Co-ops prepare state parks for summer

An annual partnership between Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives and Minnesota State Parks and Trails offers an opportunity for the public to pitch in and help beautify their local state parks.

GreenTouch Day, which occurs the first Saturday of every May, helps to build a stronger connection between people and the environment through volunteering.

More than 100 Dakota Electric Association members volunteered their time on May 4 at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, Minn., as part of the annual Touchstone Energy GreenTouch Day. Volunteers planted 3,000 native plants and spread 21 pounds of seed mix in the woods by the equestrian trailhead.

Minnesota Touchstone Energy Cooperatives rallied 352 volunteers who worked 1,169 hours for GreenTouch’s 20th year. They picked up litter, raked leaves, painted facilities, cleaned ditches and spread seed mix for natural grasses and flowers to grow.

Participating Great River Energy member-owner cooperatives included Federated Rural Electric Association, Dakota Electric Association, Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative Electrical Association and East Central Energy.

“We had beautiful weather and an enthusiastic group of volunteers,” said Joe Miller, event organizer for Dakota Electric Association. “This was a great project that people from young to old could enjoy doing together. We really appreciate all those who helped. It is nice to see so many people giving their time to give back to their local community.”

GreenTouch has organized nearly 10,061 volunteers who donated more than 36,972 hours taking care of Minnesota’s state parks over the last 20 years.