More than 120 Dakota Electric Association members volunteered their time on May 1 to help work in Fort Snelling State Park as part of the eleventh annual, state-wide, Touchstone Energy GreenTouch day.
Local electric cooperatives around the state of Minnesota helped organize 840 volunteers who worked more than 2,600 hours — armed with rakes, clippers, trash bags and work gloves — to help prepare 15 Minnesota state parks for the spring and summer seasons.
Dakota Electric members collected trash, gathered buckthorn for chipping and pulled garlic mustard, an exotic species that overtakes the forest floor and crowds out other plants. The group of energetic cooperative members performed 390 hours of service to prepare Fort Snelling for summer hikers, bikers and nature lovers.
Mark Cleveland, central region resource specialist for the Department of Natural Resources, presented a plaque to Dakota Electric in appreciation for the electric cooperative’s efforts organizing volunteers over the years.
“We are appreciative of those who came out to help make the park better for everyone who enjoys it,” Cleveland said. Larry Trogen, Apple Valley, and his family have helped nearly every year that Dakota Electric has organized the program.
“It is fun to get out and work with nature,” he said. “It’s nice to help maintain the park and to give a little bit back. It also teaches