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Friday, May 20, 2011

Master Naturalist Volunteers win local awards

Three Master Naturalist Volunteers recently were honored as winners of the 2010 Environmental Achievement Awards, sponsored by Olmsted County and Rochester Public Utilities.

Through his volunteer work with Quarry Hill Nature Center, Dave Moehnke has used the monarch butterfly program to help students understand the complexities of ecology. With students, Mr. Moehnke has assisted in monarch larva monitoring research each summer and fall migration studies. Mr. Moehnke has engaged students in real hands-on science, instilling strong science skills and fostering interest in helping researchers as citizen scientists. He was also recognized for his efforts with the Bluebird Recovery trail project.

Ruthann Yaeger has been a lifelong volunteer in many conservation programs in Olmsted County. Organizations that she is active in include Friends of Oxbow Park, Friends of Chester Woods Park, Zumbro Valley Audubon Society, Minnesota Master Naturalists Program, Prairie Smoke Chapter of The Prairie Enthusiasts, and the Olmsted County Parks Commission.

Don Morrison was honored at the same event for his work with the Rochester Volunteer Tree Inventory Team. Don helped spearhead a group of citizens and citizen foresters to assist the Rochester Parks Department in gathering tree data from both public and private lands. Their work will be used to assess the value and vulnerability of the urban forest as well as to develop forest management strategies.

The goal of the Environmental Achievement Awards program is to promote innovative approaches to environmental challenges, encourage environmental thinking in business and farm decision making, and develop an environmental and conservation ethic in Olmsted County. Awards were presented on January 27 at the Rochester Golf and Country Club.

Congratulations Dave, Ruthann, and Don!

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