Meet our Volunteers
Joel Hartman – Mountain Bike Trail Maintenance Leader
Joel Hartman is the Trail Maintenance Director for the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew. This past year he worked closely with the DNR organizing the volunteer efforts put on by the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew addressing trail maintenance needs.
According to Nicholis Statz, Parks and Trails Technician, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, “Joel is a great leader and always willing to work hard and keep the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail system maintained to a world class standard.”
Thank you, Joel, for your leadership!
Sherril Bucholz, Waskish, MN – Nature Store Volunteer
Sherril Bucholz lives near Chicago, IL, but spends time at the family homestead in Waskish during the summer months. While there she is always ready and willing to help at the Visitor Center in the Big Bog State Recreation Area.
“This past summer Sherril volunteered 18 hours in 3 days helping to inventory, tag, hang, fold and organize a very large order of shirts that would have taken our limited staff many days to accomplish!” says Dawn Jensen, Parks and Trails staff worker.
“She is knowledgeable about the area and very enthusiastic about the park, so she was able to help customers with their questions and promote the different aspects of our park while she worked. Our attractive and inviting Nature Store is a reflection of her hard work!”
Thank you, Sherril, for all your help!
Dave Crawford, White Bear Lake – Snake Conservation Volunteer
Dave Crawford is an educator and naturalist. His interest in all things natural includes a great fascination with snakes, particularly Bullsnakes. He is a retired DNR State Park Naturalist who chose to continue "working" with snakes and several volunteers to expand our knowledge of Bullsnakes at a site in east central Minnesota.
Carol Hall, MN County Biological Survey Herpetologist, says, “As a volunteer, Dave coordinates a group of roughly a dozen other volunteers, affectionately referred to as "Snakers". Together, and individually, they conduct searches for Bullsnakes, document individual snakes, and track radio-tagged individuals. Thanks to Dave's dedication and perseverance, this group has greatly expanded our knowledge of the abundance of snakes that occupy this particular sand prairie/savanna site.”
“They have helped identify sites of significance for snake conservation including snake overwintering sites, nesting areas, and travel corridors. In addition, they have tracked snakes moving outside management boundaries and educated landowners about the value of snakes as a member of the sand prairie community.”
This provides only a small glimpse of what Dave Crawford does, together with DNR staff, to increase our understanding of Bullsnake populations in Minnesota.
Thank you, Dave, for sharing your passion and expertise in snakes!
Ed Schotzko - Lake Level Monitoring on Sleepy Eye Lake Brown County
Sleepy Eye Lake in Brown County was named after Dakota Chief Ish-Tak-Ha-Ba, who lived on the “Lake of Many Swans.” His name translated as Sleepy Eyes in English. However, there is nothing sleepy about the lake or Ed Schotzko, one of our long-serving lake level citizen monitors.
Ed says he really likes to be involved in the lake. His wife agrees, “We can't go out to the boat without taking a lake level.” That enthusiasm has meant Ed has provided 884 gauge readings over 27 years for use by lake and watershed residents.
According to Sandy Fecht, Ecological and Water Resources, "The information provided by citizen monitors is used by decision makers and lake users for a better understanding of our water resources and its influences from year-to-year.”
All reported lake levels for 1300 lakes are available for all to view and use on the DNR web site, Lake Finder. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/
Lake levels were one of the criteria used in decision making for making the lake better. Ed reports, “The Lake Improvement Committee worked with the DNR and many partners to reclaim our lake fisheries, in order to make the lake high quality water for all types of recreation. It's so satisfying to see the phenomenal improvement in the lake.”
Ed highlighted that the city, DNR, and Department of Transportation continue to work together on the trail around the lake and shore protection. “We are very proud of what can be accomplished when everyone works together to improve our natural environment.”
We're proud of you, Ed! Thank you for working as a citizen monitor in providing a legacy of lake levels and an improved lake for generations to come!
William Fischer, Graceville, MN – Firearms Safety Instructor
William Fischer is known for going above and beyond to promote the Firearms Safety course to local youth.
“Mr. Fischer volunteers many hours and utilizes his own facilities, to help promote this program. He also hosts a Youth Outdoor Day at his business, Fischer's Outback LLC, in Graceville,” says Conservation Officer, Craig Miska, Ortonville.
Thank you, William, for your leadership and dedication to the Youth Firearms Safety Certification Program!