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Minnesota youth honored for conservation efforts

SPICER, Minn. -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently honored two Minnesota youth for outstanding conservation efforts. Daniel Williamson, Spicer, was awarded the DNR Commissioner's FFA Youth Award. Sander Ludeman, Lake Crystal,...

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SPICER, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently honored two Minnesota youth for outstanding conservation efforts. Daniel Williamson, Spicer, was awarded the DNR Commissioner’s FFA Youth Award. Sander Ludeman, Lake Crystal, received the 4-H award.

The DNR Commissioner’s Youth Awards are given annually to an FFA student and a 4-H member who have demonstrated initiative, leadership, creativity and achievement in conservation and wise use of natural and agricultural resources. This is the 24th year of the award program. Williamson lives on a certified organic farm in Kandiyohi County - a farm he says he wants to take over someday. He wondered if the water running through their farm had chemicals in it, and whether a wetland was improving water quality.

Williamson reached out to his local soil and water conservation district office and the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District for help. His multi-year project is testing water clarity, nitrate and phosphate levels in a drainage ditch and the water leaving a wetland. He has learned how to collect and prepare water sampling, and analyze the results. He is in year two of his three-year plan. Ludeman noticed the degraded quality of the water in Crystal Lake and reached out to his neighbors and local partners.

His project, Fighting for Fish, focused on building and installing floating vegetation islands to absorb excess nutrients from Crystal Lake, and an adopt-a-drain program to engage the community in preventing contaminants from entering the lake.

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