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Approximately 85 Dakota Electric Association members volunteered their time on May 7 at Whitetail Woods Regional Park in Empire Township as part of the annual, statewide, Touchstone Energy GreenTouch day.

The volunteers of all ages planted nearly 1,000 trees of multiple varieties in the 456-acre park, which opened September 2014. The young trees will eventually provide a forest for animals and nature lovers to enjoy.

“Dakota Electric’s volunteers provided a great service to the park,” natural resource specialist Meghan Manhatton said. “The work they did will live on for decades enhancing the natural beauty of the park for others to enjoy.”

Dakota Electric’s effort to organize volunteers at the park is part of a larger statewide program started by electric cooperatives in 2000. Since its inception, the GreenTouch event has attracted nearly 9,000 volunteers statewide who have completed more than 32,000 volunteer hours benefitting Minnesota parks.

This was the fifth year Dakota Electric rallied volunteers to work in a Dakota County park, and the 15th year overall that Dakota Electric has been organizing its members to volunteer at local parks.

“We had beautiful weather and an enthusiastic group of volunteers,” said Joe Miller, event organizer for Dakota Electric. “This was a great project that people from young to old could enjoy doing together.”

 “We really appreciate all those who helped,” Miller said. “It is nice to see so many people giving their time to give back to their local community.”

To view photos of the event, visit Funding for this project was provided from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature.

Those interested in helping in 2017 can watch for an insert in their bills next March or April. The event is usually held the first Saturday in May.

A member-owned, non-profit utility since 1937, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 104,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, serves its member-owners with integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.