group picture outside with all workshop attendees
July 30, 2019

Top 3 reasons to attend a Friends Group Regional Workshop

An update from MN-DNR, Arielle Courtney

I hope everyone is enjoying the peak of summer and finding extra excuses to spend time outdoors as August brings thoughts of back-to-school time and fall’s approach. August is also a great time to be thinking about upcoming Friends Group Regional Workshops!

Parks & Trails Council put on a great first workshop in May at Itasca State Park, and there will be three more regional workshops this fall. Why go to a workshop, you ask?

Top 3 Reasons to Attend

  1. workshop attendees listen to a discussion on picnic tables outsideMeet other groups: You will get to meet other friends groups and swap ideas, best practices, and lessons learned
  2. Get training and information: You will receive a lot of information from Parks & Trails Council and DNR about how to launch, maintain, and successfully run your friends group
  3. Share feedback: You will get a chance to provide feedback and recommendations to Parks & Trails Council and DNR about what should be done to make friends groups more successful and fulfilling for members

And of course, you will get the added benefit of visiting a beautiful state park!

My group is a well-oiled machine, will I still benefit from attending a workshop?

People situated around tables watching a presentation

Absolutely! One of the greatest benefits of the workshops is the chance to connect with other groups, share your knowledge, and possibly pick-up a few new ideas or tools for your own group. As I’m sure you already know, a successful organization is a learning organization – an entity that continues to seek out new ideas and techniques. Not to mention the DNR would also sincerely appreciate your feedback and ideas about how we can work better work together and inspiration for the future.

Who else should attend?

The workshops are a prime opportunity for friends groups, aspiring friends groups, and agency partners to come together and discuss shared interests and opportunities.

You should definitely attend a workshop if you are:

  • A well-oiled, highly functional friends group machine!
  • A friends group that is just getting started or has been around for awhile and would like to learn from others or gain additional resources and knowledge
  • An individual (or group) interested in starting a friends group, but need some inspiration to get going
  • Agency (DNR or regional entity) staff that works with friends groups on a regular basis, such as park managers, area supervisors, naturalists, regional acquisition and development staff, or others

Where and when are the workshops?

Workshops are located throughout the state. Don’t forget to register early to get the early-bird pricing!

I look forward to meeting more of you in person this fall and please don’t forget to let me know if you have meetings or other events that you’d like for me to attend.

What questions do you have for the DNR about friends groups and what other information would you like to see in this e-news? Send me your ideas via e-mail at or call me at 651-259-5609.

Happy trails,


Partnership Development Consultant

Minnesota DNR, Parks & Trails Division

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About Ashley Pethan