Project Green Touch, a new state park clean-up program, kicked off Saturday with volunteers from 30 electric cooperatives in various areas of the state working in their area state parks.
Locally, volunteers from three area cooperatives worked in Kathio, Crow Wing and Itasca state parks, painting, brushing, planting trees and sprucing up the parks.
Linda Weimer, member service manager at Mille Lacs Electric in Aitkin, said, "I would classify our day at the park as a tremendous success. We had 20 participants, which was a nice size group to work with. On Saturday, we planted 1,250 trees. The park personnel were amazed at the amount of work that got done."
Crow Wing Power employees and customers cleared brush, cleaned trails and spread wood chips at Crow Wing State Park. Char Kinzer, manager of public relations for the cooperative, said, "It was an enjoyable day at Crow Wing State Park. We had 15 to 20 customers that came from Little Falls and as far north as Fifty Lakes to join in the clean-up project. It's always gratifying to see the dedication and comradeship that's developed in volunteer projects like this. And, to see this kind of activity duplicated with 30 electric cooperatives around the state is impressive. It helps to re-emphasize the meaning of cooperative."
Todd-Wadena Cooperative bused its volunteers to Itasca State Park. "Our day at Itasca was wonderful. About 50 volunteers painted, raked, trimmed and transplanted trees," said Pat Johnson, communications director. "It was a great day for Minnesota's Touchstone Energy co-ops."
Minnesota's Touchstone Energy Cooperatives (a group of 40 electric cooperatives serving more than a million customers) recently signed a three-year contract with the DNR to help support state parks.
Green Touch is the name given to this unique state parks partnership, which promotes the education and use of the state park system. In addition to the volunteer work, the partnership will give the Minnesota DNR funding to enhance the state park guide and the junior park naturalist program.
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