Meet our Volunteers
Alfred Bigot, Minneapolis – Precipitation Observer
Pete Boulay, State Climatology Office, St Paul, says, "Alfred began his precipitation readings for the State Climatology Office with the Backyard Rain Gage Network in June 1970. He's been a faithful observer ever since and began collecting data all year long beginning in 1988. He is now 71 years old and a retired pharmacist."
Thank you, Alfred, for your long term dedication as a Precipitation Observer!
Leech Lake Stocking and Sampling Volunteers
Leech Lake has three main groups of people that volunteer assisting DNR Fisheries with stocking and sampling of fish. They are the Leech Lake Association, Leech Lake Advisory Committee, and the Leech Lake Fishing Task Force. Between the three groups around 30 active volunteers assist in the field frequently.
Matt Ward, Large Lake Specialist, Leech Lake, MNDNR Walker Area Fisheries Office, commented, "This past field season (spring, summer, and fall of 2012) they volunteered on 52 occasions on Leech Lake for a total of 256 hours. That is roughly 5 hours per volunteer per day. A few volunteers even put in 10 hour days when we were really short staffed and had to accomplish a lot. More often than not, it was myself and two volunteers completing field work. Based on the total number of volunteer hours, it would have taken two full time interns to make up for what the volunteers did. This obviously saved the state a lot of money in a time in which budgets were very tight."
"These volunteers assisted with walleye fry stocking, seining for young-of-the-year walleye, trawling for young-of-the-year walleye, sampling for zooplankton, and gill netting for adult game fish. The individuals that volunteer not only attend the DNR’s annual winter meeting in which we discuss the data collected and future management goals and objectives, they get their hands dirty and try to understand how we collect the data from which we make decisions. I am thoroughly impressed with the involvement of these individuals and do think they deserve recognition," said Ward.
Thank you, Leech Lake volunteers!
Minnesota 4-Wheel Drive Association Adopt-a-River Cleanup
Approximately 50 volunteers from the Minnesota 4-Wheel Drive Association spent 250 hours in an Adopt-a-River Cleanup activity on the Minnesota River this past October. This represents the seventh time the 4-wheel drive organization has participated in Adopt-a-River cleanups. This most recent effort involved filling ten dumpsters and separate tire piles with over 110,000 pounds of material, including scrap metal and assorted trash retrieved by mechanized equipment belonging to club members. This cleanup was part of a multi-year, on-going effort to restore a flood plain forest in the Belle Plaine State Wayside.
Hopefully this monumental cleanup will inspire others not to dump trash in rivers! Thank you for your efforts!
Jeromey Werle - Great Mississippi River Cleanup
Jeromey has contributed much of his spare time to cleaning an important State Water Trail: the Mississippi River from Saint Paul to Hastings. He has removed old boats, automobiles and hundreds of tires. Over a period of months, he assembles tires at convenient riverbank locations where they are tied together and anchored to trees so they will not float away during high water. Later, arrangements are made to haul them away for recycling. Non-floatable objects, such as abandoned automobiles, are tethered to barrels and floated to the nearest public access.
Paul Nordell, Adopt-a-River Coordinator, says, "Jeromey is a great role model for the Adopt-a-River Program! Thank you, Jeromey!"
City of Robbinsdale Cleanup on Shingle Creek
Over 400 pounds of trash were removed from Shingle Creek by 100 community volunteers from the City of Robbinsdale in their annual Adopt-a-River Cleanup this past spring. This is a multi-year, on-going stewardship project which promotes green spaces within the city. Research has shown that cleaner sites are known to generate lower levels of trash accumulation. Keep up the good work!
Rima Smith-Keprios, Bemidji - Bird Checklists
Rima volunteered over 365 hours for various projects involving GIS and desktop publishing including updating 3 bird checklists for Wildlife Management Areas in NW MN. She updated the taxonomic order, common names, scientific names and species occurrence for 428 birds along with updating pictures, WMA information and other information relevant on the checklists. The bird checklists have recently been posted on the web associated with each of their respective WMA pages for birdwatchers to download.
Bird checklists are also available at each WMA headquarters.
Thank you, Rima!
Conrad Urbik, Rice - Scanning Water Permits
Conrad has been a dedicated DNR volunteer in Sauk Rapids since 2005. During that time he has put in 4,629 hours of volunteer service scanning thousands of pages of permits, lake and land use file information. Having those files available online has saved countless hours of searching through paper files and made the transferring of data readily available.
When asked what motivates him, Conrad’s response is, "DNR has provided so much enjoyment in my life over the years, I just want to give back what I can." Conrad is an avid bird watcher and treats all of his "co-workers" to the many pictures he takes of the birds that come into his feeders near his home on the Mississippi river. Thank you, Conrad!
Jim Oden, Alexandria - Fishing Frenzy Fridays and Login to Lakes
Jim has a passion for the outdoors, especially fishing! He volunteered every Friday this past summer at the Fishing Frenzy Fridays Program held at Lake Carlos State Park. Jim even lead the Fishing Frenzy program twice, when the Naturalist Corps were unable to be there to help out. He would bring bait to share and introduced many parents and children to the world of fishing. Jim worked one on one with them to tie knots, practice casting, baiting hooks, and taking fish off to be released. He also volunteered to help lead a station at Login to Lakes, a large event designed for local sixth grade students to experience a day focused on lakes in Minnesota.
Ben Eckhoff, Park Naturalist, says, "Jim is a proud supporter of MN State Parks and Trails and our goal to get people outdoors and develop an appreciation for our natural resources. Jim has greatly improved our nature programs during the summer and we are happy to have him as a volunteer here at Lake Carlos State Park!"