Volunteering opportunities

Click the following to find a volunteering opportunity in your area:

Metro area and Central MN

Northwestern MN

Northeastern MN

Southern MN


METRO AREA AND CENTRAL MINNESOTA - Winter 2015- 2016

NORTHWESTERN MINNESOTA - Winter 2015- 2016

NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTA - Winter 2015- 2016

SOUTHERN MINNESOTA - Winter 2015- 2016

 


candlelight skiersLuce Line State Trail Candlelight Hike Event – Friday Night, Jan. 1

(Metro and Central MN)

 

Enjoy the winter season as you help with the preparations for the Luce Line State Trail Candlelight Hike event, Friday January 1, 2016. The event will begin at the Vicksburg Lane Parking area/ trailhead in Plymouth.

 

Shifts will start at 3 PM and continue throughout the evening until 9 PM. Any length of volunteer time is appreciated. Volunteer for the entire evening or just a part of it. Training will be provided.

 

Request your preferred task and time from these volunteer opportunities:

  • Set out candles on the trail and light them
  • Hike the trails throughout the event to relight them
  • Serve refreshments
  • Oversee a bonfire
  • Pick up the candles again at the end of the evening
  • Help with general cleanup

 

You must be comfortable working in the outdoor environment, physically able to walk over uneven ground and wear warm winter clothing as needed. Bring a backpack for carrying candle materials if you want to help directly on the trail.

 

This would be a great group activity as upwards of 10 volunteers are needed for this event. Older kids are welcome to volunteer with parents – families will work together.

 

For more information contact Jess Althoff, Assistant Area Supervisor, Luce Line Trail, St. Paul, MN at 651-259-5774 or email jess.althoff@state.mn.us

 

 

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candlelight skiersRice Lake State Park Candlelight Ski/Hike/Snowshoe Event – Jan. 23

(Southern MN)

 

Enjoy the crisp winter weather by taking part in the preparations for the Rice Lake State Park Candlelight Ski, Hike and Snowshoe Event on Saturday January 23, 2016

 

Volunteer Duties: Up to 10 volunteers will set out candles, light them, hike/ski the trail relighting candles and pick them back up at the end of the evening.

 

  • Set up time and lighting of candles is from about 15 PM
  • Maintaining the candles is from 5 – 8 PM
  • Tear down will be from 8- 9 PM.

Volunteer for the entire evening or just one of these times. Please request your preferred task and time. Any length of shift is appreciated. Training will be provided. Older kids are welcome to volunteer with parents – families will work together.

 

You must be comfortable working in the outdoor environment, physically able and dress for cold weather. If available, bring a backpack to make it easier to carry candle materials.

 

For more information contact Sandi Gatlin, Park Technician, at 507-455-5871 or email sandi.gatlin@state.mn.us

 

Rice Lake State Park is located at 8485 Rose Street, Owatonna, MN 55060, just 7 miles east of Owatonna. From Hwy 35, take exit 42A. Follow the signs to Rose Street. Go east on Rose Street to the park.

 

 

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candle in a jarCandlelight Ski/Snowshoe Event at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park – February 6

(Metro Area and Central MN, Southern MN)

 

Join us in creating a magical night of cross country skiing or snowshoeing (or walking, if there is no snow) on trails lit by the warm glow of luminaries!

 

Volunteer to assist with:

  • setting out luminaries along 5 kilometers of ski trails
  • lighting the candles
  • picking them up at the end of the evening

Help is needed on Saturday, February 6, 2016, between the hours of 4:30 - 9:30 PM. Up to 15 volunteers are needed for this event. This would be a great group activity! The event itself runs from 5:30 – 8:30 PM. Snowshoes are available to rent.

 

Volunteers need to be comfortable in dark, forested situations and physically able to work 2 – 3 hours outside in the cold weather. Listen for the barred owl at dusk and other winter night sounds. Hot beverages will warm your fingers and toes when you return to the Visitor Center!

 

For more information, contact Elaine Feikema, Park Manager, 9700 170 Street East, Nerstrand, MN 55053 at 507-333-4840 or email elaine.feikema@state.mn.us

 

Directions to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park: Take I-35 to State Highway 19 east into Northfield. Go south on State Highway 3, east on State Highway 246, then turn right onto County Road 29.

 

 

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cross country skiersBe part of the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park Team

(Metro Area and Central MN, Southern MN)

 

The following three volunteer positions work with park staff and are designed to enhance and enrich visitors' experiences at the park:

 

1. Monitor ski trails and report trail conditions:

  • remove small branches and sticks off the trail
  • report the need for any larger branch removal
  • must have your own X-Country skis
  • be able to ski 4-6 miles of trail

 

2. Roving Naturalist – 6 weekends beginning April 9 – May 15:

  • help guests with wildflower identification of MN Dwarf Trout Lily on the boardwalk
  • need to be able to walk ½ mile to the trail location and boardwalk
  • 2 to 4 hour shifts available
  • training and scheduling will be held April 2

 

3. Winter photography:

  • need your own digital camera
  • an understanding of winter photography and basic photo composition

Background and experience in each area are helpful, however, a love of nature and a willingness to expand your personal knowledge and share that with park guests are the most essential qualifications to being a team player!

 

For more info on any of these positions contact Elaine Feikema, Park Manager, 9700 170 Street East, Nerstrand, MN 55053 at 507-333-4840 or email elaine.feikema@state.mn.us

 

Directions to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park: Take I-35 to State Highway 19 east into Northfield. Go south on State Highway 3, east on State Highway 246, then turn right onto County Road 29.

 

 

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snowshoeingSplit Rock Lighthouse Candlelight Snowshoe & Hike Event - February 6

(Northeastern MN)

 

Enjoy the beautiful winter scenery at the annual candlelight snowshoe and hike event at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park in Two Harbors on Saturday, February 6, 2016.

 

Put on your snowshoes or boots and trek along the shoreline to listen to the waves crash; or head into the woods and see the snow sparkle in the candlelight. Refreshments will be provided at the Trail Center, where visitors can warm up around a fire, roast marshmallows or enjoy a hot drink.

 

Experience the park in a unique outdoors setting that is not usually available on trails at night!

 

Join in the fun and contact us to sign up for one of these exciting volunteer opportunities:

 

Candle Engineer:

  • Meet at the Trail Center at 3:45 PM for instructions and supplies. Set up last about two hours.
  • Set out and light luminaries (these are candles placed in cups or bags along the trail).
  • You need the ability to travel over a variety of terrain in snowshoes or winter boots and are comfortable working in winter conditions for a period of time.
  • Volunteer abilities will be matched and older children are welcome to team up with their friends and a parent.
  • Several teams of engineers are needed to complete this task.
  • Headlamps are essential if you sign up for the pick-up activity starting at 8 PM

 

Fire Tender (adults only): 

  • Armed with extra candles and lighters, you keep the luminaries glowing along the trails throughout the event.
  • Bring a backpack to carry supplies and a headlamp.
  • Majority of the trails will require snowshoes or winter boots to assist.
  • Additional volunteers are needed to tend two bonfires.
  • Clean up lasts about an hour.

 

All volunteers must be physically able to travel over challenging terrain and comfortable working in cold conditions. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Bring snowshoes, backpack or sled if helping set up or take down the trails. Don't forget your headlamp!

 

Volunteer for the entire evening or for a minimum time commitment of 2 hours. Please request your preferred task and time between 4 – 9 PM.  Training will be provided.  This would be a great group activity as upwards of 10 - 15 volunteers are needed!  Help us make it magical!

 

Note: This event may be canceled or changed at the last minute due to poor weather or wind conditions on the day of the event. Sign-up allows us to contact you about changes.

 

For more information and to sign up, contact Luann Udenberg, Parks Specialist,Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, 3755 Hwy 61, Two Harbors MN 55616 at 218-595-7625 or email luann.udenberg@state.mn.us

 

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is located at 3755 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd, Two Harbors, MN 55616, about 20 miles northeast of Two Harbors on MN Hwy 61.

 

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candlelight skiersGooseberry Falls Candlelight Ski, Snowshoe, Hiking Event - February 20

(Northeastern MN)

 

Help create an amazing winter memory at Gooseberry Falls State Park's Annual Candlelight Event, Saturday February 20, 2016 near Two Harbors.  Candlelight guides visitors on several miles of ski, snowshoe and hiking trails. A bonfire and hot beverages await visitors afterwards.

 

Meet at the Visitor Center at 3:45 PM for instructions and supplies to volunteer to help. Set-up lasts about two hours.

 

Bring something to share at the Volunteer Potluck (after set-up), then go with your family or friends to enjoy the trails or sit by the fire in the Visitor Center.

 

All volunteers must be physically able to travel over challenging terrain and comfortable working in cold conditions. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Bring skis or snowshoes, backpack or sled if helping set up or take down the trails. Don't forget your headlamp! 

 

Volunteer for the entire evening or for a minimum time commitment of 2 hours. Please request your preferred task/time.  Training will be provided.  This would be a great group activity as upwards of 30-40 volunteers are needed for this event!  The more, the merrier!!!  Help us make this event amazing!

 

Join in the fun and contact us to sign up for one of these exciting volunteer opportunities:

 

Candle Engineer:

  • Set out and light luminaries (these are candles placed in cups or bags along the trail).
  • You need the ability to travel over a variety of terrain in skis, snowshoes or winter boots and are comfortable working in winter conditions for a period of time.
  • Volunteer abilities will be matched and older children are welcome to team up with their friends and a parent.
  • Several teams of engineers are needed to complete this task.

 

Luminary Designer:

  • Create several unique luminary (candlelight) displays to surprise and delight skiers, hikers or snowshoers.
  • You will need to travel by skis or snowshoes to the designated locations.
  • You must be comfortable working in winter conditions.
  • Sign up is required for this SPECIAL volunteer experience.
  • Each team must include one adult volunteer.

 

Fire Tender (adults only): 

  • Armed with extra candles and lighters, you keep the luminaries glowing along the trails throughout the event.
  • Bring a backpack to carry supplies and a headlamp.
  • Majority of the trails will require skis or snowshoes to assist.
  • Additional volunteers are needed to tend the bonfire.

 

Maintenance Maverick:

  • Extinguish and remove trail and display luminaries after the event.
  • Work in teams to assist with clean up either on the trails or at the bonfire.
  • Majority of the trails will require skis or snowshoes to assist.
  • Headlamps are essential for this activity.
  • Meet at the Visitor Center at 8 pm for instructions. Clean up lasts about an hour.

 

This event may be canceled or changed at the last minute due to poor weather or wind conditions on the day of the event. Sign-up allows us to contact you about changes.

 

For more information and to sign up, contact Guy Lunz, Assistant Park Manager, Gooseberry Falls State Park, 3206 Hwy 61, Two Harbors MN 55616 at 218-595-7107 or email guy.lunz@state.mn.us

 

 

 

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making cookiesMake 100 Tree Cookies

(Metro and Central MN, NW, NE, and Southern MN)

 

Help classroom teachers across Minnesota teach children how trees and other woody plants grow, factors that affect tree growth, tree identification, and more. You can volunteer to create "tree cookies" which are slices of branches or trunks that show the rings of a tree. 100 cookies are enough for about three classes of students, so the more you can make, the better. They will be used!

 

How to Make Tree Cookies:

  • Slice the branches or trunk into half-inch thick, wafer-shaped "cookies" that are between three to six inches in diameter.
  • "Interesting" cookies with easily readable rings are preferred (these show a history of disease, disturbance, or other story.)
  • Dry the cookies correctly. Do not skip this step or your cookies will rot. See detailed instructions.
  • Sand the surfaces until the rings appear.
  • Finish the surfaces with clear varnish.
  • Optional - Label the cookie with the tree species and location cut.
  • Don't use wood from ash trees.

 

Detailed instructions found in Tree Cookies - How to Make Your Own This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

 

This project can be done individually or with a group (scouts, 4-H, FFA, Kiwanis, etc.) You must provide your own tree or woody plant material, saws, sander, oven, varnish, and labor.

 

When finished contact Laura Duffey, Project Learning Tree Coordinator, at 651-259-5263 or email laura.duffey@state.mn.us to arrange for delivery to a school site and to get Minnesota DNR recognition.

 

Project Learning Tree (PLT) program is a natural resources education program for teachers across Minnesota. Teachers often don't have the time or capability to make these cookies so your help is greatly appreciated.

 

 

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sna brush burningGet Physical on a State Natural Area

(Metro and Central MN, NW, NE, and Southern MN)

 

As part of a typical volunteer workday on a MN Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) you will:

  • collect prairie and woodland seeds
  • plant seedlings
  • pull buckthorn or other invasive species of plants
  • cut and burn brush such as sumac

 

Projects are typically carried out on Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, unless otherwise noted, on many weekends throughout the year.

 

SNAs are the premier state lands displaying examples of native prairies, old growth forests, geological features and habitat for rare and endangered species.

 

Volunteer activities and other events are posted on the SNA Program Events Calendar.

 

 

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minnesota master naturalist logoBe a Master Naturalist

(Metro and Central MN, NW, NE, and Southern MN)

 

If you enjoy learning about nature, hiking, birdwatching, or identifying wildflowers, you'll love being a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer!

 

Take trainings and learn about Minnesota's biomes (plant and animal communities) including:

  • hardwoods and rivers
  • north woods and Great Lakes
  • prairies

 

To learn more visit www.MinnesotaMasterNaturalist.org .

 

The Minnesota Master Naturalist Program is a joint effort of the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

 

 

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volunteersAdopt-a-River Program

(NE, NW, Southern, Metro area and Central MN)

 

"Adopt" a section of a lake, river, wetland, ditch or ravine by doing an annual clean-up. Get involved!

 

 

 

 

 

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lake level mnLake Level Minnesota volunteering… doing your level best!

(NE, NW, Southern, Metro area and Central MN)

 

Whether it is floods, droughts, or just a normal year, lake level fluctuations (or the lack of them) are important to document. Be a volunteer observer and record lake levels on a regular basis.

 

Find out more about the Lake Level Minnesota program and Check lake levels with the LakeFinder

 

 

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loonVolunteer LoonWatcher Survey

(NE, NW, Southern, Metro area and Central MN)

 

If you live on a lake or regularly visit a lake, and you have an interest in loons, you can be a volunteer "loon watcher" in the Minnesota Volunteer LoonWatcher Survey.

 

As a Loon Watcher you will record:

  • the number of loons you see
  • nesting success observed in eggs and young birds
  • interesting occurrences and
  • problems that may harm the loons.

 

For more information about the Minnesota Volunteer LoonWatcher Survey contact Kevin Woizeschke at Kevin.Woizeschke@state.mn.us or 218-833-8729.

 

 

 

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zebra musselsZebra Mussel Monitoring Program

(NE, NW, Southern, Metro area and Central MN)

 

Zebra mussels are spreading to lakes and rivers in the Midwest.

 

These small invasive mussels attach to hard surfaces in lakes and rivers doing major damage such as:

  • killing native mussels
  • limiting recreational activities
  • clogging water supply pipes
  • competing with larval fish for food

 

Spend a few minutes checking the docks, swimming platforms, boats, motors, anchors, and any hard objects that have been in the lake or river where you live. Early detection for zebra mussels is important in protecting your property and Minnesota's water resources.

 

Learn more on how you can monitor for zebra mussels.

 

 

 

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atv patchVolunteer Safety Instructors

(Metro and Central MN, NW, NE, and Southern MN)

 

Consider becoming a Certified Volunteer Safety Instructor in Firearms, Bowhunter Education, Snowmobile, ATV, or Wildlife Species!

 

Pass on a love for your sport by teaching youth and adults the ethics and safety you would expect from those you meet in the field.

 

During the instructor training, applicants will learn about:

  • policy and procedures
  • teaching concepts
  • use of training aids
  • youth classroom training techniques

 

Check current certified volunteer instructor classes or sign up for our instructor e-mail list to receive notification of any additional instructor training sessions.

 

All new instructor applicants and instructors seeking recertification must meet the requirements of being at least 18 years old and passing a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) background check. All applicants for any of the DNR safety programs must also complete the forms online and attend a volunteer instructor training course. There is no fee to attend.

 

If you are interested in becoming a DNR Certified Volunteer Safety Instructor, the process begins online: Get started now! And check out upcoming safety instructor courses.

 

 

 

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campground hostsCampground Host at a MN State Park IN 2016

(Metro and Central MN, NW, NE, and Southern MN)

 

If you enjoy the great outdoors, scenic vistas, and the company of other campers, then consider volunteering to be a "live in" host for at least 4 weeks (one month) during the period of April to October at a Minnesota State Park operated campground.

 

A host’s primary responsibility is to assist campers by:

  • answering questions
  • explaining campground
  • performing light maintenance work around the campground
  • picking up litter
  • sweeping and stocking supplies in toilet buildings
  • making emergency minor repairs when possible.
     

 

Hosts may be requested to assist in the naturalist program by posting and distributing schedules, publicizing programs or helping with programs. Volunteers will set an example by being model campers, practicing good housekeeping at all times in and around the host site, and by observing all rules.

 

Check the list of Minnesota State Parks looking for Campground Hosts for 2016.

 

Campground Host volunteers generally work independently. Volunteers are accountable to the park manager who will provide training and orientation for hosts and assist hosts throughout the season with any question or problems that may arise. Length of period, workdays and hours are established with the campground manager, but will generally include all weekends and holidays. Avid campers or RV’ers are encouraged to apply!

 

Read more about the Campground Host Program. This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.  Email your questions to campground.host@state.mn.us  or call 888- MINNDNR (888-646-6367) or in the Metro area call 651-259-5607.

 

Campground Hosts will be selected from applications that have been satisfactorily completed and submitted in a timely manner.  Interviews will be conducted by the campground manager.  The number of consecutive years that a host may serve may be limited to allow others an opportunity. These limitations are at the discretion of the campground manager. All DNR volunteers must undergo a background check.  This is done at the time of selection.  This also applies to hosts returning from the previous season.

 

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