One of my favorite aspects of being a Community Coordinator with Conservation Minnesota is getting to know the communities I work with. Each place is both radically different from the last and comfortably similar. Everywhere from Jordan to Red Wing, from the Minnesota River to the Mississippi River. Our community defines us, changes us, and comforts us. And one thing is very similar – no matter where I go – we are all Minnesotans who care about our natural resources and our 10,000 lakes.
On my travels around the south metro I’ve noticed a surprising trend. Cities are taking serious steps towards energy conservation, habitat restoration, invasive species control and much more. Everything from being a part of the MPCA GreenStep Cities program or being recognized as a STAR Community or having their own Sustainability Commission that advises their City Council on conservation steps and initiatives.
These are all ways to move forward in the right direction. In the communities where you find these programs, you will find something else – an instant sense of pride from the community. These communities are not trying to hide their conservation work – they want to be recognized for it. They want to be held up as examples for other cities that haven’t yet taken these steps.
We all need to do our part whether you live on the northern shore of Lake Superior or on the southern border with Iowa. We are all Minnesotans.
Don’t just take my word for it. Here is something that Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland of Apple Valley told me recently about her City.
“Apple Valley has a longstanding commitment to energy efficiency and conservation. This practical vision has shown the community that these principles have created a sustainable return on our investment. Your readers are invited to learn more about our community and our many green initiatives. Visit our website for more details, or better yet, hop on the Metro Transit Red Line and visit our community!”
This is community pride in action.
It’s a great thing to take pride in your community and the work that is done by your city. And we must remember that taking steps in the right direction is a wonderful thing but we have to keep climbing. We need to keep working to make sure that all of our lakes and rivers are clean, our landfills don’t leak and contaminate ground water, renewable energy becomes the norm, and each of us do our part to make sure that Minnesota stays happy and healthy for generations to come.
As you think about your community – let us know what is going on.
- Do you have an advisory board offering guidance on energy, sustainability, water, and the environment?
- Is your city a GreenStep City?
- Has your community been recognized as a STAR Community?
And if you want to move forward with any of these– please reach out – we are here to help.