Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Itasca Getaway winners announced


October 1, 2018

Jonathan Schilling shared his passion for all things mycological with audiences at a talk and walk Saturday at Itasca State Park. Among other things, visitors learned why tree death and decay are part of what makes Itasca and its old growth special and how the fungi that dominate this process are part of the massive biofiltration system that cleans the water draining into Lake Itasca.

Friends of Itasca State Park hosted a number of activities during the peak of fall colors Saturday, Sept. 29.

Itasca Getaway raffle winners are: Dick Garvey, Fargo, first prize, three nights at Douglas Lodge Cabin 4, four evening meals at Douglas Lodge, four breakfasts at Douglas Lodge, four adult tickets for the Chester Charles History and Wildlife Tour, a $100 gift certificate at Itasca Sports Rental and one annual park permit; Fred Alver, White Bear Lake, second prize, four adult tickets for the Chester Charles, four evening meals at Douglas Lodge and one annual park permit; and Mort and Babe Mortenson, Bemidji, third prize, one annual park permit. Proceeds from the Friends' raffle this year will go to to print and frame historic park photos for Itasca's guest cabins.

After lunch, 35 Friends members and other park visitors toured the University of Minnesota's Itasca Biological Station.

Dr. Jonathan Schilling, director of the Biological Station and a professor in plant and microbial biology, gave a presentation on fall mushrooms and the role of fungi in the "circle of life" for trees. Ninety-three people attended his talk and 80 of them joined a walk to see what's fruiting and hunt for fungi controlling the afterlife of trees.

On the largest woods walk Jonathan Schilling has given, 80 Itasca State Park visitors saw many types of fungi growing in the fall forest.

It has been a busy and rewarding year for Itasca Park and the Friends. With support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and a $5,000 grant from the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, the Friends assembled 440 tree cages. So far, the Friends and other volunteers have placed 400 of the cages around young red pine, white pine and jack pine to keep deer from damaging the trees allowing for quicker and healthier growth. Friends members also sponsored Itasca's Music Under the Pines entertainers and educational programs and hosted seven ice cream socials that served over 1,000 ice cream sundaes at park events.

Annual membership in the Friends is $20 per person or $25 per family. Donations also are welcome. Either may be mailed to Friends of Itasca State Park, 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, MN 56470. The Friends is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization.

For more information about the Friends, go to or visit the Friends of Itasca State Park on Facebook.


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