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Member Stories

River Responsibilities

The Water Trails crew, the crew I serve on, has begun our river work over the last month bringing us to places such as Cambridge to work on the Rum River, Sauk Rapids to work on the Sauk River, to Duluth to undergo our whitewater training on the St. Louis River. I'm especially proud to work on the Water Trails crew because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Minnesota Water Trails. Four rivers, the Minnesota, the St. Croix, the Big Fork and the Little Fork were originally designated as Water Trails in 1963 and over the last fifty years that list has grown to 33 rivers. To celebrate the anniversary, the DNR partnered with Wilderness Inquiry and CURE (Clean Up the River Environment) to host a celebration on the Minnesota River in Granite Falls. Wilderness Inquiry provided large cedar-strip canoes for festival-goers to paddle down about three miles of the river. Every few hundred yards, community members in period garments staged scenes from the river's history on shore while the audience watched from their canoes on the river. Read More

All Corps Day: Schoolyard gardening

May 6th marked Conservation Corps Minnesota’s second All Corps Day community service project. While the previous All Corps Day addressed issues of homelessness and housing, this warm spring afternoon made for an opportunity for corps members of different programs to meet and learn about environmental education, more specifically, local schoolyard gardening. Together members visited Rivers Edge Academy, a local charter school with an alternative, environmentally driven curriculum. Afterwards, corps members heard about the work of Eco Education, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing public outdoor education by teaming up with local schools. The group ended the day at Brooklyn Center High School constructing what will soon be a schoolyard garden. Read More

Why we do prescribed burns

The past couple of weeks have been good burning weather so we have been doing a lot of prescribed burns in the local state parks. We have burned two bluff prairies in Great River State Park in Nodine, MN. This slanted picture of fire running up hill is the actual gradient of the goat prairie, if you stood straight up you would fall over. Walking down the bottom of this prairie was quite the adventure! Read More

Conserving Through Generations: Words from the Past

My search this month for my grandfather in history has been aided by the fact that the original CCC era is extremely well preserved. Minnesota was one of the most active in the federally run program, with 148 camps throughout the state. It changed the lives of not only the almost 80,000 men who were enrolled in the program but also the countless number of military staff members and L.E.M (Local Experienced Men) who participated. Read More

The Weathered Minnesotan

I’m going to talk about the weather. It’s an all-too-frequent conversational topic lately; but don’t kid yourself- you love it. And if you don’t, please look deep down and really consider your Minnesotanhood.Check the state rankings of per capita smartphone weather app downloads- Minnesota tops every list (citation needed). If you’ve got less than three different weather apps on your phone, good luck making any friends here. Read More

Mid-Semester Greetings from North Minneapolis Youth Outdoors

I’m lucky to have such a diverse, hardworking group of young people in our crew, and although we’ve accomplished plenty in terms of restoration work and environmental education, we’ve had a lot of laughs. From talk of “trash robots” to explaining the definition of hormones and getting the youth to try hummus (“it just sounds gross”), Noah and I manage to find a balance between friend/mentor/supervisor. Read More