Most of you have likely taken time to reflect on the passing of 2015; your accomplishments, things left undone, major life changes, and the most memorable moments. I’ve been doing a bit of reflecting too, and I must say, 2015 was a great year to be the Northeast Community Coordinator for Conservation Minnesota and Audubon Minnesota. I spent an entire summer and into the fall talking with hundreds of lake association members about protecting their lakes. Legislators, city officials, county commissioners and other leaders have talked with me about their visions to move toward a healthier, more sustainable future by using renewable energy resources, becoming more energy efficient, reducing trash and increasing recycling. I toured a biomass plant in Virginia, took part in an international lake association event in International Falls, and attended the National Audubon Conference near Washington D.C. I toured the Important Birding Area at Camp Ripley with Audubon staff, elected officials, and DNR officials, where I learned that birds are a critical indicator of the health of our water and environment (the highlights were the red-headed woodpeckers, swans and the eagles). The list of activities is long, and needless to say, 2015 was an incredibly educational and productive year. Now, it’s time to look toward 2016 and create the roadmap that leads us to the conservation accomplishments that will protect the Minnesota we all love.
First and foremost, the roadmap leads to YOU. Throughout the coming months, I’ll be heading to Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Brainerd, Duluth, Grand Marais, Two Harbors, Hibbing, Virginia, and all places in between to talk with all of you about the conservation issues you care about most. I’ll be sending emails and calling members throughout northeastern Minnesota asking you to meet me for coffee so that I can learn first-hand what your conservation priorities and concerns are. I’ll be in touch to give you legislative updates on the issues of concern in your area. Stay tuned for information about Audubon presentations in your communities. I’ll be asking for your input in meetings with elected officials and other decision makers. You’ll be seeing me at more and more public meetings throughout northeastern Minnesota as we develop priorities together.
Yes, I will be at a coffee shop near you, very soon. Please watch your emails in the coming months for an invitation. I’m excited to meet all of you and work together to protect this beautiful place we call home. Until we have an opportunity to meet in person, please feel free to call me at 218-626-7273. You can also email me here. See you soon!