minnesotans show a passion for volunteering - Fox 9 News, 6/28/17

Want to Volunteer with Us?

Current volunteer opportunities now open for this season »