The Friends of the Prairie Wetland Learning Center is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that exists solely to support the work of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. The center, located in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, is a residential environmental education facility operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center enhances and promotes the understanding and conservation of the prairie pothole region, primarily through support of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center.
In the early 1970s, local conservationists first envisioned an environmental learning center for the Prairie Pothole Region, this one specifically in the northwest region of Minnesota. The Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center was established in 1989 to lead the way in transforming that vision to reality. They solicited local support and with the assistance of Minnesota Legislative Representation, secured $3 million for the construction of the center. Land was purchased by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Fergus Falls Fish and Game Club and the City of Fergus Falls, and in 1998, the Friends celebrated the opening of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center.
More than 325 acres of native and restored prairie and 28 wetlands can be found at the center. With nearly four miles of foot trails, there are ample opportunities for environmental education, wildlife observation, and relaxation.The Prairie Wetlands Learning Center offers a variety of environmental education programs to learners of all ages, as well as interpretive programs and walks throughout the year. In addition, the Center hosts teacher workshops and training sessions for wildlife professionals year-round. Special events provide opportunities to celebrate the cultural and natural history of the prairie, discover the secrets of successful waterfowling, and investigate the wonders of wetlands.
Promote conservation and understanding of the prairie pothole region Support activities of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center Creatively generate funds and foster volunteer involvement at the PWLC Solicit community, regional, statewide and Federal support.
In addition to playing a key role in obtaining funding and support for construction of the Center, the Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center have:
Obtained grant funding for design and production of an orientation video for visitors to the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center;Obtained grant funding for the design and installation of interpretive exhibits for the Learning Center;Obtained a three-year grant for the construction of nearly four miles of accessible nature trails;Obtained grant funding for the installation of a weather station at the Learning Center;Obtained grant funding to support and promote the volunteer program at the Learning Center;Obtained grant funding to develop and maintain an interactive kiosk to teach visitors and private landowners about restoration and management of native prairies;Volunteer hundreds of hours in support of Learning Center programs, projects, and events;Continue to successfully operate a gift shop at the Learning Center to generate revenue for special programs; andContribute annually to the college intern program at the Learning Center.
Fergus Falls Fish and Game Club
Fergus Falls Convention and Visitors Bureauhttp://www.visitfergusfalls.com
Minnesota Department of Natural Resourceshttp://www.dnr.state.mn.us/index.htmlNational Wildlife Refuge Associationhttp://refugeassociation.org
Pine to Prairie Birding Trail - Minnesota's first birding trailhttp://www.mnbirdtrail.com
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The secretive sora rail is just nine inches long from beak to tail and with its large feet, it can almost walk on water.