DNR honors 2 youths for their conservation efforts

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources honored two youths for their outstanding conservation efforts during a ceremony Friday, Aug. 30, at the Minnesota State Fair. Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen presented the awards. 

Jake Tanghe, from Northfield in Rice County, received the 4-H Award and Elizabeth Lindow, from Lake City in Wabasha County, received the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Award during a ceremony held at the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage.

The DNR commissioner’s youth awards are given annually to an FFA student and 4-H member who have demonstrated initiative, leadership, creativity and achievement in conservation and wise use of natural and agricultural resources. This is the 28th year of the award program.

Instructed by his mother to pull some weeds, Tanghe noticed what looked like eggs on the weeds, and after some research, discovered they were monarch eggs. From there, his “Saving Monarchs” 4-H project was born. Jake protected the eggs, which allowed the monarchs to reach adulthood. He also participates in the Monarch Watch Tagging Program, which helps people learn more about the monarch’s migration patterns and survival rates.

Tanghe also helped rebuild a landscaping area with butterfly friendly plants and milkweed. The monarch butterfly is receiving national attention because of concerns with declining populations. Jake also enjoys camping in the Boundary waters, snow skiing, ATV riding, snowmobiling, boating, deer hunting, trap shooting, and fishing with his grandpa.

Jake is the son of Tom and Angie Tanghe.

Lindow’s interest in marine and aquatic biology started at age nine with a trip to California. Knowing these interests, Elizabeth’s family reached out to the DNR’s freshwater mussel lab in Lake City.

The DNR’s Center for Aquatic Mollusk Programs had just opened and was looking for volunteer help. Since 2014, Elizabeth has been volunteering at the lab.

She gained firsthand knowledge of what it takes to operate a one of a kind mussel lab, included cleaning aquariums and filters, feeding and moving fish, washing nets and continually testing water. Mussels living in Minnesota’s waters act like filters, cleansing the water. They serve as an indicator of the health of the state’s lakes and streams. Unfortunately, many of Minnesota’s native mussels are not doing well. Elizabeth is taking this unique experience with her as she is currently enrolled at Winona State University, majoring in biology with an emphasis on ecology.

Elizabeth is the daughter of Michael and Jennifer Lindow.