Volunteering - special programs

Meet our Volunteers

Volunteers for the DNR

Spring 2017

Tom and Amanda Dosen-Windorski
Teamwork makes the banding and recording process go smoothly.

A woodcock hen banded.

Tom and Amanda
Photo taken just moments before Tom was wheeled down to surgery. Amanda followed 20 minutes later.

Woodcock Banders – Tom and Amanda Dosen-Windorski, Grand Rapids

Tom and Amanda Dosen-Windorski are truly dedicated woodcock banders. Working with their pointing dog, Duke, Amanda writes the following story about their adventures while on their way for a kidney transplant:

These pictures were taken on Mother's Day 2016. We left our daughters at home and made a quick side trip to check on a nest we had been monitoring. We were lucky enough to capture and band Momma woodcock.

Unfortunately (but very fortunately) we were on our way to Mayo in Rochester. Monday was a day full of appointments in preparation for Tom to give me one of his kidneys on Tuesday. Despite having approximately 6% renal function, banding woodcock is something we enjoy doing together. We knew this may be our only chance as we would need to lay low and recover.

Tom was back in the woods with our English setter, Duke, within a few weeks - all be it walking a bit slower. I'm doing well as my labs are all normal.

I look forward to getting out again in search of the 2017 spring birds with Tom and Duke and someday with our new puppy, Tru. We do this as a gift to celebrate our true devotion to each other and our commitment to helping preserve and renew our great natural legacy for our children and generations to come.”

Thank you, Tom and Amanda, for your service!

SNA Volunteer Site Steward - Angela Shogren

A ShogrenAngela Shogren, Minnesota Master Naturalist, photographer and Volunteer Site Steward at Iron Springs Bog Scientific and Natural Area (SNA), is featured in a Common Grounds episode broadcast on Lakeland Public TV sponsored by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Her story is the first half of the video below (15 minutes.)

Join Angela as she explores Iron Springs Bog SNA near Itasca State Park photographing flora & fauna, including rare orchids, some the size of a toothpick!

Volunteer Site Stewards are the eyes and ears to the DNR for Scientific and Natural Areas. Stewards work with DNR staff to protect, manage, educate and do research on the SNA site they choose to monitor. Find out more about becoming an SNA Site Steward.


Linda Engstrom
Linda Engstrom operating an apple press at the Minneopa State Park Harvest Fest.

Friends of Minneopa State Park President – Linda Engstrom

As President of the Friends of Minneopa State Park, Linda Engstrom led efforts to remove buckthorn in the Group Campground Area. She coordinated three public events this past year and also worked on her own.

In addition to buckthorn removal, Linda helped coordinate five special events at the state park and a special visioning session for the Friends group. She also served as a Bison Ambassador to talk with visitors about the MN Conservation Bison Herd living in the park.

Thank you, Linda, for sharing your passion for Minneopa State Park!

Habitat Improvement Volunteers – MN Sharp-tailed Grouse Society


Twenty-one sharp-tailed grouse and brush land habitat enthusiasts worked on Saturday, March 25 at the Sax & Fermoy Wildlife Management Areas in St. Louis County of Northeastern Minnesota, improving 32.2 acres by hand cutting trees from critical brush land habitat in the well-known Sax-Zim Bog, an Audubon Important Birding Area.

Volunteers from the MN Sharp-tailed Grouse Society  (MSGS) crew included ten students from Brainerd Central Lakes College and Vermillion Community College.

John and Dave
L to R – John Gislason and Dave Dickey are wise seasoned volunteers – they remembered to bring chairs for lunch time!

The most tenacious volunteer was long time MSGS member, John Gislason, who in his late seventies has never missed a Northeast MN Brush Cut yet since they began in 1993 - truly an inspiration!

Volunteer Impact:
At an average of $90/acre for mowing trees down, the volunteers’ work on 32.2 acres is valued at nearly $2,900. Their labor will also serve as match for an expedited Conservation Partnership Legacy  grant they’ve secured for habitat enhancement on wildlife management areas, thus enhancing even more habitat!

Thank you Minnesota Sharp-tailed Grouse Society for volunteering with us!

What do DNR Volunteers do?

Download the 2016 DNR Volunteer Annual Report (PDF) for a listing of all the different kinds of projects volunteers do throughout the state.

How does Minnesota rank for volunteering?

Source: Corporation for National and Community Service

Want to Volunteer with Us?

Current volunteer opportunities now open for this season »