ALTURA, Minn. (AP) — A longtime naturalist at Whitewater State Park is retiring after nearly 38 years on the job.

Dave Palmquist’s last day at the popular park in southeastern Minnesota is Tuesday.

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The Department of Natural Resources says Palmquist has provided interpretive programs for more than 400,000 visitors and planted more than 20,000 trees with volunteers.

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Palmquist says one of his chief satisfactions is seeing the return of peregrine falcons to the park, which had gone 47 years without them nesting there until a pair took up residence in 2009. He says one of his most satisfying projects has been working with visitors to rescue threatened Blanding’s turtles as they migrate in the spring and fall.

Palmquist says Whitewater will be part of his soul forever, and he’ll remain involved in some capacity.

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