DNR seeking volunteers, paid employees

Published 10:13 am Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Nongame Wildlife Program is looking for volunteers to participate in its ongoing Minnesota Frog and Toad Calling Survey. The survey is part of the nationwide North American Amphibian Monitoring Program.

“Without the dedication of generous volunteers, this project would not be possible,” said Rich Baker of the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program. “Many frog and toad species are indicators of habitat quality and provide valuable information on the condition of Minnesota’s wetlands.”

Each volunteer receives a kit that includes a CD of calls by Minnesota’s frog and toad species, a poster of Minnesota’s frogs and toads, and a map of a predefined route in an area of his or her choice. Route availability and past survey results are on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteering/frogtoad_survey/index.html, as are directions on how to run the route. A vehicle is required to travel between stops.

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Participants will conduct nighttime “listening surveys” on three evenings per year between April and July. These 10-stop routes are run after dark, in good weather and in each of the following time periods to capture seasonal variation in calling frog species: April 15 to 30, May 20 to June 5, and June 25 to July 10. Participants will record their information on datasheets provided in their volunteer kit.

Help is needed statewide, but especially in southwestern Minnesota. Those interested should choose a route and call Heidi Cyr, survey volunteer coordinator, at 651-259-5107, or send an email to heidi.cyr@state.mn.us.

With the continued support of Minnesotans who volunteer their time and donate to the Wildlife Checkoff on their state income tax returns, the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program will be able to perform more than 60 surveys and research studies this year that will help keep Minnesota a state rich in wildlife resources.


Youth summer work program

High school youth may apply until April 20 for 1 of 130 positions available with the Conservation Corps Minnesota summer conservation work program.

“Participants can expect to work hard on projects such as trail construction, erosion control, bridge and boardwalk building, and invasive, exotic plant removal,” said Eric Antonson, youth programs director for Conservation Corps Minnesota.

Youth ages 15 to 18 will be based for four weeks at a residential program site in central Minnesota. They will travel in crews led by staff members to various state and federal lands to camp and work on conservation projects. The majority of projects occur in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The outdoor residential nature of the Summer Youth Corps provides a unique opportunity for youth to develop and strengthen leadership skills, work ethic, camping skills, and an understanding and appreciation for the natural environment, Antonson said.

Weekend activities include canoe trips, wilderness hikes and high-adventure challenges. The first four-week session runs June 16 through July 14. The second session runs July 21 through Aug. 17. Participants earn a stipend of $185 per week, with room and board provided.

Applicants should enjoy working and living in a rustic outdoor environment. The Summer Youth Corps, which hires an equal number of males and females, encourages minority youth to apply. Up to 20 deaf and hard-of-hearing youth, who will work with deaf staff and trained sign language interpreters, will also be hired.

To apply, contact Nina Eagin at nina.eagin@conservationcorps.org, or call 651-209-9900.