Minnesota Master Naturalists Gather on the Prairie

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There really isn’t anything better than to spend a week engrossed with like minded “Prairie & Pothole” enthusiasts.  June 13 – 17 just over 20 people from places like Rochester, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Brookings, Sioux Falls and points inbetween came to Lac qui Parle State Park for the Minnesota Master Naturalist (MMN) Prairies and Potholes Biome Volunteer week long training.

The week was led by instructors Kylene Olson (Watson) and Peg Furshong (Sacred Heart) with the support of Amy Rager (Montevideo), Director of the Minnesota Master Naturalists program.

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Minnesota has three primary biomes (ecological regions) and the training is generally offered over eleven weeks with two weekend field trips. This training was an immersion of five full days with evening activities.  Participants learned about all aspects of the prairie from mammals to birds, insects to reptiles as well as various plants, geology,soils etc.

Special presenters included Terri Dinesen and Christine Kleven from Lac qui Parle State Park, Joseph Hauger who presented on geology, Luwaina Al-Otaibi from the Chippewa River Watershed Project,  Amy Rager from the University of Minnesota Extension Office and Master Naturalist Program and Duane Ninneman from CURE.

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In addition to a trip to the Chippewa Prairie, the group attended the Hives Alive Tour at Moonstone Farm and a visit to an archeological dig in Chippewa County.