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UMC Natural Resources crew earns national award for forest restoration work

CROOKSTON -- The Natural Resources Club at the University of Minnesota-Crookston was presented with the 2018 National USDA Forest Service Volunteers and Service Award for restoration work in the Chippewa National Forest of northern Minnesota. The...

University of Minnesota-Crookston students, faculty, and staff volunteers gather in front of the supervisor's office at at Chippewa National Forest, where 2,500 white pine seedlings were planted this spring. (Photo/ John Loegering, UMC)
University of Minnesota-Crookston students, faculty, and staff volunteers gather in front of the supervisor's office at at Chippewa National Forest, where 2,500 white pine seedlings were planted this spring. (Photo/ John Loegering, UMC)
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CROOKSTON - The Natural Resources Club at the University of Minnesota-Crookston was presented with the 2018 National USDA Forest Service Volunteers and Service Award for restoration work in the Chippewa National Forest of northern Minnesota. The presentation took place on Earth Day 2019 via a virtual presentation by the chief and deputy chief of the Forest Service.

Award winners are volunteers and partners who exemplify the core Forest Service values and have made significant contributions to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands. UMC received one of six national awards selected from the 56 regional volunteer award recipients forwarded to Washington D.C. The service hours performed by the volunteers have been estimated to exceed $500,000.

Under the leadership of Natural Resources Club advisors Phil Baird, associate professor; Laura Bell, Lab Services coordinator; and Tom Feiro, former health and safety coordinator, the Crookston crew has volunteered in Chippewa National Forest since 1983. Baird and Feiro have been involved since the very beginning and Bell for the past 16 years. The crew has planted seedlings in the Deer River and Blackduck, Minn., ranger districts for the past 36 seasons. In 2001, the Crookston crew also began helping with animal damage control by bud capping pine seedlings each fall.

The UMC Natural Resources Club brings 35 to 50 volunteers to the Chippewa for the combined tree planting and bud-capping projects each year. This spring, a group of 15 students and four faculty and staff members planted 2,500 white pine seedlings on the national forest east of Cass Lake, Minn.

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