March 2010

The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.





Last year, the Minnesota Legislature passed the “Bird Safe” law. What is this law about?

Research has shown that each year large numbers of migrating birds are killed when they crash into windows. Most birds migrate at night and can become disoriented by night lighting in buildings. The “Bird Safe” law pertains to state-owned or state-leased buildings and is designed to help migrating birds avoid collisions with buildings. These buildings must now turn their lights out nightly between midnight and dawn during bird migration periods. Non-state building owners and managers may voluntarily choose to participate as well. 

The spring portion of “lights out” runs from March 15 through May 31.

Lori Naumann – DNR Nongame Wildlife Program




What are the requirements to become a volunteer safety instructor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)? What type of training is required?

The main requirement to become a DNR safety-training instructor is a love of hunting or other outdoor activities, and a desire to teach ethics, responsibility, and important safety considerations. We are always looking for that special someone who wants to give back to the community and share their passion for outdoor activities.

A certified volunteer instructor for DNR Division of Enforcement Safety Training programs must be 18 years of age or older and pass a thorough background check. The typical instructor training session lasts four hours, where new instructors are introduced to policies and training techniques; course outlines for specific programs are also discussed.

Information about specific programs and instructor training opportunities is available on the DNR Web site at, or by calling 800-366-8917.

- Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Division of Enforcement Education coordinator


After a long winter, Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, ditches, ravines, ponds and wetlands are in need of a good cleaning to remove accumulated garbage. Does the Department of Natural Resources have a program where people can volunteer to help clean public waters, and if so, what does it involve?

The DNR’s Adopt-a-River Program helps volunteers organize their own cleanup by providing a free “how-to” kit, bags and gloves, recognition for their effort, and other assistance as needed. An annual cleanup is required, but many people decide to do cleanups several times per year.

Although adopting does not give property rights to those who adopt stretches of a shoreline, it does help develop a sense of responsibility and participation in the welfare of their community and public waters. Since 1989, there have been nearly 2,900 cleanups involving more than 80,000 volunteers. They have removed 5.8 million pounds of rubbish on almost 10,000 miles
of shoreline.

More information about the Adopt-a-River program.

- Paul E. Nordell, DNR Adopt-a-River Program coordinator



DNR Question of the Week Archive