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Soccer team partners with DNR to support loons and state parks

The Minnesota United, a professional soccer team commonly referred to as “the Loons,” is partnering with the Department of Natural Resources to support loon populations throughout the state by way of the Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program.

The partnership is part of team’s Itasca Society, a program made up of the first 11,842 season ticket holders – one for every lake in Minnesota – which provides exclusive perks and opportunities for fans who become season ticket holders ahead of United’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer in 2017.

“We are proud to partner with a great organization like the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,” said United President Nick Rogers. “Supporting our state parks and iconic wildlife in Minnesota is something our organization is passionate about. These values are reflected in what the DNR does on a daily basis. This partnership is a perfect way for our organization and our fans to give back to the state we love and to support the mighty loon, our state bird, which is proudly represented on our club crest.”

As part of the partnership, a portion of all Itasca Society members’ season ticket purchases will go to the DNR to support the Loon Monitoring Program. Additionally, all inaugural season ticket holder accounts will receive a complimentary Minnesota State Parks Day Pass.

“We are excited about our partnership with Minnesota United and grateful to the team for their generous support of our Loon Monitoring Program,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “We also appreciate their enthusiasm for connecting soccer fans to Minnesota state parks and trails by providing one-day passes for season ticket holders.”

The DNR’s Loon Monitoring Program, in its 23rd year, is the principal tool for monitoring the health of Minnesota’s loon population. Volunteer citizen scientists assist with loon monitoring. Minnesota United’s support will be used to expand loon surveys to lakes throughout Minnesota where there are currently no active volunteers. The contribution will also enhance the DNR’s analysis of the survey data being collected.

There are multiple opportunities for United fans to take part in and support the loon population through the Loon Monitoring Program. Some basic information about loons and their populations throughout Minnesota:

The common loon is Minnesota’s state bird and a source of pleasure to thousands of residents and visitors who enjoy its enchanting sights and sounds.

Minnesota is the summer home to over 12,000 adult loons, more than in all other states combined, excluding Alaska.

Minnesota’s loon populations are currently stable.

As a diving bird, loons use sight to hunt prey and therefore thrive in clear lakes and healthy fish populations.

The Loon Monitoring Project has over 1,000 volunteers and provides the DNR with information that helps direct loon conservation throughout the state.

For more information about the Loon Monitoring Program, visit: www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/projects/mlmp_state.html.

For more information about the soccer team, which will play home matches at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, call 763-476-2237 or visit www.mnunitedfc.com.