A few weeks ago, I organized an event attended by 15 keen Eden Prairie community members to talk about how to advance environmental conservation issues at the local level. This is part of my job as west metro community coordinator for Conservation Minnesota, but it’s also rewarding to be constantly reminded that protecting our environment is important to people throughout communities all over Minnesota.
The meeting itself was largely conducted by our Executive Director Paul Austin, and after giving introductions and laying out a brief description of what Conservation Minnesota was up to, the group had an open discussion about what conservation issues and activities attendees would like to focus on in Eden Prairie.
Some of the items we discussed included raising awareness about renewable energy; increasing recycling – including organics composting; planting more native plants on city owned lands; installing more rain gardens; creating a community solar garden; and organizing cleanups on some of Eden Prairie’s many lakes, ponds, and creeks.
Any one of these ideas would make a great project to work on in the upcoming months. But since any one group, no matter how dedicated, can only do so much, I’ll be working with the group to focus on a few projects to begin with and then later adding to this list.
This whole philosophy, working with local groups to accomplish local goals, is a key part of Conservation Minnesota’s strategy when it comes to advancing conservation all over the state. After all, environmental and conservation issues first advanced through local campaigns that began at the community level. Furthermore, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from working in this job, it’s that there’s a lot of people out there ready to get involved!
The future is of course uncertain when it comes to what conservation policies will be adopted over the next few years. But by focusing on local projects in places like Eden Prairie, Conservation Minnesota will be able to further conservation and maybe advance some key policies and actions at the state level as well.
Plus, these sorts of events are a great way to bring the community together. So if you are interested in getting involved in these sorts of local efforts in Eden Prairie or anywhere else in the west metro area, feel free to contact me at JohnA@conservationminnesota.org!