Conservation and Park Leadership Awards Announced

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The Trust for Public Land announced the winners of its 9th annual Conservation and Park Leadership Awards, which recognize leadership in protecting and investing in Minnesota’s special places, at an event held today at St. Paul’s Science Museum of Minnesota.

“These awards recognize leaders working hard to create and protect Minnesota parks and natural lands,” said Susan Schmidt, The Trust for Public Land’s Minnesota state director. “Minnesota’s parks and outdoor destinations for hunting, hiking, fishing and bird watching are prized by residents and visitors alike, and these leaders deserve to be recognized for their contributions.”

The Trust for Public Land’s 2017 Conservation Leadership Award winners are (in alphabetical order):

Lisa Goodman and Barbara Johnson. Lisa Goodman and Barbara Johnson were recognized for their vision, leadership, and commitment to secure long term investments in Minneapolis parks for kids, families, and neighborhoods. Both elected to Minneapolis’ City Council in 1997, Barbara Johnson has served as Council President since 2006. Lisa Goodman is Chairperson of the City Council’s Community Development and Regulatory Services Committee. Last spring, Council Members Johnson and Goodman collaborated with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and “Save Our Minneapolis Parks,” a citizen organization committed to the continued funding and upkeep of parks and open spaces, to secure a quarter of a billion dollars in funding for neighborhood parks over the next 20 years with a focus on the most underserved neighborhoods. Minneapolis has the best park system of any city in America, according to The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore index, due in large part to continued support from public officials such as Lisa Goodman and Barbara Johnson.

Norman and Ann Hoffman. Norman and Ann Hoffman were recognized for their commitment to protecting “Coney Island of the West,” in Carver County, on the National Register of Historic Places. Norm and Ann purchased the island parcels over the last decade and then conveyed them through The Trust for Public Land to Carver County. Through their charitable foundation, they also provided financial assistance for cleanup of the island and initial recreational improvements. This effort ensured the land will be developed for public recreational use as part of Lake Waconia Regional Park. The island is expected to be re-opened for the public to enjoy in 2018.

State Senator Mary Kiffmeyer. State Senator Mary Kiffmeyer represents Senate District 30, which includes parts of Hennepin, Sherburne, and Wright counties. State Senator Mary Kiffmeyer was recognized for helping to secure the Outdoor Heritage Fund support needed to protect the William H. Houlton Conservation Area for outdoor recreation and enjoyment. The Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) is one of four state funds created by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, which was passed in 2008, and is guided with input from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. The OHF is intended to protect, enhance and restore habitat for wildlife to thrive and for Minnesotans to enjoy fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation purposes. The William H. Houlton Conservation Area is a beloved 350-acre habitat-rich site in the heart of the Elk River, a longtime dream of many, now open for public recreation including fishing and hunting.

Pat Rivers. Pat Rivers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was recognized for his leadership, public service, and problem solving to protect habitat for wildlife and outdoor recreation. Pat, based out of St. Paul, is the Division of Fish and Wildlife Deputy Director at the MNDNR. Pat has had a hand in restoring some of Minnesota’s most significant habitat from the Cannon River Headwaters to the Mississippi River Headwaters to the prairies and grasslands in the Southwest part of the state.

Mangala Sharma. Mangala Sharma was recognized for her leadership in helping residents of Skyline Tower, a large low-income high rise apartment complex in Saint Paul, engage and shape a future park that will be adjacent to Skyline Tower on Griggs Street. Her work with Skyline Tower has helped 1,200 residents make the dream of a neighborhood park a reality. Mangala Sharma has worked for CommonBond Communities (an affordable housing organization) as an Advantage Services Coordinator at Skyline Tower in St. Paul since 2010. Her work focuses on supporting residents with housing stability as well as overall community engagement. Mangala is originally from Bhutan.

Funding for the land protection projects referenced above was provided by several sources, including the Outdoor Heritage Fund, as recommend by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC).

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit