Group of people walk through oak savanna
2024 Environment Commissions Conference at Burnsville’s Terrace Oaks West Park

Volunteer City Commissioners Gather to Talk About Environment


People listen to naturalist talk about savanna
Chris Ashling, Burnsville’s Natural Resources Specialist, talking with commissioners about the oak savanna restoration project

Many cities across Minnesota have environment, sustainability, parks & recreation, and natural resource commissions made up of appointed volunteers who help guide cities on local conservation efforts. These commissions are where many new ideas are first considered to help the environment, provide outdoor recreation, improve parks, and engage the community.

On May 1st, 2024, Conservation Minnesota and GreenStep Cites & Tribal Nations hosted the 7th Environment Commissions Conference. Commissioners joined us at Burnsville’s Terrace Oaks Park for a tour of their oak savanna restoration project.

oak savanna restoration project after
The savanna, restored

Burnsville has been working to restore an oak savanna—once a common habitat that made up 10% of Minnesota’s landscape before European colonization—at Terrace Oaks Park since 2015. They now have 70 acres of restoration in various stages of completion. The tour provided other commissioners an opportunity to ask questions about Burnsville’s work. After the tour, participants gathered for a social hour to connect with members working on similar conservation efforts.

Conservation Minnesota hosts the only environment commissions gathering in the state. It is vital that these commissioners connect, share successes, and learn from each other to advance conservation state-wide. If you want to be involved in a future conference or have a project you want commissioners to tour, contact