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Recognizing Volunteer Achievements at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Press Release Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge 1
7076 293rd Ave NW Zimmerman, MN 55398
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 14, 2024
Contact: Jade Pederson, jade_pederson@fws.gov, 763-389-3323 ext. 104

Recognizing volunteer achievements at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge
The volunteers at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge dedicate their knowledge and time to fulfilling the mission of the refuge each year.

To honor their accomplishments, staff and volunteers come together at the Volunteer Banquet. This recognition event gives refuge staff the opportunity to spend an evening thanking the volunteers who help us accomplish so much at the refuge. In 2020 to 2023 our volunteer team accumulated 12,546 hours, the equivalent of nearly six full time staff! Refuge volunteers’ efforts span across every aspect of the refuge.

Even if visitors never speak with a volunteer they still benefit from their service. Stocked kiosks, groomed trails and cleaned restrooms can all be attributed, in part, to volunteers. Over the last four years, volunteers in the Adopt-A-Road program cleaned 203 miles of roads in the spring and fall seasons. Interpretive roving volunteers connected with thousands of visitors on the popular Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive. Nature education volunteers led over 3,800 students in guided outdoor exploration. The Sherburne Photography Club captured spectacular images and judged two Youth Photography Contests. Volunteers also enhanced habitat through the collection of over 60 pounds of seeds from 36 high-value flower species, which is used in restoration projects on the refuge. Wildlife at the refuge was monitored through Eagle Watch, the Christmas Bird Count and early morning crane counts.

Although refuge events looked a little different in 2020 and 2021, from virtual programs to self-led programs, volunteers were crucial in offering events to the public during a time when nature served as an escape for many. Volunteer-led bird, wildflower and sandhill crane tours showcased some of the amazing nature the refuge conserves.

A special recognition is deserved for Carol Mertesdorf, the 2020 to 2023 Volunteer of the Year!
Carol started volunteering in 2011 and has volunteered 860 hours over 12 years. She exemplifies what it means to be a great volunteer through her dedication, reliability, and leadership. Throughout her tenure, Carol has assumed several volunteer roles, yet she truly shines when engaging with people. At various events throughout the year, Carol can be counted on to assist wherever needed and always stays to the end to help clean up. She is invaluable as a nature education lead, where she directs a quiet moment, engages students with a refuge introduction or guides a group of students on trails. Her enthusiasm, attention to detail, easygoing demeanor and organizational skills make her a vital part of our team.

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and is located near the cities of Princeton, Zimmerman, and St. Cloud, in central Minnesota.

For more information, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/sherburne/ or contact us at sherburne@fws.gov or 763-389-3323.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

For more information, visit www.fws.gov and connect with us on social media: Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter), LinkedIn, Flickr, and YouTube.