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Rain Gauge Monitors Honored During National Volunteer Week

Rain, nor sleet, nor snow have not deterred long time rain gauge monitors, Richard and Dolores Mauch in Big Stone County. Dolores and Richard were honored in March by State Climatologist, Greg Spoden with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources with a Certificate of Appreciation for their thirty-five years of generous contributions of their time, talent and attention to the weather. In addition, they have been Earth Team Volunteers with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). 

Richard and Dolores are long time Big Stone County residents having lived on their current farm in Moonshine Township for the past 63 years. Richard, an Army Veteran who served in the Occupational Forces following World War II, married his Swedish sweetheart, Dolores in 1945. The two have been married 68 years. When farming proved challenging in the 1980’s the two became resourceful and created their own business of Mauch’s Mats and Crafts.

Dolores says she remembers the day as if it were yesterday when Don Morrill, who was a Big Stone County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Supervisor, and his wife Mary Ann stopped over to their farm in 1978 and asked if they would be interested in recording the precipitation for their area of Big Stone County. The reports would be submitted monthly to the Big Stone SWCD which in turn would be sent to the State Climatologist as part of the statewide records. Richard and Dolores started keeping records in July of 1978. The two agreed to record the information; they were provided a rain gauge and log sheets and dutifully kept precipitation records. Dolores and Richard were a team collecting the weather all these years, early on Richard would bring the rain gauge to the house and Dolores would record the data. She even created her own data sheet so she could have all the months on one sheet making it easier to view the trends of moisture over each year.

Dolores is quick to point out that through all those years of rain gauge monitoring they went through three rain gauges. Due to Richard’s failing health to Alzheimer’s and the challenge of a cold and snowy winter in 2013, Dolores decided it was time for someone new to take on the recording duties. Their duties of rain gauge monitoring came to a close in July of 2013, and the log sheets and rain gauge were passed on to Dan and Jodi Morrill, which by coincidence is Don Morrill’s son. Richard and Dolores have helped record precipitation history for Big Stone County. Their dedication to keeping records all these years will ensure that for generations to come, Moonshine Township, has a place in the Minnesota Climatological History Books.

The USDA – NRCS is grateful for Rain Gauge Monitors like Richard and Delores Mauch who have also served as Earth Team volunteers. During National Volunteer Week April 6-13th  the NRCS would like to thank and honor its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation. The Earth Team program was created in 1985 and offers many opportunities to individuals 14 and older who are interested in volunteering to improve the nation’s natural resources.  

If you are interested in learning more about becoming an Earth Team Volunteer program, check it out online at or please call the Big Stone County USDA/SWCD Service Center at (320) 839-6149 ext. 3.