More than 13,000 volunteers helped the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources do everything from monitoring rainfall levels to clearing trails, according to the 2022 annual DNR volunteer report.
“Minnesotans benefit in countless ways because of DNR’s thousands of volunteers,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “I am so grateful they give their time in service to our natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities.”
According to the report, the estimated value of volunteer services in 2022 totaled $6.3 million. The annual report is out just in time for National Volunteer Week, when organizations across the country honor volunteers and recognize the impact of their time and talents.
What do DNR volunteers do?
Volunteers help the DNR with a wide variety of activities, including teaching firearms safety, improving wildlife habitat, hosting a state park or forest campground, planting trees, tagging fish, and monitoring rainfall levels.
Dave and Sabra Horn are volunteer campground hosts at Sand Dunes State Forest campground. Their host duties include checking guests in, cleaning fire rings, picking up trash, being the eyes and ears for the campground and helping with anything asked of them.
An example of the Horn’s willingness to help was a day recycling cans hadn’t been picked up in the campground. Working with staff, they were able to clean up the smelly mess. Today they laugh about it and call it a bonding experience. Luckily this type of thing doesn’t happen often, and the Horns much prefer interacting with campers.
The DNR established a department-wide volunteer program in 1988. Over the last 35 years, Minnesotans have contributed more than 12.7 million hours of volunteer service to help manage our state’s natural resources. The value of this service is estimated at more than $244 million. The DNR’s volunteer program is one of the largest among Minnesota state agencies.
To become a volunteer or for more information, visit the volunteer page of the DNR website.