News & Insights
Lebanon Hills
Students enjoy time together while working on projects
Conservation Crew members choose projects that help their school or community

News from the Crew is newsletter for our youth program, Conservation Crew. Here's what the Crews are up to, midway through the program's second year.

Bee on Blazing Star blooms
Blazing stars are pollinator-friendly native prairie plants
Liz Deering

This month, Eden Prairie, Dakota County, and St. Cloud will receive Blazing Star Awards from Conservation Minnesota. The award acknowledges exceptional local government projects that advance conservation, climate, or the environment.

Middle school students gardening
Conservation Crew members tend to a campus garden

As we enter the dormant winter months, we think back to sunny days in the garden and reflect on new growth in our youth program. Conservation Crew is a student-led extracurricular program for middle schoolers that develops leadership skills through conservation projects in schools and communities. We’re excited to share more about our program and its early successes. 

Blazing star flowers in a garden
Hardy perennial Blazing Star thrives in a local prairie garden
John Anderson

We launched the Blazing Star Award to recognize local governments that engage in exciting new projects that advance conservation, climate, or the environment. We announce the inaugural year recipients!

Group listening at conference
The first ever statewide Parks & Recreation Commissions Conference brought together volunteer commissioners and board members from across Minnesota
Avery Hildebrand

In October, Conservation Minnesota co-hosted with the Trust for Public Land the first ever statewide Parks & Recreation Commissions Conference that brought together volunteer commissioners and board members from across Minnesota to network, share their successes, and learn from experts.

Farmer in field inspects bell pepper
Olivia Rivera
Keely Cervantes

This month, we want to recognize the Latino community's contributions in Minnesota by highlighting Latinos' important role in agriculture. Latino farmers are helping change the agricultural landscape through innovative practices.


Cyclists gather at the bike trail opening
Cyclists convened for the grand opening of the new Sagamore Unit of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
Avery Hildebrand

Our Public Land & Outdoor Recreation Program Manager, Avery Hildebrand, considers how outdoor recreation can help communities economically while creating an identity and inspiring passion. He shares his experience in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.

Clean-up crews walk through park
Avery Hildebrand

On June 14th, over 70 people braved the 105-degree heat index to help clean up the Mississippi River at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis. Conservation Minnesota, in partnership with United By Blue, Target, and Friends of the Mississippi River, spent two hours combing the river banks, neighborhoods, trails, and grassy fields for small plastics.

Conservation Celebration 2022 staff and judges
Conservation Crew Celebration staff & judges: Isabel Istephanous (Youth Program Coordinator), Laura Bishop (former MPCA Commissioner), Reen Solheid (DNR), Charlene Simonson (The Nature Conservancy & CM board), Paul Austin (Executive Director)
Isabel Istephanous

Conservation Minnesota designed Conservation Crew to encourage middle schoolers to think critically about our environment. Each Conservation Crew—made up of five to 25 student and supported by a teacher or school staff—selects their focus and service project. Our Youth Program Coordinator reports on the first year of Conservation Crew.

many people talking to each other in a conference room
Sharing ideas, sparking innovation, and advancing conservation at the Environmental Commissions Conference 2022
John Anderson

What happens in St. Paul and Washington DC matters, it’s important to remember that much of the work that protects the Minnesota we love is happening at the local level in communities across the state. Conservation Minnesota is the only organization currently hosting gatherings of environment commission members from across the state.