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Supporting Great Stories with Minnesota Environmental Fund

October 12th, 2017

As a communications professional, I’m a sucker for a good story. Lucky for me, I work at an organization that is constantly telling great stories— from our work to clean up Minnesota’s older diesel engines to forming farmer-company partnerships to so many other things.

But I also know that other environmental nonprofits in Minnesota have amazing stories too! Environmental Initiative is one of 19 members of the Minnesota Environmental Fund (MEF), which helps people volunteer and give at work to protect, conserve, and restore Minnesota’s environment. At our last membership meeting, I got to hear about how MEF positively impacts the 19 member organizations it supports and how each organization is helping Minnesota’s environment through its own unique projects. Here are some of my takeaways:

Protecting a Mississippi River Park
In early August, the River Heights Park in Inver Grove Heights was in danger of being sold and redeveloped, but Friends of the Mississippi River, along with its neighbors and partners, stepped up to defend the land. The park, which is part of the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area as well as the Mississippi River Flyway, has been preserved thanks to their hard work.

Nurturing Future Leaders
In the St. Cloud area, Wilderness Inquiry took dozens of sixth graders to Lake Sagatagan, where they went canoeing and learned about Minnesota history from a “floating classroom.” Wilderness Inquiry staff shared stories about the voyageurs and children learned about fur traders, and became more comfortable on the water and in the wilderness.  Paddling in a huge canoe is a great way to practice teamwork and leadership!

Restoring nature for clean water and wildlife
Along the Mississippi River, Audubon Minnesota is restoring floodplain forests to improve water quality and habitat for wildlife, both for nesting and migrating.  Now, bald eagles are thriving, and Audubon and its partners are shaping solutions to sustain healthy wildlife– and people– for generations to come.

Support great stories with Minnesota Environmental Fund

Each of MEF’s members has amazing stories from its work to preserve our land, water, air, and wildlife.

Through MEF and with workplace giving, it’s easy to support all of these great stories, including what’s happening at Environmental Initiative!

Does your employer offer giving and volunteering at work? MEF is currently offered to employees in over 100 Minnesota workplaces – including Environmental Initiative! MEF connects more than 200,000 employees with their communities. Employees love to help out, and MEF makes that possible– supporting so many great stories of caring for our environment!

Find out about how you can contribute through workplace giving today by contacting Cordelia Pierson or by visiting www.mnenvirofund.org.  Choose to help the environment.  It adds up!

Rachel Dupree


Communications Associate

Meet Maddie Norgaard

October 11th, 2016

Environmental Initiative has always been an organization deeply rooted in partnerships that work collaboratively to strategize around complex environmental problems. It’s one reason why we convened the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition (MNSGC), a business led effort focusing on the advancement of the circular economy.

To better shape MNSGC actions, the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE) and other member organizations are working with a graduate student to research practical, circular economy applications. Her research will influence the direction and project goals and how MNSGC will function within the Midwest.

So, without further delay… Meet Maddie Norgaard! Maddie

Maddie is a first-year student pursing a Master of science, technology, and environmental policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Maddie currently holds a B.A. in environmental studies from the College of Saint Benedict.

In summer 2016, Maddie participated in Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy in Chicago where she was inspired by lessons in circular economy, industrial ecology and systems thinking. She is eager to explore these concepts further and help MNSGC discover opportunities for collective action.

Her work will help coalition partners advance the next frontier of corporate sustainability through the circular economy. Maddie will be working closely with Environmental Initiative as well as member organizations to conduct her research. We’re excited to have her, and we’re eager to get started! Learn more about Maddie »

Rachel Dupree


Communications Associate

Meet Rachel Dupree, Communications Associate

August 11th, 2016

Hi, everyone!

My name is Rachel Dupree and I’m joining the Environmental Initiative team as a Communications Associate. I’m super excited to be part of the work that’s happening here!

RachelI’m a recent graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, but I was born and raised in the greater Twin Cities area.  At Drake, I earned degrees in Public Relations and International Relations with a concentration in Global Public Health. I know that sounds like a weird combination—it is. If I could’ve majored in social justice, I would have, but here we are.

My environmental career started with a study abroad trip, actually. I spent a month in Ecuador my junior year, and while it was life changing in a lot of ways, it was also eye opening. After hiking for five days in the Amazon, myself and 15 other students toured the less awe-inspiring parts of the forest: the deforestation efforts and the indigenous farms impacted.  Meeting with community members from deep in the jungle and hearing their life experiences was sobering to say the least.

Those images lead me to the environmental sector. As an undergraduate, I worked for one of Iowa’s largest land and water conservation groups, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF). My main function was to spread awareness and convey the importance of conserving Iowa’s natural prairies, community trails, and threatened wildlife. Additionally, I was part of the communications team at the World Food Prize Foundation (WFP) in Des Moines, an organization most noted for awarding the “Nobel Peace Prize for agriculture” to those who tackle global food scarcity.

Now, I’m happily back in my home state and ready to continue my work in the environmental sector with a stellar organization. I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me!


Rachel Dupree


Communications Associate
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