How environmental education
works in Minnesota
- Environmental Education Advisory Task Force Minutes - 2009 - May
Environmental Education Advisory Task Force
May 7, 2009
Tony Bormann, Lee Ann Landstrom, Tom Moffatt, Nate Meyer, Dawn Flinn, Jeff Ledermann, Tracy Fredin, Patty Born Selly, Amy Markle, Pete Cleary, Lynne Markus
David Weinand, Nalani McCutcheon, Lisa Koch
Rick Patraw, David Benke, Mike Kennedy, John Ikeda, Denise Stromme, Colleen Schoenecker, Su Beran
Lee Ann Landstrom (acting for Pete Cleary) called the meeting to order at 12:40 p.m.
Approval of the agenda:
The agenda still reflected the times from the last meeting which started later due to a guest speaker. Change the times to reflect the current day's meeting. Also, the approval of the May "minutes" is listed, and was changed to approval of May "agenda".
Motion: Tony Bormann motioned to approve the agenda as corrected; Tracy Fredin seconded; motion passed 9-0-0.
Approval of the minutes:
No changes to the March 2009 meeting minutes.
The following changes were made to the April 2009 minutes. Change the wording of the last line on page 1 to read "The process used for choosing members is transparent and open to all." Change the new member update on page three to read "Mike reported that there is not a replacement at this time." Add "Three Rivers Park District" to the information sharing paragraphs on page four for Lee Ann Landstrom and Tom Moffatt. Change the information sharing paragraph for Dawn Flinn to read "The DNR is applying to LCCMR for school forest (outdoor classroom expansion, digital bridge to nature, outdoor education and MinnAqua grants)."
Motion: Lee Ann Landstrom moved to approve the March and April meeting minutes; Tom Moffatt seconded the motion; motion passed 9-0-0.
Director's Report - David Benke
The MPCA budget is very close to being approved and is lining up closely to what was proposed. There are still a few pieces that need to be worked out. There are still a few questions regarding the Environmental Fund and what implications this creates. There were not many additional policy pieces included. The electronic waste amendments were included. This one requires manufacturers to help recycle e-waste depending on their amount of sales. Now it is based on the state's national average percentage of sales.
The shift toward outcomes has been noticeable. Budget times will require clearer measurement toward the dollar to dollar correlation. Priorities shift from year to year, but the flexibility has been toned back, so some things will need to be figured out. The flexibility to change and spend more in a particular area is more restricted. A reduced budget is expected.
The LCCMR proposals were due. MPCA staff developed quite a few and narrowed them down as to what was closest to the strategic plan of the agency. Partners change, so proposals change.
The energy curriculum for K-12 is still moving along. Environmental Literacy is being more closely looked at.
The MCPA Prevention and Assistance Division will work on improving its process for developing proposals. They will be discussing this with other agencies to try to stream-line.
This task force was charged with four areas to work on. What was not described real well was what would happen once the recommendations were brought forward. The expectations need to be set better. The task force should to know what then happens with the recommendations they make. The most recent example is the Climate Change Education Advisory committee recommendation. The committee did great work on coming up with their recommendations. There were some further processes that were recommended to take, but the budget may not allow for non-task force members to receive a per diem, pay for meeting space, etc.
Each of the committee's recommendations should be documented in the minutes, and then what the MPCA did with the recommendations. The committee should not be meant to feel like the recommendations given were not considered. Also, the committee time should be used to work on another project if one is complete. The decisions on how the MPCA will proceed should be communicated back to the task force, and also the timeframe.
The Living Green Expo was last weekend and it was a great success. This is a good venue for people to understand how to protect the environment.
Mike Kennedy added that they will be developing a tracking system for decisions and timelines on documents and recommendations. He will update the task force at each meeting as to the status of each item. Dave Benke said he will include this update in the Director's Report at each meeting.
Dave thanked everyone for their work during the last year. The task force is really useful way to use the talents of all the members.
EEAB Language Discussion and New Member Update - Pete Cleary
Pete asked Mike to give the new member update. Mike reported that John Olson will be joining the task force from the Department of Education. Approval from the commissioners is still needed. He will be joining the WE3 committee and his first meeting will be in June.
Mike continued with the EEAB language discussion. At the last meeting the task force discussed the difference in past boards, their compositions, their locations, histories, and what the legislation requires. We want to keep this discussion going.
Tom Moffatt questioned what the due date is for establishing a recommendation. Dave Benke explained that it would be needed by the end of July so that it could get to the Governor's office as a Form A in October. Mike added that the preliminary draft would need to be ready in June so that he would have time to do the final by July.
Dave explained that the task force would need to propose abolishing the past language, then start with new language prior to the sunset of the task force.
Mike suggested getting everyone's ideas first, narrowing them down, then combining the ideas into a recommendation document. He will e-mail the current language to the task force.
The task force discussed when to schedule the July meeting, or decide to cancel it. Dave suggested they could find out more about the process for the board/task force recommendation and then decide when or if to hold the July meeting.
Pete Cleary requested that everyone bring their prepared ideas in June. Please use the e-mail from Mike that he will be sending regarding the current language. It would be acceptable to do "strike through" and then add your own ideas, or however you see fit to go about it. If you have additional items, or want to start out with your own language, do so and bring your ideas in June. He would like to receive all ideas from all task force members, and then narrow them down from there. There would then be a possibility of a smaller committee actually writing the recommendation.
Jeff Ledermann added that the task force should make sure to keep the big picture questions focused on. The main question is whether the task force should become a board; whether it be a Commissioner's Board, or a Governor's Board.
Tom Moffatt suggested that the discussion could start through e-mail to try to save some time. Mike said that if everyone comes to the meeting in June prepared, we would then know what we agree on, and could discuss what we do not agree on.
Lee Ann Landstrom said she sees three main issues: membership, Commissioner or Governor board, task force or board.
Tony Bormann added that who we report to depends on what they want done. Jeff said the task force could make a recommendation and see what gets approved.
Nate Meyer asked if the goal of the task force is to come up with the language for the Form A, or if it is to make recommendations as far as structure and membership. Mike said the task force would provide advice so that the agency can construct and forward information to the Commissioner/Legislature.
Nate and Mike reminded the group that the ultimate decision will be made by the Commissioner.
Tracy Fredin asked the task force to consider their base currently at the MPCA. Possibly it is best to be housed and administered by an agency. The biggest issue it to best serve the state of Minnesota. The decision on what to recommend should be based on how that is best accomplished.
Mike added that many board have been changed to agency boards. Asking to go from an agency board to a Governor's board is "against the grain" at this time. Not that it is not worth considering making the recommendation, just keep this in mind.
Denise Stromme said that as an advisory group, the best thing you can do is give the rationale about the decisions. Maybe describing the rationale behind each type of board should be done to help the group decide.
Mike stated that the task force was charged with four tasks. One major difference from the board to the task force is that the task force has to stay focused on the tasks. A board has a broader spectrum as is not restricted by assignments. Tracy Fredin said that maybe this in itself is enough to recommend becoming a board again.
Nate Meyer recommended that the task force meet with a facilitator. We should first identify the functions. One of the functions is to work across agencies. What is the value of the EEAB to the state? Then we could work backwards with a facilitator to decide what structure best serves this function.
Mike offered to schedule a facilitated meeting.
Nate said everyone would need to be prepared and have information ready before the meeting with the facilitator, so that the group could move through the process.
Lee Ann Landstrom said she does not think a facilitated discussion is important and wants to encourage better attendance by the members at meetings.
Tom Moffatt agreed that everyone needs to be prepared to make recommendations at the next meeting whether or not a facilitator is used.
Lynne Markus suggested getting a sense of how the members who are present are feeling. Maybe this would help to get the group more focused if we knew what most members were leaning towards. Maybe we need to just say what we think to get it moving.
Denise Stromme reminded the group that only three people are missing today. Remember this group is not as big as the EEAB was. Most members are making the meetings.
Tony Bormann said to remember the more we restrict and focus ourselves, the more restricted and focused we will be. We probably want to get back that broader spectrum instead of being focused only on the four tasks.
Tom Moffatt said he thinks the group is leaning toward going back to a board. Maybe we should go back to the board the way it was (previously to this current task force), make some decisions on membership, but recommend going to a board.
Mike asked the group the do a show of thumbs as to what they are currently thinking.
"Would you prefer a board over a task force?" Consensus was "yes".
"A Governor's board is more preferred than a board that reports to a Commissioner." Decision was split.
"I think we should dissolve the board because it is not worth the time". Consensus was "no".
Pete Cleary added that the prior system with the board worked well with the MPCA. Denise added that it has always been housed at an agency, but has moved around between agencies. Mike reminded everyone of the handout at the last meeting which explained the history of the board.
Dawn Flinn said that the group needs to be willing to take a chance and make a suggestion. If the task force agrees it is the best recommendation, then it is worth the chance.
Nate said it is all about the outcomes. What do we want to accomplish and how do we best position ourselves to make those accomplishments? How do you best create the best group for what is in our future? There are politics and perceptions of power. How do we get the work done?
Denise said that as everyone is contemplating this, remember that EEAB's work plan is spelled out in the GreenPrint for the next ten years. Whether you are an agency board or not, it is guided through the section of the state plan. It is a ten year state plan.
Lynne Markus said that Denise's comment is very compelling. To finish the work of the GreenPrint is the reason for this group's existence. The task force has kept things going, until the board could be re-established. We should be a board so we can have a broader base. If we get the Governor's board, then great. If not, we have not lost out. We have still gained by being a Commissioner's board. We need to continue the work of the GreenPrint.
Pete said everyone needs to consider all of these points for the next meeting in June. We might not come to a unanimous decision. This may take a facilitated meeting.
Denise added that the big difference between a Governor's board and a Commissioner's board is that you have closer ties to the legislators.
Pete clarified that at the moment, we do not have a decision on Governor's board or Commissioner's board, but we have decided board over task force. Membership is the bigger debate.
Mike said that he will have a discussion with Dave Benke to make sure he is clear on the process for the Form A. He will send everyone the language from the past board. He will also speak to a facilitator and schedule a 1.5 hour meeting to discuss membership, type and charge. We will not have committee time at the next meeting.
Clean Water Council Update - Su Beran
The Clean Water Council is working on putting together a work plan for themselves.
Su works with the Citizen Engagement Committee on the Clean Water Council. The makeup of the rest of the council is determined by the Governor's Office and is similar to the EEATF, but larger. Many citizens also attend the meetings to listen. This council came to be from the Clean Water Legacy amendment. They meet once a month.
The big message so far from the Citizen Engagement Committee is that the way we do things now, has to change to make a difference in water quality. The discussions have always involved non-impaired waters and how to keep them that way; as well as how to help impaired waters.
The council is aware that knowledge does not equal behavior change. Even so, education is still necessary for behavior change.
Please contact Su with questions. Her contact information is on the SEEK Web site. The Clean Water Council update will be on the agenda for each meeting.
Committee Updates - Mike Kennedy
The WE3 Committee is collecting data from the piloting of the bridging documents. Eventually they will have a recommendation for the Commissioner on how to move forward.
The Climate Change Education Committee has identified a process they would like to embark on and would like to hold a meeting of technical experts to come up with the gaps in knowledge of climate change for Minnesota. Then they will figure out what tools to apply to the gaps to educate citizens.
The GreenPrint 3 Committee is discussing marketing ideas, plans and options to continue marketing the GreenPrint.
The ELM Committee is discussing sustainability issues for the fund.
Mike will have an end of the year report to the Commissioner in July. He will have the task force review this report which will describe what the task force was charged with, and what was accomplished.
Committee Break-out Sessions - All
Information Sharing - All
Dawn Flinn shared new publications from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and one from Target. The Master Naturalist Conference is next week at Sandstone. The DNR is also coming out with a strategic plan.
Tracy Fredin shared that the MPCA along with Hamline and the Minnesota Department of Security and Energy had submitted a grant for energy education based on a model from Wisconsin. Wisconsin has a very deliberate and well-funded implementation plan for energy education through the utilities. It is about $900,000 per year.
Amy Markle shared that MAEE met on Tuesday night. They are discussing how to move from their current capacity to where they want to be as a leader in environmental education. They held an April 7 meeting with environmental education leaders to discuss how they see MAEE growing. They submitted a $1 million grant to the LCCMR for the ELM grant program. The MAEE Conference is June 17 and 18 at the Jeffer's Pond Elementary School in Prior Lake. Please encourage teachers and educators to attend.
Patty Born Selly shared that she has a new job with Hennepin County managing the community power grants program. There's a deadline of April 22 for Early Childhood Family Education groups wanting to do sustainability education. Minneapolis parks just started a families in nature initiative.
Tony Bormann shared that there is talk regarding flood mitigation and water retention and he finds this ironic.
Tom Moffatt shared that the annual raptor release was last week at Hyland Park Reserve and was co-sponsored by the Raptor Center. They had great attendance with 3300 people.
LeeAnn Landstrom shared that she is on the sustainability committee for Three Rivers Park District. She is on the employee behavior change committee. Their goal is to have goals set by early August.
Nate Meyer shared that the University of Minnesota Extension submitted a LCCMR proposal to adapt "climate masters". This training on climate change and includes home climate assessments. The Master Naturalist Conference is this week at Carlos Avery. There are over 500 master naturalists in the state. The U of M Extension was just approved to conduct a state-wide survey of programs, resources and organizations that are trying to connect families with nature. They want to see how groups are doing this, what is working, and what the challenges are.
Pete Cleary shared that the farm festival is this weekend.
Motion: Tony Bormann motioned to adjourn at 3:34 p.m.; Tom Moffatt seconded; motion passed unanimously.
- For more information, contact:
Environmental Education Advisory Task Force
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Posted: 6/9/09
Privacy Statement | SEEK is a program of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency