2017: Member - Katie Stelzner

2017 Minnesota GreenCorps member Katie StelznerAbout me. I grew up in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities, with so many parks and nature reserves around me, I had an appreciation for the natural world from a young age. I recently graduated from the College of St. Benedict with a degree in political science. I spent a summer in Washington, D.C. and a semester in India. During my time there, I was able to get involved in the sustainability efforts of the local community through my job at a co-op, which really solidified my desire to work on environmental issues in the future. During my free time, I enjoy growing and cooking good food, spending time with friends and family, hiking, and kayaking/canoeing on Minnesota’s many lakes.

About my service. I am spending my service year with the city of Big Lake in the Living Green track. My service with the city has focused on community engagement and outreach efforts. More specifically, I have been working to expand the Big Lake Farmers Market and the community garden, I’m working with the schools to implement a food recovery program and promote awareness of environmental issues, and I’m also working with volunteers to engage city staff and residents in sustainability efforts such as tree plantings and moving forward in the GreenStep Cities program. My service in Big Lake has taught me a lot about local government and rural environmental issues.

Why I serve. I spent a lot of time outdoors throughout my childhood, whether that was in a city park, my own neighborhood, or a national park. It really gave me an appreciation for natural spaces and environmental awareness, which I didn’t really recognize until I spent a semester in Kolkata, India, and those natural spaces all but disappeared. It made me realize that someone needs to protect the environment for others to enjoy in the same way I have. I majored in political science and have always had a strong interest in civic engagement and the potential of local government to do good in a community. Minnesota GreenCorps allows me to tie those interests together in my service year and work to protect the natural resources of my home.

My favorite place to visit in Minnesota. The North Shore has been my favorite place to visit in Minnesota since I was a little kid! I try to visit at least a few times a year to explore a new hiking trail in Superior National Forest with family and friends.