Conservation Minnesota

Volunteer efforts add up

Throughout the year there are organized invasive species removals from Lebanon Hill Regional Park.

Part of my job as the Southeast Metro Community Coordinator with Conservation Minnesota is to work with great organizations and entities to make sure that the Minnesota we all love is protected for future generations. That’s why working with Dakota County Parks on volunteer events is such a natural fit. We partner with them on efforts that help to eradicate invasive species from our natural spaces and to provide opportunities for our members to get more involved in local conservation efforts. Because we are an advocacy organization you might be wondering, “what are you doing in the parks pulling invasive species?” That’s an excellent question and the answer is simple for us; we want to get our hands dirty and experience first-hand what we are working every day to protect.

According to a recent article in the Sun Thisweek, it’s estimated that Dakota County has saved tax payers $900,000 in 2016 alone as a result of their volunteer programs for everything from pulling invasive species to being a Master Recycler/Composter. That’s a big number! The money saved could grow with a little more help and some word of mouth.

Another reason that we are such big fans of the work being done by Dakota County Parks is because they are using voter approved Legacy Amendment funds for some of these projects. We worked with other groups back in 2008 to help pass this amendment to our constitution and we are continuing that work by protecting this money from being used for unintended purposes. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see what the Legacy Amendment is doing for our Great Outdoors and to ensure that all Minnesotan’s have access to nature.

We would love it if you could join us for future events at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in partnership with Dakota County Parks and Wilderness in the City. Please contact me if you’re interested in joining us at the park for the next event and I will keep you in the loop! You can give me a call at (612) 767-1572 or send me an email at

About Avery Hildebrand

Avery Hildebrand

Born in Minnesota, Hildebrand earned his degree in Environmental Science and Management from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. He has an extensive background in canvassing and organizing. An avid fisherman, who once worked as an aquatic invasive species watercraft inspector, his perfect day in Minnesota includes good friends and fishing, which pairs nicely with his favorite place in the state, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

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