Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
The National Wildlife Refuge System is committed to building partnerships which encourage conservation and protection of our natural and cultural resources. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge works with multiple partners throughout the Minnesota River Valley.
Refuge Friends Inc supports the Partner School Program at the Refuge, which provides environmental education and interpretation lessons to students K-5th grade in the metro Area. The Blue Goose Bus Fund provides a free trip to the refuge for schools in need. These schools have over 50% of students needing free/reduced-cost lunch. They visit the refuge 3 times throughout the year, and get to experience and track the changes in nature through the seasons.
Refuge lands gradually increase through a unique partnership with the Minnesota Valley Trust Board. The Minnesota Valley Trust is acquiring new lands, which will be donated to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and managed by Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
Urban Wildlife Conservation Program
Refuge Friends Inc supports the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program in its mission to create a connected conservation community by encouraging that everyone has the opportunity to learn about, discover and enjoy the great outdoors.
The UWCP was launched at MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge in January of 2017. Since then, the program has been developing rapidly. With over 3 million Twin Cities residents, the UWCP has quite the grand audience. In order to create a sustainable conservation network in the Twin Cities, the UWCP is developing partnerships with organizations and community members engaged in urban outreach and environmental conservation.
For a sample of the current UWCP projects at Mn Valley, visit www.refugefriendsinc.org/projects.html
To review the 2017 assessment of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program at MN Valley see this PDF: uwcp_2017_assessment.pdf
Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center
RFI has been working with Wolf Ridge ELC for many years, helping to develop and run the Students Eagerly Acquiring Knowledge, or SEAK, program. In SEAK, students from St. Paul Public High Schools get after-school nature exploration and career readiness opportunities and a window into the world of natural resource management. In addition to after school programming, students get visit the MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the Summer to explore and make nature discoveries. They also spend one week in the Summer up at Wolf Ridge taking in the beauty of the bluffs. Finally, upon completion of the program, they receive a college science credit AND the opportunity at a PAID INTERNSHIP in the Twin Cities at an environmental agency.
The program is in partnership with MN Valley NWR, RFI, and the U.S. Forest Service.
A SEAK student capturing the marvelous sunset at Wolf Ridge
Students harvesting berries up art Wolf Ridge
Dah Nay Htoo in his second year internship at MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge, having a blast canoeing at Fort Snelling
Wilderness Inquiry is a non-profit organization in the Twin Cities that focuses on inclusive outdoor recreation. Wilderness Inquiry has partnered with Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge to provide paddling experiences to low-income youth and families in the Twin Cities. Minnesota Valley stretches for over 70 miles along the Minnesota River, and paddling is a great way to get youth outdoors. A canoe paddle in a 10 person hand-made wooden Voyager canoe is an experience no kid can forget.
RFI and the MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge have partnered with Urban Ventures for years to provide under-served youth with STEM focused enrichment programming. Staff travel with students to various recreation spots near Urban Ventures, including the Midtown Greenway and Powderhorn Park to learn about the nature in their neighborhood. Students also have the opportunity to visit the wildlife refuge at least three times throughout the school year, and once at the end of the summer.
Monarch Butterfly Migration Shanty Artists!
We are honored to have worked with artists from around the Twin Cities to create the magnificent Monarch Butterfly Migration Shanty for the Art Shanty Projects in 2017. The Butterfly Shanty lives on as a vessel for monarch education, and has traveled around the Twin Cities to Emerson Elementary School, Lake Nakomis for the Monarch Festival, and will remain a semi-permanent exhibit at the MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge! Visitors of the Shanty get to experience life in the Oyamel Fir Forests of Mexico where the monarchs make their miraculous migration journey in Fall. The outside of the Shanty reflects the ideal monarch habitat of pollinator plants and LOTS OF NATIVE MILKWEED which we must offer them upon their return to MN in the Spring/Summer! Kids love to color monarch butterflies and add them to the roosting trees :)
This award winning non-profit art organization provides quality art experiences for children and adults through workshops, residencies, summer camps, and festivals. Art Start has partnered with the Refuge to provide on site art in nature experiences for low-income students, and to celebrate EcoArts Fest, an environmental arts festival in the Spring. Their store in St, Paul offers reduced price art materials that have been donated and reused. Majority of the art in the programs is made from reused materials. In this partnership, we are practicing conservation through the arts!
Interested in partnering with Refuge Friends, Inc and the MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge???