Long Lake launches scholarship fundraising campaign

The Nature 4 Kids fundraiser asks individuals, businesses and civic organizations to donate scholarships so that children can attend nature school field trips or summer adventure camps.

LLCC Team 2021 (minus Joel).jpg
The new Long Lake Conservation team. From left, Office Manager Connie Proctor, naturalists Katie Murphy, Marla Richter, Julia Kuhns, and Claire Dobie, manager Dave McMillan, education coordinator Beth Haasken, naturalist Jake Ponozzo, and facilities coordinator Anthony Miller. Head chef Joel Hoppe is not pictures. Courtesy / Long Lake Conservation Center.

PALISADE — After emerging from a COVID-forced shutdown and facing continuing pandemic-related challenges, Long Lake Conservation Center launched Nature 4 Kids, a scholarship fundraising campaign that runs through the end of the year.

The fundraiser asks individuals, businesses and civic organizations to donate scholarships so children can attend nature school field trips or summer adventure camps. These scholarships will directly allow children in need to experience nature, as well as offset costs for budget-strapped schools.

“If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people who has been impacted by Long Lake, we hope that you will pay it forward so that another generation of young people can learn to love and respect nature,” stated Long Lake Manager Dave McMillan in a news release. “With your help, Long Lake has a bright future.”

Scholarships allow students to attend Long Lake for outdoor adventure camps, daylong excursions, or traditional three-day, two-night immersive nature school field trips. These field trips are active, hands-in-the-dirt, hiking, digging, skiing, connect-with-the-world explorations of nature and humans’ role in it.

“When you donate a scholarship, you are truly giving the gift of nature to a young person,” McMillan said.


Since reopening in June after being closed for nearly a year and a half, Long Lake has welcomed schools from around the state and hosted firearm safety training courses as well as various retreats, reunions and meetings. Though the reopening was smooth, the lingering effects of the pandemic can still be felt. A dozen schools canceled their normal trip to Long Lake due to COVID, representing a loss of more than 33% of total revenue, McMillan said.

Long Lake is an enterprise of Aitkin County, but is self-funded. Though it receives support and services from the county, it is not designed to receive taxpayer dollars.

The fundraiser was made possible by the Long Lake Conservation Foundation, a 501(c)3 supporting the conservation center’s mission of environmental education and in particular, the teaching of wise use of natural resources. All gifts are tax deductible.

To donate to Long Lake, go to , or contact Long Lake at 218-768-4653.

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