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Creating 'A Lasting Legacy': Friends of Tamarac establish endowment fund to support outdoor education

The Friends of Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge have created an endowment fund through West Central Initiative, to provide a sustained funding source for their outdoor education programming at the Refuge.

Tamarac fall hike.jpg
Friends of Tamarac volunteer Dave Schneider leads local third graders on a fall hike at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge.
Detroit Lakes Tribune File Photo
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DETROIT LAKES — The Friends of Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge have been working to connect children and families with nature for nearly 30 years now, while depending on online fundraisers like Giving Hearts Day and events like the annual Tamarac Fall Festival and Toast to Tamarac at Richwood Winery to support their mission.

Recently, however, the Friends' board of directors decided they needed something a little more permanent to support their environmental education programming at Tamarac NWR, which brings more than 2,500 youth from 10 area school districts out to the Refuge each year. Not to mention the Wild Wednesdays programs held every summer for kids between ages 3-7, and the more family-oriented educational activities held at different times throughout the year.

"We really want to have a sustained legacy that will allow us to carry out our mission in perpetuity," says current Friends of Tamarac President Bill Henke. "So we have initiated an endowment fund, titled 'Friends of Tamarac: A Lasting Legacy,' in conjunction with West Central Initiative in Fergus Falls."

Donations to the fund will not only go to support Tamarac's volunteer-led environmental education programs, but also initiatives like the creation of a new trail and picnic area near the Tamarac Discovery Center — which was itself created through a Friends fundraising project — that are "accessible to people of all abilities," said Henke.

The Eagle Eye picnic area, which was completed last summer, also includes a large eagle sculpture created by Frazee-Vergas area artist Patrick Shannon, titled 'SOAR,' which was commissioned by the Friends.

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The new Lasting Legacy endowment fund will allow all those interested in supporting the Friends' environmental education initiatives to include the Refuge in their estate and financial planning.

Those wanting to donate to the fund directly can do so by mailing a check to Friends of Tamarac NWR, 35704 Co. Hwy. 26, Rochert MN 56578. Make sure to specify that the check is for the Lasting Legacy fund.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at vgerdes@dlnewspapers.com.
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