Marathon Petroleum funds Naturalist Fellowship Program at Dodge Nature Center

Community News

St. Paul Park volunteers working at Dodge Nature Center.
Marathon Petroleum’s St. Paul Park refinery is growing its partnership with the Dodge Nature Center through a new workforce development grant that helps pave the way for a more diverse workforce.

The refinery approved a $40,000 grant to fund the Naturalist Fellowship Program that prepares recent college graduates for a career in environmental education. Participants are offered a stipend and living arrangements at Dodge, where they’ll apply their studies in child development, education, natural history, animal care and habitat management. Ninety-two percent of the fellows in the program are women.

The St. Paul Park refinery is committed to supporting the nature center financially and through volunteer work. In October, employees joined together over the course of three weeks to help Shepard Farm at Dodge Nature Center get ready for its annual Nights for Nature fundraiser. The family-friendly event kicked off their programming for the fall season and raised more than $300,000 in contributions.

The maintenance department at the refinery has organized this volunteer clean up activity for two years.

"We really enjoy being together and such a wealth of talent, skills, access to resources and manpower. Partnering with Dodge makes sense. It’s an organization right in our backyard where our capabilities as a maintenance team align with their needs, and we make a positive difference together,” said Joe Kuphal, Maintenance Manager for Marathon Petroleum and member of the buildings and grounds committee for Dodge Nature Center.

Before the big event, volunteers worked on multiple projects, including building fencing to allow more accessibility for staff and animals, trimming trees to create paths to the education center, and cleaning the exterior of the building. They also installed a split rail fence around the property septic area and continued work on the composting area. Scott Dose, Maintenance Craft Supervisor, and David Painter, Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Supervisor, helped plan, resource load, and execute the projects.

Dodge’s mission is to provide exceptional experiences in nature through environmental education.