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Back to the Wetlands

The Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District are hoping to make even more friends, as they prepare for their second annual "Back to the Wetlands" fundraiser.

The purpose of the event is to raise money for the Friends/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of Detroit Lakes.

One of the designated projects for this event is to help the Detroit Lakes WMD office with the construction of the New Hamden Slough Nature and Technology Outdoor Classroom, which will be located out at the Hamden Slough NWR Headquarters.

"We broke ground on the classroom Tuesday, April 5th," said Detroit Lakes WMD Project Leader Scott Kahan.

The one-story building will be set up as a classroom with big windows and wood beam construction.

"There's an effort to get the students from Perham to come out and help us with the construction," said Wildlife Refuge Specialist Larry Hanson. "It's going to be made out of native wood found in the area."

Hanson says the classroom will be a place for various organizations to use, including students learning about the wetlands. "Kids can study the uplands and the wetlands out there, bring things back into the classroom, which will be set up like a lab, and they can look at things under the microscope."

The classroom will overlook Homstead Lake, which is a marsh that has been restored. "I envision various groups being able to use this classroom; everything from community ed, to Ducks Unlimited, to the Minnesota Trappers Association..." said Hanson.

Money raised at the event will also go to continue construction on the Prairie Marsh Interpretive Trail, located at the Detroit Lakes WMD Headquarters Waterfowl Production area.

The "Back to the Wetlands" fundraiser is Thursday, April 14, beginning with a 5:30 p.m. social hour at the Fireside Supper Club in Detroit Lakes.

The night continues with dinner at 6:30 p.m.

"People can expect a nice, classy evening with dining and socializing with people from all walks of life and a lot of fun with Jack Sand's magician performance," said Patty Heath Gordon, of the Friends of Detroit Lakes Wetland Management.

Popular area magician Jack Sand will provide the entertainment before a silent auction magically appears. "We have a lot of items up for bid," said Heath-Gordon.

"We have some wine, duck houses, suet feeders, a homemade chair planter, books, food certificates, and some items for the ladies."

At 7:30 p.m., there will be a short program, which will include speakers from the WMD and Friends.

Door prizes will be given throughout the evening.

Tickets to the event are $25 and are available at the Detroit Lakes WMD office (26624 N. Tower Rd. Detroit Lakes). To purchase tickets, call 847-4431.

Tickets will also be available at the door, but organizers encourage those planning on attending to get their tickets in advance so that they can get a headcount for food.

"If people really have some kind of passion for the outdoors and nature, or want to support youth programs that gets kids involved with the outdoors, I'd encourage them come out," said Heath-Gordon. "It's really to get the kids involved in the outdoors and give them something productive to do."

The Friends of the Detroit Lakes WMD is a non-profit group organized on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District, which includes Waterfowl Production Areas and Easement in the Becker, Clay, Mahnomen, Polk and Norman counties.

Their mission is to promote awareness, understanding, use, care, appreciation, and management of the wildlife resources and recreational opportunities in the Detroit Lakes WMD.