March 16, 2018 at 1:09 p.m.

Friends of Wild River State Park and area school students are a perfect match

Friends of Wild River State Park and area school students are a perfect match
Friends of Wild River State Park and area school students are a perfect match

The Chisago Lakes School District Life Work Center (LWC) was honored by the Friends of Wild River State Park during a pancake breakfast at the park, Saturday March 10.  

The Friends of Wild River State Park raises funds to support programs and capital needs at the park and members contribute hundreds of volunteers hours themselves.  

ISD 2144 LWC is a hands-on opportunity for students to encounter workplace situations and learn employment and social practices under the supervision of program professionals. It was previously called STEP.  Students get familiar with setting goals, meeting expectations at job sites like appropriate attire, clocking-in on time, taking responsibility and many other practical aspects of employment.

Stacy Johnstone and Deb Goodman were on-hand to accept the award from the Friends treasurer Jan Kozlovsky.

Goodman said this park partnership has been a “live-action program,” providing lifelong training.  The park program gives the students a chance to be out in all four seasons and teaches how to function outdoors safely and enjoyably, she added.  

Johnstone said working with the Department of Natural Resources and park staff and getting a chance to make a real difference at Wild River State Park has been possible through “a great team effort.”  The LWC appreciates the Friends just as much as the group appreciates the students, she said.

Friends of Wild River State Park is in the process of filing for its own 501C3 non profit status.  President Brad Bjorklund and Kozlovsky gave a fiscal summary showing the new amphiteatre project fund has about $15,000  and the Friends’ share (in this joint project with the state) is about $40,000.  

Park ranger Mike Dunker said amphiteatre presentations attracted about 1,200 campers/visitors last year. Plans are for shelter and seating, rest rooms and  other amenities--and the Friends group sees the new facility being used by many more. Friends of Wild River State Park funded talks by eight guest presenters last year.

The fun run at the park (October 18 2018) is a major fundraiser, along with candlelight ski, donations, dues, and other events.  

There were 750 volunteers last year who donated 6,750 hours.  A little over 1,000 students were able to visit the park receiving financial assistance for field trip costs.

You are encouraged, if you can, to pitch in and keep Wild River State Park enjoyable for visitors and wildlife by becoming a member or consider volunteering.  

Join by mailing $5 for enrolling a “junior friend” age 12 or younger;  or $20, $35, $50, $100 or whatever amount you want, to: FWRSP Treasurer Jan Kozlovsky  17190 410th Street, North Branch, MN 55056  Make checks to Parks & Trails Council of MN...and put Friends of Wild River on memo line.

On the Internet it’s www. FriendsOfWildRiver.org and you can use a credit card to join.


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