Look! I Made a Thing!

by David Minor, Communications Outreach Specialist/ AmeriCorps Member with MN DNR Scientific and Natural Areas through Conservation Corps’ Individual Placement program

I find it very satisfying when after months of working on a project, I can finally share it!

I started working on a simple photo project last year, documenting two prairie Scientific and Natural Areas that had Prescribed burns take place on them throughout the year: St. Croix Savanna SNA and Lost Valley Prairie SNA. Now I have turned that photo project into various multimedia elements for a page on the Department of Natural Resources website!

January 2019, Lost Valley Prairie SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
April 2019, Lost Valley Prairie SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
May 2019, Lost Valley Prairie SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
June 2019, Lost Valley Prairie SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
July 2019, Lost Valley Prairie SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
September 2019, Lost Valley Prairie SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.

I thought this was going to be a small project.  Maybe just a Facebook post or two. Nope, I was wrong. This project has gone on long enough and gotten big enough that I have now written about it in one, two, three, and now four separate blog posts. I’m glad it kept evolving though. The end product is way better than just a few photos.

I got to have experiences I’ve never had before. Like when I got to go out with a prescribed fire crew to document a burn (check out that sweet photo with me in fire gear featured on the front page of the Conservation Corps website). I was then able to return to each site multiple times throughout the year to gather photos and video, and I got to see how it had changed each time. It went hand-in-hand with my learning experience too. I was learning a lot about Minnesota’s ecology and natural systems everyday for my position (I studied journalism and art, not natural sciences), and getting to see examples of  what I was learning every time I went out in the field was very rewarding. Each time, I understood a little bit more.

April 2019, St. Croix Savanna SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
April 2019, St. Croix Savanna SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
May 2019, St. Croix Savanna SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
July 2019, St. Croix Savanna SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
August 2019, St. Croix Savanna SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
October 2019, St. Croix Savanna SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.
January 2019, St. Croix Savanna SNA. Photo by David Minor/MN DNR.

I’m glad the project changed and expanded. It has provided a valuable experience for me, and it is satisfying to have something to show for it! I feel like this is indicative of my broader Conservation Corps experience. I went in last year not quite knowing what it would be like. I had a few ideas, but those turned out to be only kind of true. It has been much more rewarding than I imagined. Not to mention that it has been great in giving me a lot of content to add to my portfolio!

So, as this project wraps up, I look forward to the other projects I am in the middle of, or just starting, and I get excited about them. What will they become? I have some ideas, but I’m sure they will change and evolve at least a little bit. Either way, I know it will be very rewarding in the end.

Check out the Department of Natural Resources webpage I worked on here.