people watching presentation
John Anderson presents at the 2023 conference

City Commissions are Leading the Way on Conservation

The Minnesota Legislature recently capped off a historic legislative session by passing major new laws to enable our transition to renewable energy, protect Minnesota’s drinking water, end the use of PFAS “forever chemicals,” and more. While the work that goes on at the Capitol in St. Paul has been capturing headlines, it’s not the only place where folks are working to protect Minnesota’s land, air, and water. And that’s why Conservation Minnesota convenes a conference of environment commission members from across Minnesota each year.

This year the annual Environment Commissions Conference was held at Ridgedale Library in Minnetonka on May 20th. It brought together environment commissioners from 15 cities to make connections, discuss challenges, and share ideas on how to act on conservation at the local level.

Two staff members from St. Cloud presented on a city-wide program to install storm drain art to bring attention to stormwater education, stewardship, and how residents can help with reduce pollution. They also highlighted their award-winning investments in solar power and biofuel gas generation at their water treatment facility.

Attendees connected directly with each other about the issues they are working on. The City of Champlin shared that they recently enacted an organics collection program, and several other cities have been working on similar programs in recent years.

The Environment Commissions Conference is the only state-wide opportunity for commission members to connect. As part of our commitment to taking care of our state, Conservation Minnesota will continue to host this annual event to make connections, spark ideas, and protect the Minnesota we love at the local level.

If you’re a member of an environment commission and would like to connect to other folks doing this work, or you’d be interested in starting a similar commission in your city, please contact me, John Anderson, at