by Avery Hildebrand, Regional Manager - Southeast Metro
Minnesotans love our Great Outdoors, and we are willing to do what it takes to improve our favorite parks and open spaces. Dakota County is no exception. It is home to some of our most iconic examples of natural beauty here in our state—places like Lebanon Hills Regional Park, the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, Sand Coulee, and Whitetail Woods. As demand grows in Dakota County for more access to nature and parks, now is the time to start thinking about the future.
Though this is a difficult time for our global community and for us in Minnesota, we are so far doing our due diligence to flatten the curve and protect our neighbors. As Governor Walz said, we are used to long winters, and we are resilient. The field team has seen this over the past few weeks as we’ve reached out to our members to check in on how people are doing and how nature has been helping them through this slowdown in everyday life.
For the past three years, Conservation Minnesota has worked with partner groups to put on an annual Environmental Commissions Conference every April. There is a great deal of overlap in these sorts of issues from city to city, and also the potential for cities to coordinate, so commissioners and other interested folks get together once a year to share ideas, think about how to work together, and get to know each other.
Over the past ten years, Minnesota’s cities have been increasing their sustainability goals and positively impacting their communities. I’m lucky to work with a few East Metro cities that are working toward achieving step 5—the top step!—in the GreenStep program.