There were 161 press releases posted in the last 24 hours and 391,408 in the last 365 days.

Minnesota DNR volunteers celebrated during National Volunteer Week (published April 22, 2024)

More than 14,400 volunteers helped the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources do everything from monitoring rainfall levels to clearing trails, according to the new 2023 annual DNR volunteer report. The report is being released as part of the celebration of National Volunteer Week (April 21-27) when organizations across the country honor volunteers and recognize the impact of their time and talents.

“Minnesotans are known for their giving spirits and commitment to our natural resources, and Minnesota DNR sees that reflected in the immense contributions of our volunteers each year,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “I can’t overstate how grateful we are for their service and the valuable contributions they make to conservation and outdoor recreation across the state.”

The DNR’s volunteer program is one of the largest among Minnesota state agencies and, according to the report, the estimated value of volunteer services in 2023 totaled $8.3 million. Volunteers help the DNR with a wide variety of activities, including teaching firearms safety, improving wildlife habitat, hosting state park campgrounds, planting trees, tagging fish, assisting at outdoor candlelight hike events, and monitoring precipitation. For the fifth consecutive year, Minnesota led the nation in the number of volunteers recruited for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network to measure and gather data about precipitation across the state.

The DNR established a department-wide volunteer program in 1988. Over the past 35 years, Minnesotans have contributed more than 12.9 million hours of volunteer service to help manage our state’s natural resources. The value of this service is estimated at more than $252 million.

One shining example of a DNR volunteer is Bruce Gravelle. Gravelle recycles candles from the many candlelight events the DNR holds each year by melting down the used candles, then reshaping the wax into new candles to be used again. He provides as many as 1,000 to 1,500 candles each year. If people see a colored ice luminary on DNR managed trails or lands, Gravelle most likely made it. Candlelight events are one of many opportunities made possible by volunteer assistance that enable the public to access unique outdoor recreational experiences on public lands.

Read about some of the DNR’s other outstanding volunteers on the Meet Our Volunteers webpage. To become a volunteer or for more information, visit the volunteer webpage of the DNR website.