Ann Pasch of Princeton was named Volunteer of the Year for Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge by manager Anne Sittauer at an awards dinner held at Jack & Jim’s Banquet Center in Duelm on March 1.
Pasch was recognized with this honor for donating more than 900 hours of volunteer service to the refuge since 1993.
Living next door to the refuge’s maintenance center, she volunteered her service long before a formal volunteer program was established and was among the first people recruited by refuge staff. Ann has donated her time by collecting prairie wildflower seeds, working at refuge events such as the wildlife festival since the early ‘90s and especially enjoys staffing the gift shop and helping to establish and maintain a bald eagle nest exhibit at the beginning of the Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive. When refuge biologists decided to ask volunteers to assist with monitoring bald eagle nests, Ann was the first to be asked. She faithfully monitored the St. Francis Pool nest for many years. Ann was also a charter member of the Friends of Sherburne NWR. The refuge awarded her with a framed wildlife print.
At the dinner, the refuge recognized a total of 803 volunteers for 8,081 hours of service during the past year. This number includes 283 individuals from local communities who are regular volunteers, as well as 516 members of local scout troops, families, school classes, 4-H clubs and conservation groups.
Other volunteers receiving distinguished awards included Robin DeLong, Princeton, for 5,000 hours of service and Pam Spar, Big Lake, for 1,000 hours of service. Ten-year pins were given to Terry Andolino, Karen Barneck, Clare Bell, Sharon Evenson, Lorie Orton, Richard Orton, Jim Sogaard, Greg Spar, John Stark, Herm Urbasic, the Klosterman-Schwarting Family, St. Cloud State University’s Ecology Club, Cub Scout Pack 93 of Big Lake and the Minnesota Sportsmen’s Club, Zimmerman.