Volunteer Instructor Newsletter - Winter/Spring 2018

minnesota department of natural resources

Volunteer Instructor Newsletter

Winter/Spring 2018

Ham Lake man is snowmobile safety instructor of the year

Marvin Buchholz
From left to right:: Steve Gilbraith, Rose Nelson, Marvin Buchholz, Kevin Vnuk and Kerry Vnuk

Marvin Buchholz, of Ham Lake, has been named the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Snowmobile Volunteer Instructor of the Year for 2017.

During his almost 50 years as a volunteer instructor, Buchholz has instructed more than 2,500 youth and adults about how to operate snowmobiles safely and responsibly. In addition, he’s helped recruit and train more than 20 other certified instructors.

Between Marvin, who is the lead instructor, and four additional instructors that make up his team, they have approximately 150 years of volunteer training experience between them:  Marvin Buchholz - 50 years; Rose Nelson - 25 years; Steve Gilbraith - 25 years; Kerry Vnuk - 25 years, and Kevin Vnuk - 25 years.

“The best example I can give of the quality and character of Marvin’s instruction is that Marvin is now teaching third and fourth generations of the same families,” said Kevin Vnuk, who nominated him for the award. “They keep coming back to Marvin’s class because of the quality and content of the class.”

Buchholz has been active in his community, too, serving for 47 years as volunteer firefighter for the city of Ham Lake. In addition to being one of the department’s founders, he also was its longtime training officer. He’s also been a member of the Ham Lake Lions Club for more than 40 years.

“Marvin has been an active participant in the sport of snowmobiling for more than 50 years,” said Bruce Lawrence, recreational vehicle coordinator for the DNR Enforcement Division. “He has ridden more than 100,000 miles on snowmobiles and at age 75 still rides hundreds of miles every year.

Congratulations, Marvin!

Additional Spring Firearms Field Day Offerings

As demand for Hunter Education/Firearm safety field days has been increasing steadily over the past several years, we have also seen an increase in the number of Field Days being offered by our volunteer firearms safety instructors.  Our spring field day offerings are now at an all-time high, due to your dedication and response to the interest of the public.

The Enforcement division has started an initiative to engage the Conservation Officers with field days and new instructors. One of the goals is to provide an opportunity for newly trained volunteer instructors to help out with these field days so they can readily tie in what they've learned at the training clinic with practical experience. You may be contacted by local officers or RTO’s to assist with these field days.  If it works out with your schedule, we’d love to have your help!

While field days for the online course are a popular option for many students, there is still a strong demand and need for the traditional classroom courses.

Thank you for your dedication to the DNR Safety Training Program and in particular, to Hunter Education/Firearm safety – we could not do this without you!

Instructor Training Opportunity

The MN Volunteer Safety Instructors Association (MVSIA), along with the Anoka County Safety Instructors, are partnering with the American Heart Association to offer their First Aid, CPR, and AED certification course on Saturday, April 28, 2018.  It is open to all ATV, Snowmobile and Firearms Safety Instructors.  The fee for the course is $60, and will cover American Heart Association certification in First Aid, CPR and AED. Lunch and coffee are included in the Course Fee.

Go to www.mvsia.org and click on Upcoming Seminars for more information and how to register.

NEW Regional Training Officers

Beginning Wednesday April 18, Regional Training Officers on staff are:

Chelsie Leuthardt - Southeast Metro Regional Training Officer

Brandon McGaw - North Metro Regional Training Officer

Brett Oberg - Southwest Metro MN Regional Training Officer

Jen Mueller - Southwest MN Regional Training Officer

For specific information on the counties the RTOs are assigned, please consult the RTO map on the DNR website at:  http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/education_safety/safety/instructors/rtomap.pdf.  Contact information is provided.

DNR Volunteer Instructor in the News

Every once in a while we have the opportunity to share information about our instructors from around the state.  Below is a link to a recent article from the Brainerd Dispatch:

Reminders on Class Supplies

Here are a few reminders to help you stay organized with your safety class:

 - Hunting Regulations booklets (quantities of 50 or more) can be ordered from the DNR Information Center at 888-646-6367.  If you need a smaller quantity, please order them with your supplies thru the online class registration (make a note in the Comments section). 

 - Please check your box(es) of supplies when they arrive to ensure you have everything you need for your class.  If something is missing, contact us right away at enforcement.education@state.mn.us.

 - Always provide us a 30-day notice - or more! - of your class when requesting class supplies so we have sufficient time to ship them out.

Thank you!

Links to Websites


Henry Repeating Arms Company  .22 rifles, both Lever and Bolt action - 

718/499-5600 or visit their website at:  Henry Repeating Rifles

Hunter Safety Systems - Fall Arrest Harness   Toll Free 877-296-3528 or go to:         Savage Arms   .22 bolt action youth models - single shot

Third Hand Archery - Tree Stand Gun Hoist and other training aids available for purchase.

Education materials can be purchased at Federal Premium Education Materials.

IHEA - Subscribe to the International Hunter Education Association Email Newsletter.

To access the volunteer discussion section of the IHEA website, go to www.ihea.com – Username is volunteer and the password is huntsafe.

To access the instructor resource section of the IHEA website, go to www.ihea.com, click on Instructor Resource.  The Username is instructor and the Password is gohunt.


Adaptive Equipment for Disabled Hunters  

Alan Madison DVDs

DNR Instructor Page

Ducks Unlimited

Hunter Education Tools

Izaak Walton League

MN Deer Hunters Association

MN Shooting Ranges

MN Volunteer Instructor Association

Nat'l Bow Hunter Ed Foundation

Nat'l Shooting Sports Foundation

Nat'l Wild Turkey Foundation

Outdoor Edge

Pheasants Forever

Ruffed Grouse Society

Safari Club

Turn In Poachers


American Council of Snowmobile Associations



Heads Up Braking System

MN 4-Wheel Drive Association

MN United Snowmobilers Association

Nat'l Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council