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Calling for Volunteers: Help Plant the New Ethnobotanical Garden at Voyageurs National Park

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Date: July 25, 2011
Contact: Kathleen Przybylski , (218) 283-6612

You are invited to participate in the Volunteer Rendezvous at Voyageurs National Park, a two-day civic engagement event to help Minnesota's National Park with conservation and maintenance work. Join Voyageurs National Park Association Friday, September 9 and Saturday, September 10, 2011 for this event.

Volunteers will team up with National Park Service staff to plant trees, shrubs, and wildflowers that have cultural and medicinal significance in Ojibwe tradition and are native to Voyageurs' northern ecosystem. These plants will be a part of the Park's newest educational destination, an ethnobotanical garden at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center near International Falls, MN.

The garden features a traditional Ojibwe waaginogaan (a one-family summer home) that will be centrally located within the garden to educate visitors and students of the important relationship the Ojibwe people had with the land of present-day Voyageurs National Park. Volunteers may also help to complete the construction of the waaginogaan by attaching the birch bark covering. The garden is one of the first sights visitors will see when accessing the Visitor Center by the boat marina. A wheelchair-accessible trail winds through the garden; volunteers helped to build this trail at the 2010 Volunteer Rendezvous.

Several species of plants will be featured in the garden, and will serve a secondary purpose of preventing invasive reed canary grass from spreading. Reed canary grass is non-native to Minnesota and outcompetes native wetland species; the Park has been removing invasives and restoring native vegetation to protect the natural resources within Voyageurs National Park.

Join the Fun!

Volunteering is a unique opportunity to experience Minnesota's Voyageurs National Park. Volunteers are invited to explore the Park on a night hike Friday evening and to paddle one of the Park's canoes available after volunteering. The Rendezvous provides a chance to meet others with an equally strong passion for nature and service. Celebrate the group's accomplishments at a special complimentary dinner Saturday night.

Everyone is welcome at the Rendezvous; people of all ages are encouraged to participate. No experience is necessary. Instruction, tools, snacks, and beverages will be provided. Volunteers are responsible for all lodging and meals (except for Saturday's celebration dinner), and encouraged to bring work gloves.

If you are interested in participating but are unable to attend the whole weekend, VNPA invites you to join for one day. Please register by September 1, 2011. Registered volunteers will receive a complete schedule of events prior to the weekend, and a special thank-you gift from the National Park Service for donating time and effort as stewards of Voyageurs National Park.

To register for the event, contact Voyageurs National Park Association (VNPA) at vnpa@voyageurs.org or (612) 333-5424. Visit VNPA online for more information and to download a volunteer registration brochure: wwww.voyageurs.org.

Can't make it this time but want to help?

The next Volunteer Rendezvous will be in fall 2012. Contact VNPA to receive details when they become available. If you would like to support native plant restoration and volunteer programs at Voyageurs National Park, consider making a tax-deductible contribution to Voyageurs National Park Association: donate online at www.voyageurs.org or by mail at 126 N. 3rd St., Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401.

The Volunteer Rendezvous is organized by Voyageurs National Park Association in partnership with Voyageurs National Park.

 

 

Did You Know?

VOYA_frozenlake

Voyageurs National Park is an amazing place to visit in winter, when the surface of the park's lakes will freeze up to two feet thick!