CRSDP Welcomes New Executive Director, Molly Zins
Molly Zins joined the Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership as the Executive Director on June 6, 2012. Prior to joining the Central Region Sustainable Development Partnership, Molly worked for Minnesota Waters for eight years. Molly directed Minnesota Waters’ programs to increase citizen engagement, including group capacity building, lake management planning and grassroots policy advocacy. Molly has worked with hundreds of groups to facilitate: community discussions, consensus building, action planning, coalition development and local policy initiatives.
Molly Master’s thesis, Sustainable Communities: Understanding Access and Support researched local food systems and the foundations of a
sustainable community. While at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, she also instructed undergraduate courses and coordinated the Center for Environmental Education. Please join us in welcoming Molly. She can be reached at email@example.com or 218-828-2332.
Central Region Sustainable Development Partnership
Partnering, collaboration, and strengthening connections between the University and the region's communities were top priorities identified by the Board of Directors at its annual planning meeting. Former Board member Carol Altepeter of Explore Minnesota Tourism, facilitated the discussion, which reviewed our work during 2010 and looked at activities for 2011. A top priority was increasing awareness of the Partnership and the work we do through civic engagement with our communities and partner organizations. The Partnership has prepared a new power point presentation that provides information on our work. This presentation is available to Board members when speaking to civic groups and organizations.
What's Up with the Partnership?
Grape Growing Research Continues at Central Lakes College
In 2011 several grape varieties wereplanted at the Central Lakes College Energy and Agriculture Center in Staples. The Central Regional Partnership recently approved additional support for this project designed to evaluate ways to successfully grow winter hardy grape varieties in the north central climate. Moving forward the vineyard will also be used to train skilled workers for the rapidly growing grape and wine industry. Led by viticulturist Dennis Emslie Drummond, the vineyard site was prepared and planted during 2011 growing season. Plans are to test a number of grape varieties, including table grapes. The vineyard will be used to demonstrate common practices for college training, high school training, gardening clubs, citizens and industry training. Once harvested, grapes will be tested for quality with eventual possible sale at local farmers' markets and to wine makers. University horticulturist Terry Nennich and John Thull, vineyard manager at the University Arboretum will be participating in the research.
Central Region Participates in Sustainable Communities Regional Plan
Public task force meetings started in March on a region-wide sustainability planning effort, the result of a $835,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Led by Region Five Development Commission, the project partners with the University of Minnesota including the Regional Partnerships and its Clearn Energy Research Teams, the Initiative Foundation, 1000 Friends of Minnesota, Ensearch consultants, the Central Minnesota Housing Partnership. A consortium of of 200 individuals is participating in this strategic planning project. The project is to develop a framework for coordinating and sychronizing multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional planning and project implementation that is Community driven and University assisted. Task force areas are housing, transportation, natural resources and land use, and economic development (including local foods and energy).
For further information please go to: http://www.rsdp.umn.edu/Central_MN_Sustainable_Development/index.htm