Many cities across Minnesota have Parks & Recreation Commissions or Boards. They come in different shapes and sizes, often with different names. Still, they all have the desire to help their communities prosper by advising their local elected officials on quality public spaces and activities that benefit their cities. Usually, these commissions and boards are made up of volunteers willing to take time out of their lives to serve their community. They may be elected or appointed by the city council or mayor to guide the city on parks planning, recreation programming, and environmental initiatives like park master plans that focus on conservation, pollinators, and mitigating the effects of climate change.
Conservation Minnesota co-hosted the first ever statewide Parks & Recreation Commissions Conference in October because often there isn’t communication between cities about what their commissions are doing. Yet these commissions serve a meaningful and impactful role in their communities.
We partnered with Trust for Public Land to create an event that brought together volunteer commissioners and board members from across Minnesota to network, share their successes, and learn from experts.
Twelve cities joined us at the Wellstone Center in St. Paul and online via Zoom to learn about:
- Park and conservation finance from the Trust for Public Land,
- How to apply for Conservation Partners Legacy grants through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and
- Bemidji’s Birds, Bees, & Butterflies program.
Attendees then spent the afternoon sharing how to implement what we learned in their cities and what other successes folks could share from their community.
We look forward to making this an annual event and growing its impact year after year. If you would like to learn more about this or get involved, please reach out to me. firstname.lastname@example.org