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Volunteers needed for Pocket Park at UP Fair

Volunteers at the U.P. State Fair’s Pocket Park will assist youth at an air rifle target range, among other activities. (Michigan Department of Natural Resources photo)

ESCANABA — Mentors are needed to help staff the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Pocket Park during the Aug. 16-22 Upper Peninsula State Fair.

Activities volunteers assist with include helping kids catch and release bluegills in the U.P.-shaped pond, shoot pellet guns or bow and arrow, staffing the fire tower or greeting visitors.

“Most folks who volunteer at the Pocket Park find it to be a very rewarding experience, with many returning to offer their help again this year,” said Kristi Dahlstrom, one of the DNR volunteer organizers. “The park attracts big crowds, which means we have a lot of available shifts for volunteers to fill.”

The DNR Pocket Park is a 1-acre site within the fairgrounds off U.S. 2. The park caters especially to youngsters who are seeking an outdoor adventure or to learn an outdoor skill.

The U.P. State Fair draws more than 80,000 visitors annually, many of whom visit the Pocket Park to participate in the recreation activities, experience nature programs, visit with conservation officers or enjoy a relaxing, shaded spot to sit, in a natural resource setting. The Pocket Park has a wooded landscape and a small waterfall.

Businesses and organizations, or clubs and groups, may wish to sponsor shifts during the fair by having their employees or members volunteer as a group. Recognition of the group or business will be prominently displayed and announced.

Volunteer training for all activities is provided.

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, unless under special pre-approved circumstances, and pass a background check. A meal and T-shirt will be provided.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Kristi Dahlstrom at 906-226-1331 or dahlstromk@michigan.gov or Jo Ann Alexander at 906-786-2351 or alexanderj7@michigan.gov.

The Pocket Park is open Memorial Day to Labor Day by appointment to host family gatherings, picnics, youth organizations, school groups, sports associations, scouting campouts and public events that include some introduction to fishing, shooting or outdoor recreation.

Those interested in booking an event at the Pocket Park can call 906-789-0714 or 906-786-2351 to reserve a date.

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