A day on the lake doesn’t feel complete without a loon sighting or hearing the call of a loon. It should come as no surprise that we love the Common Loon. Not only is it Minnesota’s state bird but it’s also the face of the Minnesota Lottery brand to highlight our mission of giving back to our state’s natural resources.

We’re proud that lottery proceeds through the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) have helped protect this majestic bird. Read on to learn more:

Understand the impact of the 2010 BP Oil Spill on Minnesota’s loons

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ve learned about the research project, funded with the help of ENRTF grants from 2011 – 2017, which allowed the DNR to assess the impact that the 2010 BP Oil Spill had on Minnesota’s loons and pelicans. This research was all done scientifically for the first time and helped make the connection between Minnesota loons and pelicans and the BP oil spill possible. The data collected was used in a lawsuit between BP Oil and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and led to a multi-million-dollar payout for loon conservation in Minnesota.

Construction of the National Loon Center in Cross Lake

In 2019 a $4 million ENRTF grant was approved to help construct the National Loon Center in Cross Lake. The money is being used to help build a 15,000 square foot facility that will be dedicated to loon survival, loon habitat protection, loon research and recreation. This educational and interactive destination is scheduled to be open to the public in 2024.

These are just a few ways lottery dollars are working to protect Minnesota’s loon population. How can you play your part? Check out this simple switch you can make to help protect our state bird.

Our love of loons is even featured on our Winnesota Summer scratch game. We are so grateful we had the opportunity to partner with Adam Turman to celebrate all that is special and unique about summer in Minnesota. Winnesota Summer is part of our MN Artist Collection of scratch games designed exclusively for the Lottery by local artists.