by Sage Passi
We’d like to introduce and welcome our six new Master Water Stewards for 2018-19. It’s exciting to have these community leaders and advocates for clean water on board.
They began their 50 hours of online and in-person coursework in October and will be completing a capstone project within our watershed district in the coming year. Once those projects are completed, they will provide 50 hours of volunteer service from October 2019 to December 2020, 25 hours of volunteer service each subsequent year, and complete 8 hours of continuing education each year after their graduation.
The Master Water Stewards program is facilitated by Freshwater with support from 15 partner organizations including seven watershed districts, three watershed management organizations, a conservation district, a joint powers organization, the cities of Eagan and Rochester, and Hennepin County.
Logan Stapleton is a recent graduate of Macalester College who studied philosophy with an emphasis on environmental ethics. He interned with and still volunteers at the East Side Area Business Association, a nonprofit focused on organizing and empowering St. Paul’s primarily minority- and immigrant-run East Side small business community. He also volunteered with Northside Fresh, Northside community gardens, Appetite For Change and Twin Cities Food Justice.
Growing up on Lake Phalen has helped Logan cultivate what he refers to as his “strong connection to urban freshwater.” Through participating in the Master Water Stewards program, Logan said, “I’d love to learn enough about our urban water systems to be able to teach others about Lake Phalen and its role within our ecosystem. I want to reduce runoff into Lake Phalen and the Mississippi. I also want to make sure that homeowners reduce their water consumption.”
Logan has experience working with urban water systems and irrigation. Whe he was younger, he spent four years working in landscaping and lawn care. He installed raingardens, irrigation systems and drainage systems in commercial and residential real estate.
“I have the experience to volunteer my time helping others with their own water drainage and conservation needs in their yards,” said Logan.
Bobbi Scott, who lives in East St. Paul, has been a museum program manager and developer, and has given many public presentations for different age audiences. She was a historical interpreter/guide at Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote and at the State Capitol for several years, taught college level anthropology classes, and did some substitute teaching in local public schools. Bobbi’s approach to teaching involves modeling what she would like others to do.
Bobbi thinks that water quality is a major issue. “I want to learn how I can have a positive impact on water quality in my area,” she said. “I have been trying to plant native plants in my garden and hope to convert more lawn to native plants next year because I am not a fan of the traditional lawn. I don’t water my grass, and I want plants that can survive under local conditions.”
Bobbie’s goal is to become an advocate for sustainable landscape practices through the Master Water Stewards program. “I used to live in sandy Sherburne County where people wanted sod lawns and irrigation, and it bothered me tremendously. I would like to be able to use my property to illustrate good practices and be a resource for others. I like to write and would also like to connect with people that way.”
She is active in the St. Paul Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and was part of a group that recently succeeded in getting the St. Paul City Council to vote unanimously in favor of a carbon fee and dividend as a way to combat climate change. She also testified recently at a Met Council meeting on climate change and zero emission buses.
Stuart Knappmiller lives a block from Lake Phalen and is retired from a career in inside sales at 3M. He is involved in many local organizations including St. Paul Stop For Me Steering Committee, Payne-Phalen District 5 Community Council (he is currently a board director) and the Lower Phalen Creek Project.
He has been a volunteer for the RushLine, chair of the Payne-Phalen Living at Home/Block Nurse Program, a citizen water monitor for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, a PTA Chair for Mississippi Creative Arts Magnet, a St. Paul Public School special education teacher and a District SPED Math Team member. He is also an avid canoeist who has paddled many rivers throughout the country.
Stuart learned about the Master Water Stewards program while he distributed flyers for storm drain stewards Bill Cranford and Rachel Hanks when they launched the Adopt-a-Drain program as their capstone project in the Lake Phalen area. He says he has cleaned his own storm drain for the 42 years he’s lived in the neighborhood.
In Stuart’s words, participating in the Master Water Stewards Program is “a chance to impact our neighborhood in a positive way, and an opportunity to continue to use what I learn for future volunteer efforts.”
“I would hope to help people understand it isn’t the city, it is our city,” he added. “It isn’t the lake, it is our lake. It isn’t the city water, it’s our water. I hope to convince more people to care for their water.”
Bette Danielson also lives near Lake Phalen. She is a safety and environmental affairs manager at a manufacturing company, Nordic Ware in St. Louis Park. Addressing urban stormwater pollution is a compelling passion of hers. She recently became involved with the Adopt-a-Drain Program and promoted it at this summer’s National Night Out in her neighborhood.
Bette said, “I am about a year out from retirement and looking to find meaningful activities – as well as learning opportunities – going forward.”
Her enthusiasm is quite palpable. “Learning and passing on what I learn to others, and helping contribute to better long-term water quality/conditions in Lake Phalen” are two of Bette’s strong motivations for joining the Master Water Stewards program.
Ann Hagerman and Vince Tilley, a family duo
Ann Hagerman lives on Gervais Lake in Little Canada. She joined the Master Water Steward program this fall along with her son-in-law, Vince Tilley, who lives in Vadnais Heights. Ann does a great deal of public speaking, project management and meeting facilitation in her professional role as a nurse manager.
Vince works in facilities management and has a strong interest in the land changes that have transformed the area where he lives.
Vince explained, “I am interested in the environment and learning how things work so I can implement my knowledge into action.” Two topics of interest rise to the top of his list – water conservation and groundwater.
Ann has expressed a strong interest in learning how to protect the lake water and shoreline where she lives as well as installing rain water gardens.
“I would like to get my grandchildren involved in being interested in the water around them starting at an early age,” she said. “Through the Master Water Stewards program, I’m hoping to get my neighbors interested in and involved in keeping our lake healthy.”