"We had noticed that this eagle nesting territory in Hastings didn't seem to be as productive, didn't have as many successful years of nesting as some of the other eagle pairs we were watching. It wasn't until we got a call from a citizen who we hadn't even ever met up to that point, Wendell Snider, and Wendell had been observing this eagle nest on his own."
"One year, they were about to hatch their eggs. They were only a few days from hatching when a helicopter was hovering over the area a lot. So I called Joan and talked to her about it and told her that a helicopter had chased the eagles away."
"The day after that happened, the birds never returned to the nest the whole season and he was quite anxious about what he had observed. And as I thought about his phone call I realized that that nesting pair was less productive than other nesting sites, and Wendell was giving us a clue as to why this might have happened. Subsequently we followed up on his observations. We talked to the mosquito control people who owned the helicopter, and we realized that this was an inadvertent circumstance where in fact, they actually had caused the eagles to abandon the nest and subsequently we worked out a protocol and a procedure and some guidelines for them where they were not to approach these significant natural resources that inadvertently could be impacted by their mosquito control activities. All of this evolved from a single observation by a volunteer who cared enough to speak up and let us know what was happening."
"I come down practically every day of the year and walk. Some days when it's awfully windy I might only walk to the first bench and back, it's a half-mile round trip and I try to get at least that. Yesterday it was so windy I didn't go any further, but a lot of days I go out there and I'll spend 3-4 hours out there just sitting and watching and listening. People come by and sometimes want to talk.
"One day (I got a bang out of this) an elderly couple and a younger woman, it was evidently grandma and grandpa and their daughter, and a little four-year old boy. Grandma was pushing the 4-year old in a stroller. The mother was pushing a year-old daughter in another stroller.
"A week or ten days later I saw them again out there on the levee. And they had asked me a bunch of questions about the eagles, about nesting and I told them what I know about them.
"The second day they saw me we were talking and the Grandmother told me this little guy we are amazed at what he picks up. We got out of the car at the parking lot, he saw your car and he got all excited, he pointed to your car and he said 'the eagle man is here.' He's four-years old and he remembered me getting into my car and remembered all the questions they had for me about the eagles, nesting, the babies and all."
"Over the years we've learned that there are a lot of enthusiastic Minnesotans who'd like to help us do our job to manage and protect the natural resources. Through a number of programs we've recruited a lot of volunteer help from citizens in monitoring our wildlife resources and sharing their observations with us. It really makes it a lot easier for us to do our job and helps us to accomplish our work. Wendell is a good example, he's a dedicated volunteer who goes every day to watch the peregrines and the bald eagles along the Mississippi River and report back to us on how these resources are doing. It's a great opportunity for him to get out and enjoy the out-of- doors and still make a meaningful contribution to the management of these natural resources and their protection here in Minnesota."