The University of Minnesota Extension Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (Southeast RSDP) has been serving the region since 1997. We work with residents of Southeast Minnesota to create and sustain healthy ecosystems, strong local economies and vibrant, self-reliant communities. We create meaningful collaborations between community and University partners.
The originating board of community members named this partnership the "Experiment in Rural Cooperation" to signify that the goal of our work and projects is to promote forward-thinking experiments in sustainable development.
The Southeast RSDP covers a range of Minnesota ecological land classifications. Our service areas includes the Mississippi River Blufflands, the Rochester Plateau, the Oak Savanna, and portions of the Big Woods and Minnesota River Prairie.
The Southeast region generally includes, but is not strictly limited to, the following counties: Blue Earth, Faribault, Dodge, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, LeSueur, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Fillmore, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona. It also includes the sovereign Native Nation of Prairie Island Indian Community (Dakota).
Austin Farmers Market moves toward a new market experience
Community members from Austin, Minnesota, worked alongside UMN’s Daniel Handeen, a research fellow at the College of Design, and Mathias Hughy, a graduate researcher studying landscape architecture, to conceptualize new infrastructure for a fresh take on their farmers market. Read more from the Austin Daily Herald.
Lost Creek Hiking Trail works on a new map
If your summer fun list includes hiking, don’t miss the Lost Creek Hiking Trail in Chatfield, Minnesota. Maintained by the Bluff Country Hiking Club, the Lost Creek Hiking Trail is a 7-mile trail in the hills of Southeast Minnesota. Southeast RSDP is currently supporting undergraduate student Zhaoxu Sui updating the trail map.
New board members
Mick Ditlevson is a fifth-generation farmer in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota. He is an ardent environmentalist and practices no-tillage regenerative agriculture.
Prior to joining RSDP, Mick worked at the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. He is excited to leverage his federal policy expertise and hands-on experience to identify unique solutions to pressing agricultural and energy-related issues facing southeast Minnesota.
Mick is a graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California with a major in Economics.
Sarah Svoboda lives in Peterson, Minnesota with her husband, Justin and her four kids, Kayleigh, Treyton, Kreedon and Lync. She is the communications specialist for Green Lands Blue Waters. Sarah has past experience working with RSDP in an admin support role. She has been an active member of the Resilient Communities work group for 6 years. She brings over 13 years of experience in communications, digital marketing, tourism, event planning, web design, business management, public relations and community engagement to the SERSDP board.
"Growing up in a small town in Southeast Minnesota, I have a passion for helping rural communities and organizations thrive and I am excited to utilize my past experience as a board member with RSDP."
Lauren Jensen grew up in Austin, Minnesota before heading to Minneapolis after high school to attend the University of Minnesota. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in human resources but took a class her senior year on sustainability in business management that revealed a career she was truly passionate about.
She went on to complete two AmeriCorps programs after college graduation, one in California with an Urban Forestry nonprofit and the other in Winona County working on stormwater management through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Minnesota GreenCorps program.
She currently works as the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Rochester focusing on the implementation of environmental, economic and social equity components of sustainability within projects, programs and policies. Lauren is passionate about building resilient communities by engaging diverse perspectives and is excited to further pursue this passion through RSDP on a more regional level.
- Pam Bishop, firstname.lastname@example.org, 507-214-7013 - Owatonna
- Steven Carlson, email@example.com, 507-391-5101 - Albert Lea
- Tyrel Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org, 507-251-6392 - Eyota
- Sheila Craig, email@example.com, 507-273-1481 - Preston
- Mick Ditlevson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 507-456-2147 - Owatonna
- Abby Gold, email@example.com, 701-388-3309 - Ramsey
- Lauren Jensen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 507-440-9315 - Rochester
- Bruce Mckendry,email@example.com, 651-558-7133 - Northfield
- Sarah Svoboda, firstname.lastname@example.org, 507-421-8911 - Peterson
- Rob Vander Broek, email@example.com, 616-566-4352 - Rochester