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Working to protect the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities area
Volunteers are the bedrock of many of Friends of the Mississippi River’s programs. Every day, we are delighted at the energy and enthusiasm that people bring to our restoration events, tours and outings, and office projects.
Each year, we work with thousands of volunteers dedicated to making the Mississippi River and its watershed a healthier, more inviting place. Here are some portraits of just a few of these amazing river heroes.
Read a story and get inspired!
Elaine Jervis’s reaction as she was told I would be her photographer and profile-writer triggered fear’s tenacious ice-climb up my socks: she focused her laser-sighted eyes on me and hissed, “Make me look tall.” Since becoming involved with FMR in 1999, she has volunteered at over 40 events.
Academic and shy, Warren Stortroen appears just as one might expect of a retired medical insurance claims manager, the last listed profession on his résumé. Nevertheless, behind his oversize accountant’s glasses, “Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas” ball cap and camera-shyness simmers the identity of a genuine ecological superhero.
Just when you think you have Katie Clayton all nice and stereotyped, she comes in with the left hook. One minute you’re in a deep conversation about pro football; the next, she’s telling you she graduated with a Masters in Soils from the University of Minnesota.
Debbie Jahnke’s many attributes fold out like tools from a Swiss army knife. From one side comes FMR volunteer, ready to remove spotted knapweed at the Sand Coulee Restoration Project or anywhere it might crop up near her Hastings home. Also included is a dedicated seed collector, anxious to learn about any and all plant life and help re-establish it at places like the erosion barriers at Sand Coulee’s pond.
“They think I’m such a great volunteer, but I’m actually just enjoying myself outdoors, it’s my favorite thing to do,” Dorothy “Dot” Drake confides almost conspiratorially. Learn why she’s one of FMR’s greatest assets in the campaign against invasive garlic mustard.
A one-time Junior Naturalist is putting her masters’ degree (and enthusiasm) to work for FMR.
Monique Auge-Bodin loves tending to the Mississippi River gorge — and does it with gusto. She appreciates the accessibility of the work, and the approach of FMR staff.
From first-time advocate to Friends of the Riverfront co-founder, Lisa Hondros’ concern about Nicollet Island development in her neighborhood has launched a new river advocate into long-term action.
Liz Fisher is a dynamo in lining up support for FMR’s marquee event, the Mississippi River Challenge. Last year, Liz was responsible for getting approximately three dozen people, including family, friends, and yes — even strangers, to volunteer at the MRC. She has even bigger plans for this year.
We’ll miss Claire O’Neill, an intern who worked with incredible efficiency and was undaunted by the most physical of river challenges.
Sandee and Dan are lured to water — and they’re also terrific volunteers for FMR’s signature water event.
It all began with research for a class paper -- and now Jennifer Burt is one of our most amazing volunteers!