This year is ushering a number of changes for Jen Kader. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, she started in a new role at Freshwater as our director for engagement and systems change. Later that same month, her peers on the state’s Clean Water Council—all of whom are appointed by the governor to serve on the council—unanimously elected her council vice chair.
Freshwater recently renewed our organizational commitment to embrace our mission—to empower people to value and conserve fresh water—by thoughtfully considering the details and meaning of “people.” Whom do we mean when we say empowering people? Our board and staff realize, of course, that our mission is for all people, knowing that individually and collectively, all people need to share in protecting and conserving water.
Freshwater’s new Adopt a River program is up and running and already processing registrations for shoreline cleanups! Whether it’s a one-time cleanup or an adoption (a commitment to clean multiple times), a stretch of the Mississippi or your neighborhood pond, participating in Adopt a River could be a unique experience for you and your group.
At Freshwater, we have the privilege of reading public input from Minnesotans all over the state in our people-driven systems change work (like the One Watershed, One Plan efforts). Increasingly, we are reading public comments where people are noting that they have seen their weather change over the last decade, and these changes impact the health of their groundwater, surface waters, ecosystems, and wildlife.
If you really want to understand an environmental or water quality issue, it’s no secret that you have to get out from behind the computer screen once in a while and into the field. After years of editing technical reports, and writing factsheets and news releases for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, I decided to follow that advice.