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Jenson named Tamarac’s Volunteer of the Year

Tamarac Wildlife Refuge Manager Neil Powers, left, presents the Volunteer of the Year Award to Ron Jenson. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Ron Jenson of Ogema received the 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge’s annual volunteer recognition picnic held on August 21.

Jenson began volunteering in 2006. Over the years, he has worn many hats including water quality monitor, carpenter, trail mower, event planner and educator. He is also the president of the Friends of Tamarac, a non-profit organization which supports the refuge’s mission of conservation.

Jenson has played a key role in Tamarac’s environmental education program which hosts local kindergarten and third grade students three times during the school year. He has led these children on adventures through the forest in search of hidden critters in the spring and tracks in the winter.

Because of his strong belief in connecting children with nature, Jenson led the charge to build an education center funded by donations through the Friends organization. During the past year, he has dedicated much of his time to this project working with refuge staff, contractors and Friends members.

During 2014, he donated over 800 hours and has accumulated over 4,000 hours of service since 2006.

Other volunteers were recognized for their contributions as well. Cathie Ferguson, Judy Bell and Justine Boots received the Assistant Director’s Award for achieving 500 hours. Don Blanding, Connie Carlson and Fran Mattson received the Directors Award for 1000 hours.

In 2014, 147 volunteers donated over 9,300 hours of service in various areas including maintenance, wildlife and habitat projects, public programs and events, environmental education, cultural resources and more.

As the environmental education program grows, there is real need for environmental education assistants. Volunteers would assist activity leaders with set-up, guide a small group of children on an activity, or help put snowshoes on a child.

If you are interested in sharing your time and talents in any of these areas in support of conservation, contact volunteer coordinator, Janice Bengtson at or 218-844-1756.