Awards for Minnesota Conservation Leadership Announced

March 20, 2014

At a ceremony held yesterday at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, The Trust for Public Land announced the winners of its sixth annual Conservation Leadership Awards. The awards recognize outstanding support for the conservation of Minnesota special places from city parks to wilderness areas.

The 2014 Conservation Leadership Award winners are Senator Sandra L. Pappas, (DFL) District 65, St. Paul; Representative Rena Moran, (DFL) District: 65A, St. Paul; St. Louis County Commissioner Frank Jewell (1st District), Duluth; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Land and Mineral Division project manager Susan Maki; the Minneapolis Downtown Council (Executive Director Steve Cramer accepting); and The McKnight Foundation (President Kate Wolford accepting).

“The Trust for Public Land’s 2014 Conservation Leadership Award winners have been integral in protecting special places for Minnesotans to enjoy – from cities to wilderness,” said Susan Schmidt, The Trust for Public Land’s Minnesota state director. “These are the places our families go to gather, play, walk, fish, and enjoy nature.”

Senator Sandra L. Pappas was recognized for her leadership, legislative work, and commitment to the creation of Frogtown Park and Farm in St. Paul.

Representative Rena Moran was recognized for her leadership, legislative work, and commitment to the creation of Frogtown Park and Farm in St. Paul.

Commissioner Frank Jewell was recognized for his early support of the Heart of the Continent Partnership, and for championing efforts to protect special places such as Burnside Islands Scientific and Natural Area near Ely.

DNR project manager Susan Maki was recognized for her management of the protection of special places in Minnesota including La Salle Lake, Blakeley Bluffs, Cannon River Headwaters, and Burnside Islands.

The Minneapolis Downtown Council was recognized for its vision and commitment to green and grow the downtown Minneapolis public realm. The vision for a green downtown is featured in their 2025 Plan and includes signature gathering places, increased tree canopy, a more vibrant Nicollet Mall, and significantly improved access from downtown Minneapolis to the Mississippi River.

The McKnight Foundation was recognized for its leadership and commitment to vibrant and connected parks and green ways and to creating livable communities for all to thrive in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area. For sixteen years The McKnight Foundation has supported The Trust for Public Land’s efforts in policy, advocacy, coalition building and on-the-ground park making. The McKnight Foundation has also been a leading supporter of conservation and improved management of the Mississippi River and its tributaries in the Twin Cities and nationwide.

The inaugural winners of the award in 2010 were Senator Ellen Anderson, DFL - St. Paul, and Representative Larry Haws, DFL - St. Cloud. The 2011 award winners were Representative Larry Howes, R - Walker, and Representative John Ward, DFL - Brainerd. The 2013 award winners were Senator Rod Skoe, DFL – Clearbrook; Representative Leon Lillie, DFL – North St. Paul; Council member Melvin Carter, St. Paul Ward 1; Jenny Smith, Cycle Path & Paddle, Crosby; Peggy Booth, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Scientific and Natural Area program supervisor, St. Paul.

Frogtown Park and Farm, in St. Paul’s most park-poor neighborhood, is slated to open in late 2014 with an urban demonstration farm scheduled to be operational in 2015.

Funding for the land protection projects referenced above was provided by sources including the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and the Outdoor Heritage Fund as recommend by the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC).