FARMINGTON, Minn. (May 9, 2007) — Fresh air and beautiful scenery provided the environment for 65 Dakota Electric Association members who volunteered Saturday morning to work in Fort Snelling State Park as part of the eighth annual state-wide Touchstone Energy GreenTouch event.

On May 5, 632 volunteers organized by electric cooperatives worked at 16 Minnesota State Parks armed with rakes, clippers, trash bags and paintbrushes to help prepare the state parks for the spring and summer seasons.

Dakota Electric members pulled garlic mustard, an exotic species that takes over the forest floor and keeps other plants from growing. The group of energetic cooperative members performed nearly 200 hours of service to prepare Fort Snelling for summer hikers, bikers and nature lovers.

“Thanks for letting us share our time in such a beautiful place,” said volunteer Meredith Reimer, Burnsville. “We will definitely be volunteering again next year. We had a great family outing.”

“We had a dedicated group of volunteers who made great progress in clearing infested areas and have helped to improve the park for all who enjoy it,” Mark Cleveland of Fort Snelling State Park said.

The GreenTouch project is a partnership between Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives and the Minnesota State Park system. Electric cooperatives in Minnesota have donated $320,000 over the last eight years to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to help fund the State Park guide and Junior Park Naturalist program. Over that time, GreenTouch has provided 4,630 volunteers who have worked nearly 16,400 hours for the Minnesota State Park system.

Each cooperative that took part in the GreenTouch event recruited members and employees to volunteer at state parks within or near their service area. Dakota Electric volunteers included families and individuals from around Dakota County.

“Dakota Electric would like to thank everyone who helped make this event a success,” Joe Miller of Dakota Electric said. “This annual event provides a way for Dakota Electric and its members to demonstrate their commitment to the local community and the environment.”

A customer-owned, non-profit utility since 1937, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 99,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric is a Touchstone Energy cooperative.

Touchstone Energy is a nation-wide alliance of 640 electric cooperatives in 45 states serving approximately 22 million customers with integrity, accountability, innovation and a longstanding commitment to communities.