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OWLs donate $17,000 to state park

The Willow River State Park's friends group, the Organization for Wildlife Learning, recently donated $17,000 for continued environmental programming and staff at the park.

The state's Natural Resources Board accepted the gift at its December meeting. Board chair Christine Thomas expressed appreciation to organizations like the OWLs who are interested in more recreation opportunities for citizens statewide.

The money will pay for the 2007-08 salaries of the Willow River State Park's limited-term environmental educator and a work-study position. The group has funded these positions for several years to assure that there is an active environmental education presence in the park nature center. Over the years, the OWLs have raised funds for several projects at the park, ranging from making improvements to the nature center to building a playground in the picnic area.

Park manager Darrel Richer credits the group with helping to make the park a special place for all visitors.

"The OWLs help with programs and projects that allow Willow River State Park to provide far more programs and benefits to park users, and we really do appreciate their efforts."